Hello, guys! I hope you’re all doing fine. I’ve come a cross a pretty unusual use of “off” and would like to know if you guys can help me clear that out. The text:
“Excavation works on a sunken vessel dated to the post Hellenistic era off the small island of Styra, in the southern Euboean Gulf separating the mainland and the large island of Euboea, were concluded for 2010.”
I had never seen “off” being used this way. What do you guys think it means here? My guess: the sunken vessel was found either near or on the surroudings of the small island, and it is the gulf, not he small island, which separates the mainland and the large island. Plus, it seems that the works are done as far as 2010 is concerned, but that they are to be resumed - that’s what I thought that “for 2010” means here.
What do you guys think of my guesses? Am I too far-off? : -))
Your interpretation of “for 2010” is right.
Oxford English Dictionary
6.b. Naut. To seaward of; opposite or abreast of to seaward; also, away from (the wind): see wind. See also off-shore.
1669 Sturmy Mariner’s Mag. iv. 138 Ready to give his best Judgement of his Distance off the Shore. 1707 W. Funnell Voy. round World 126 Off it lie two Rocks or small Islands. 1726 G. Roberts Four Years Voy. 3 The Stagg Rocks off the Lizard. 1776 Gibbon Decl. & F. xiii. (1827) I. 426 The fleet+had been stationed off the Isle of Wight. 1813 Examiner 4 Jan. 6/1 The enemy keeping two points off the wind. 1879 Froude Cæsar xvi. 256 A sea battle+was fought off the eastern promontory of the Bay of Quiberon.”
It basically means somewhere at sea, at some distance from the island.
Your interpretation of topography is also right, as you can see on Google Maps:
maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source= … AQ&split=0
The function of off here is related to (but not quite the same as) a very common function of the word - just off the main route/ away from the main route.
The vessel is off the small island - a short distance away from the island.
You can also think of it as the vessel sunk just offshore from the small island.