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Capt. Kidd pirate shipwreck site to be dedicated Living Museum of the Sea

(DiverWire) Later this month, the shipwreck Quedagh Merchant, which was discovered off the coast of the Dominican Republic three years ago, will be dedicated as a Living Museum of the Sea by Indiana University, scuba diving researcher and archeologist Charles Beeker and the government of the Dominican Republic. The Quedagh Merchant became famous after being abandoned by the scandalous 17th century pirate Captain William Kidd.

The dedication as an official underwater museum will take place off the shore of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic on May 23, the 310th anniversary of Kidd’s hanging in London for his ‘crimes of piracy.’ The dedication will note both underwater and above-ground interpretive plaques. The underwater plaques will help guide divers around the Kidd site as well as relics and rare corals at two other shipwreck sites.

The Captain Kidd shipwreck site and two nearby existing underwater preserves will be converted into no-take, no-anchor “Living Museums of the Sea,” where cultural discoveries will protect precious corals and other threatened biodiversity in the surrounding reef systems, under the supervision and support of the Dominican Republic’s Oficina Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural Subacuático (ONPCS), University of Indiana officials said.

The Underwater Science team from the Indiana University School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER), led by Beeker, has been working to preserve, analyze and document the Kidd shipwreck since its surprising discovery, which made headlines around the world. This unique museum, resting in less than 10 feet of water just 70 feet from shore, will give divers the opportunity to see the 17th century ship remains, including several anchors, along with dozens of cannons, which rest on the ocean’s floor and serve as home to coral and sea creatures. Above water, several more traditional museums will benefit from artifacts that are on loan to IU by the Dominican Republic government for the purpose of study and research.

Beeker said it was remarkable that the wreck had remained undiscovered all these years given its location, just 70 feet off the coast of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic, and because it has been actively sought by treasure hunters.

“Since the site’s discovery, we have worked with government officials, Indiana University partners and museums to preserve this site, the artifacts contained there and to use it all for research and scientific study,” said Beeker, a pioneer in underwater museums and preserves. “We have diligently protected this site, and now we are able to share the importance of the Armenian-owned 1699 Quedagh Merchant (which was captured by Kidd off the west coast of India) with students at Indiana University as well as with the public at exhibits at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the British Museum of Docklands London.”

Click here for more details about the new attraction and the University of Indiana’s Underwater Science program

Captain Kidd Photo Gallery

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