BAR HARBOR — Hidden among the sponges and barnacles in the frigid waters off Mount Desert Island are numerous human stories. Shards of pottery, bits of metal, heavy wooden beams, and even entire ship hulls lie strewn over the seabed. The shoals and hazards of the Maine coast are legion and many a vessel has been caught unawares.
Today, lobsters hide inside shipwrecked fishing vessels, while sponges and sea anemones cling to underwater masts. Zach Whalen, a College of the Atlantic senior and professional photographer, has devoted the spring to discovering these secrets. He will be unveiling them in an exhibit, “Shipwrecks of the Maine Coast,” at the college’s George. B. Dorr Museum of Natural History opening on Friday, May 27, from 4 to 6 p.m.
“I am fascinated by archeology, by the way nature reclaims manmade objects,” said Mr. Whalen. A photographer since childhood, and a SCUBA diver for the last seven years, he has recently combined these two passions as an underwater photographer. Mr. Whalen has just launched Faolan Photography, a photographic business based on the island.
Though there are 120 or so shipwrecks recorded around Mount Desert Island, few have been photographed. In some cases all that remains may be large blocks of cut granite from vessels lost while carrying Maine granite to northeastern cities, or huge anchors, rusted and encrusted with barnacles. Mr. Whalen has photographed more recent vessels, however, including the full hull of the FV Northern Miner, with one pane of glass remaining in the wheelhouse.
The Dorr Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by donation. The opening is free. For more information about the exhibit, contact the Dorr Museum at 288-5395 or 801-5839. For information about Faolan Photography visit faolanphotography.weebly.com or contact Mr. Whalen at [email protected]
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