In 1963, Ocean Science and Engineering converted "Rockeater" to a marine mineral sampling vessel in
Long Beach, California.
The 'hotel' on the stern was installed in Capetown,
South Africa, in early 1964, after which she sailed to
the Marine Diamond Concession.
|A derrick and centerwell allowed drilling, jetting and airlifting sediment samples from thicknesses of 20 feet overlying bedrock. The slurry passed through a six-inch diameter pipe to the forecastle where it was separated in undersize - which was pumped overboard -, oversize (discarded), and "pay-load", which was processed belowships using cyclones, vibrating jigs and sorting tables. Accurate records were kept regarding the exact position, waterdepth, amount of material processed and number size and quality of diamonds recovered. Notwithstanding rough sea conditions and atrocious logistics, the vessel performed very well and drilled three holes per site at some ten sites per line per day. Sampling sites were predetermined based on geophysical results from both "Sparker" (Xhosa Coast) and "Lizard" (Klipbok).|
In the early 1970's, the S.A. Navy scuttled "Rockeater" which is now a favorite
wreckdive (site 12) in False Bay.
Only in the 1980's did marine diamond mining restart with renewed vigor. -------- Continue to: "Oranjemund"