Fronpage Slideshow

The search for the admirals lost ship

 

Off the coast of the Swedish island Oland in May 2011, a small group of divers is occupied surveying the sea bottom using state of the art sonar onboard the research vessel Princess Alice. They have spent the last 20 years searching for the legendary ship Mars the Magnificent. A hopeless endeavor according to many as everyone with an interest or desire has already tried but failed to find Mars including Anders Franzen, famous for discovering the Vasa.
But things are about to change.

The divers are unaware that their relentless commitment will finally pay off and the legend of Mars the Magnificent, once the fiercest battle ship in the world, will be revived. After 447 years hidden in the deep darkness of the ocean Mars will awake from her slumber and Swedish history will be enriched in a way that has not happened since the discovery of Vasa and Kronan. A new chapter in the era of understanding Swedish nautical history is about to unfold.

 “Guys, come here and have a look at this!” Christofer said, urging us to come to the sonar station. He had spotted something out of the ordinary while operating the side scan sonar. As this was not the first wreck Christofer had seen on the sonar this summer I was intrigued by how tense his voice was. Yes, we had followed a well spread out wreck debris filed during the last 12 hours but could this really be it? I just had to glance at the screen to understand why he was excited and what we saw was exactly what we had longed to see. Not an intact wreck, rather a massive wreck site with a complete 40 meter long hull-side, cluttered by debris, wreckage and artifacts. – “What do you guys think?” Christofer asked. “We have her, we finally have her!” I stated as the importance of the moment and the discovery dawned upon me. We still had to dive what could well be Mars to confirm her identify but already we knew that we had made the discovery of a generation. The smiles on the faces of the discovery team members Fredrik, Christofer and Anton said it all, today was the day!

The contours of something huge slowly became clearer in the distance as we descended towards 230 feet. It was dark and cold, very cold, and I couldn’t help shivering a bit. Was I shivering due to the cold or was it anticipation? Weeks had passed since we saw what we hoped was Mars the Magnificent on the sonar screens and I couldn’t wait to get down there. A seabed survey contract had forced us to leave the wreck immediately following the initial discovery. “This is insane!” I remember thinking.  After a 20 year search we make the discovery only to have to leave the site unclaimed and unprotected to go about doing other things. We were playing the odds, gambling that someone else would not coincidentally stumble upon the same wreck site as we did.