Latest Search Reports

6th April 2008 Report

David Mearns – Search Director, The Finding Sydney Foundation

I was expecting another long day (and night) today diving on the sonar targets we named as the “battle site” between Kormoran and Sydney largely because of their location on a line that approximates very closely the projected line of the battle.  In the end the dive was very short for the surprising revelation that the sonar targets were actually a field of very large rocks!  When the first angular rock face came into view I exclaimed “its geology” and almost immediately realised that this wasn’t going to be just one isolated rock amongst a field of Sydney’s wreckage, but that all the sonar targets were going to be revealed as rocks instead and that our original interpretation was wrong.

The reason it was so easy to let go of this interpretation was that we had just spent the previous dive finding and cataloguing so much of Sydney’’s superstructure and deck equipment in the debris field that it was becoming increasingly hard to understand what sections of Sydney might be found at the battle site.  Also, we had been fooled earlier during the search phase by a similar outcropping of angular rocks that we ruled out by way of some high-resolution sonar passes.

Before the ROV reached the seabed I said to Matthew Kelley, the documentary film director, “be prepared for a surprise”.  As surprises go this one is actually quite pleasing for I believe it will simplify our understanding of what happened to Sydney.

On my way to becoming a shipwreck hunter I earned degrees in marine biology and marine geology so please forgive me for including this picture of the rock, and friendly settlers, that fooled us.

Above Photograph: One of the angular basaltic that is now the shared home of a deep-sea anemone, stalked sponge and sea fan.

Photo Gallery Slideshow available at

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Photographer: David Mearns


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