|Salvage Operation by Depth
|[area photos - south africa]||[paintings]||[birkenhead brewery]|
|[birkenhead 150 - south africa]||[salvage operations]||[artifacts]|
Causeway Adventurer lying in Cape Town docks while welding on decompression chambers / Saturation System.
© Jimmy Herbert
the first gold...
Birk51-54 GOLS has a story of its own. It was early on the morning of the 1st March 1986. I was on the ship attending to one of the two divers air hoses. The two divers down where Konrad Stutterheim and Pierre Joubert. I felt a jerk on one of the hoses which was an indication that something was wrong. I first checked the air supply and after that the hot-water machine (it supplied the divers with hot water circulated into their suits) that kept the diver warm enough to work in the cold water. All was found to be fine.
My next move was to take SCUBA gear and dive down with a pencil and a slate to write on. I was going to enquire what the problem might possibly be. Once on the bottom I soon established that all was in order. It later came to light that the hot water machine had gone on the blink for a few seconds but by the time I checked it the machine was functioning fine.
I decided to stay with them for the rest of their dive - lucky me for unknowingly I was about to make history taking photo's of the first coins removed from the Birkenhead. Fortunately I had taken my underwater camera with me (during the project I always dived with one) for within minutes I saw Pierre digging like a maniac.
As I got closer he showed me what he had found - it was the FIRST TWO GOLD COINS FROM THE BIRKENHEAD - another 13 were to follow.
Pierre went on to be the most successful recoverer of gold coins and soon he was renamed "Gold fingers Joubert". As a Transvaal diver he sure showed the "hot shot Capetonian divers" how to recover gold.
"Jim Birk Gold" was the first newspaper article to cover the story.
Photos & Text by Jimmy Herbert