In January, the Australian National Maritime Museum will lead an underwater archaeology expedition to the Coral Sea to search for the wreck of the ship Royal Charlotte, lost in 1825.

The dive team will depart Gladstone on 5 January 2012 to explore the waters around Frederick Reef and other areas, where they will remain at sea for two weeks.

The expedition team will be sending through regular updates via this blog, so keep tuned throughout January!

Scuba diver searching the ocean floor during a reconnaissance trip to Frederick Reef October 2009

Reconnaissance trip to Frederick Reef October 2009. Copyright: Xanthe Rivett

The team includes three museum maritime archaeologists, a fourth museum diver and more than 20 volunteer divers and other support personnel in two research vessels. Two archaeology students from Flinders University in South Australia will also participate in the expedition.

This is the same dive team that located and identified the government schooner Mermaid wrecked in 1829, 20km south of Cairns in January 2009.

Kieran Hosty, the expedition leader, ANMM curator and maritime archaeologist said:

“Locating the remains of the Royal Charlotte will provide us with interesting historical detail and information on convict and troop transportation in the 19th century. We’re hoping to find remains of the hull and ballast, which would also reveal useful information about aspects of Indian shipbuilding at that time.”