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Andrea's approach cancels research trip to Blackbeard's shipwreck

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ATLANTIC BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Tropical Storm Andrea may still be hundreds of miles away, but it started having an impact here in North Carolina early this morning.

Cape Fear Community College's R/V Dan Moore was scheduled to take a trip to the site of the shipwrecked Queen Anne's Revenge to help recover cannons submerged for hundreds of years, but Mother Nature had other plans.

"The seas are dangerous for the divers," said Julep Gillman-Bryan, a member of the project. "The safety of the divers is most important."

Crews had been working to prepare eight cannons in the wreckage of the Queen Anne's Revenge to be brought to the surface, but the threat of Tropical Storm Andrea left the mission sitting at dock.

"Generally if the site is exposed, it can damage the softer materials such as the wooden hull structure, and then it will put sand back over it, which actually protects us. What we're looking at in this case will probably be more sand over the site and what's left other than a few pieces of timber and iron and heavy concretion," project director Billy Ray Morris said.

This setback may only be temporary. Morris says it's only a matter of time before the pirate Blackbeard's flagship is raided of its loot.

"Everything that is on this site is going to be recovered by 2014," Morris said. "Then everything has to be brought up to the conservation lab and treated before it can be put on exhibit for the public. Without cape fear community college's involvement, we wouldn't be able to bring this stuff to the surface."

All is not lost with the cancelled dive. There are actually four more dates in the next few weeks that the R/V Dan Moore will be able to assist the divers as they go down and retrieve the cannons.

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CFCC Marine Tech and R/V Dan Moore

Yet another reason why this great program should not be cut. The Marine Technology program at CFCC (http://cfcc.edu/martech/) educates students and also gives them hands on knowledge while helping the community.
Help us fight for this unique program (http://www2.cfcc.edu/restoremartech/). It should NEVER be cut.