Written by CTM on August 6th, 2012


After returning to Malta from a successful fall project conducted off Hvar, Croatia, Craig and Ian spent the winter months gathering support for AURORA’S 2012 operating season. World economic conditions have made it increasingly difficult to support the high level of operations that have been characteristic of AURORA’S annual expeditions since 2006. As a part of this effort the Trust headquarters was moved to America and established as the AURORA Trust Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 “not for profit” organization under the internal revenue rules of the United States. Hopefully this broadens the support base of AURORA

Meanwhile, AURORA’S work around Malta continued and the team, lead by Timmy Gambin, verified the identity of a wreck we had previously located off the Grand Harbor of Malta as the submarine HMS Olympus N35 which was lost in action on 8 May 1942. In addition to its normal crew of 55, the Olympus was carrying 43 crewmen from two other British submarines that had been sunk during air raids by Italian and German forces.


Leaving the Grand Harbor under cover of darkness with Gibraltar as its destination, the Olympus was maneuvering to clear Malta when it struck a mine and rapidly sunk. Only 9 survivors of the 98 crew and passengers onboard made the 7-mile swim back to Malta.


The Olympus lay undiscovered for 70 years until AURORA made this startling discovery.

Locating the Olympus is yet another example of the rich treasure trove of cultural heritage that lies undiscovered under the worlds oceans. What is particularly poignant is the Olympus was lost, unlike so many of AURORA’S other “ancient” discoveries’, in the modern era and yet had remained hidden until AURORA began systematically surveying the Maltese coastal waters. Who knows what other discoveries lie submerged off Malta’s ancient shores and elsewhere under the watery blanket of the worlds oceans.


Explorer’s Club

Written by admin on September 9th, 2011

Ian, Craig & Timmy with Explorer's Club Flag (number 97).


End of Phase 1

Written by admin on September 9th, 2011

Today we completed Area III of our side scan sonar survey. Following over a week of surveying the seabed we are now preparing the ISIS for ROV work. Tomorrow a crane is booked so as to remove the winch, a job that will be carried out at the small fisherman’s port across the bay.

Today, our directors and co-founders left the boat to return to the US. Theyhad brought with them an Explorer’s Club flag that has accompanied us throughout this project.


Weather Bound

Written by admin on September 8th, 2011

A stiff breeze has been blowing over the past few days. The wind starts gently in the morning but build up throughout the afternoon. This situation has slowed our operation somewhat as we only manage to complete a few survey lines before the sea picks up. Today we completed Area II, the largest of the three areas we working on.

The weather forecast for the coming days looks good so the plan is to survey some targets in Areas I & II using 900 KhZ. We will then start Area III which we hope to complete by the weekend. Fingers crossed that the weather will hold out.


ISIS heading home to Hvar Harbour

Written by admin on September 6th, 2011


Croatia – Side Scan Sonar Survey

Written by admin on September 6th, 2011

Today we completed five long survey lines: over 7km each one. We welcomed Dr Claudia on board – since 2010 AURORA Trust has collaborated with her on the study of marine habitats around the island of Hvar. We use side scan sonar data and rov footage to measure habitats and also quantify species present.

We noted a few targets of (archaeological) interest during the medium resolution survey. However, the weather picked up and we were unable to verify the targets using the 900 KhZ high resolution survey. We struggled through rough seas on the ISIS to make Hvar harbour.

Once on board the Fortaleza we imported today’s data and analyzed the information.


Croatia Survey Area

Written by admin on September 5th, 2011


Croatia 2011

Written by admin on September 5th, 2011

Welcome Back! We have returned to Croatia for the second season of our project off the island of Hvar. In 2010, we covered over 40 square km with side scan sonar. This year we are working off the southern coast of the island.

Over the past decades, numerous archaeological objects have been brought up from the seabed by divers and fishermen. Archaeologists have also excavated a number of shipwrecks close to the shore. Our mission is to locate and map sites that are beyond conventional diving depths.

We have already completed a number of survey lines and should the weather hold out we will out surveying all this week.


Messina I

Written by admin on June 20th, 2011


Messina II

Written by admin on June 20th, 2011