Sealark Maritime Exploration was borne from a friendship developed between a Commander in the Royal New Zealand Navy, Matt Wray and amateur military historian Ewan Stevenson whilst on a mission in the Solomon Islands. Their mission at the time was to survey in and around Iron Bottom Sound. What started off as an intense week of surveying had finished as an idea to start a not-for-profit organisation specifically focusing on surveying World War Two wrecks in the Pacific.
An experienced sea captain, Matt brings with him over 30 years of maritime survey experience to his position as Director of Sealark Maritime Exploration. He gained his IHO Cat A Hydrographic Surveyor qualifications whilst serving in the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). He currently manages his Sealark work around annual leave from the RNZN. As a hydrographer he has had an extensive career, starting as a survey specialist sailor, and progressing to the Hydrographer RNZN. He has experienced all aspects of hydrographic surveying in a wide variety of locations, including the tropics and the Solomon Islands.
For exploration, Matt has proven himself in the historical sense in and around Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and in a contemporary sense with the search and locating of the missing fishing vessel 'Easy Rider' in 2012. For planning, Matt has years of maritime planning experience at all levels. Matt also has strong liaison qualities with operational experience in East Timor and the Middle East.
Ewan was born on Guadalcanal Island in the Solomon's and grew up there. From an early age he was exploring WWII battlefields in the surrounding seas of Iron Bottom Sound. A fluent Pidgin speaker, Ewan has a lifelong passion for WWII historical research and archaeology of the South Pacific. He has conducted and participated in a number of expeditions to the South Pacific particularly to the Solomon Islands.
Ewan has participated as a volunteer SME on a number of US Defence Department DPAA surveys in the Solomon's with Brent Prop Group. Ewan's discoveries include the sites of the USS Aaron Ward (DD-483), USS Seminole (AT-65), Japanese midget submarines and a number of aircraft sites.
He has travelled extensively through the Solomon's archipelago and has an extensive geographic, historical, hydrographic and cultural knowledge of the area. He also has a Bachelor of Science Degree.
Our vision is to be leaders in World War Two underwater exploration in the Pacific.
Our mission is to complete the underwater story of World War Two in the Pacific.
It is our task to find potentially dangerous remnants of WWII wrecks in the Pacific, secure these remnants and map them for potential dive tourism operations in the future.
It is also our intention to support the US Department of Defence in identifying the maritime explosive remnants of war (ERW) dumps. We will also assist with the repatriation of remains of US servicemen from these wrecks and the location of remains of NZ servicemen.