ATLANTIC BEACH, NC (WECT) – Divers trying to recover cannons from Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge wreck site off the coast of North Carolina were successful in their efforts Thursday.
Bad weather forced the team to scrub the previous two trips, but the conditions were just right the third time around.
A group from Cape Fear Community College used inflation bags to float two cannons to the surface.
This is the first time the cannons have been out of the water in almost 300 years. According to David Hardin with CFCC, the cannons are estimated to weigh 2,000 pounds each.
He said it took six hours to complete the operation and required close coordination between underwater divers and students, captain and crew on board CFCC's research vessel.
Blackbeard ran the ship aground near Beaufort inlet in 1718
Divers discovered the wreck in 1996 and a dozen other cannons have been retrieved since then, in addition to thousands of other artifacts.
The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources owns the artifacts, and the largest display is at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort.
As more artifacts are being recovered and go through the conservation effort at the QAR lab in Greenville, the state is making it possible for more people to see them.
A statewide touring exhibit is now in western North Carolina, and more traveling exhibits are in the works as more artifacts are recovered and interest in one of North Carolina's most feared pirates grows.
More dives to the site are scheduled for August.
All of the artifacts should be recovered from the wreck site by the end of next year, but because of their fragile condition, it may take up to 15 years before all of the items will be conserved enough to be put on public display.