Saturday, October 18, 2008

by Robin

Thursday evening, our family went out to Brevard Community College to listen to a lecture on underwater archaeology. It was part of a larger "In the Dirt" fall series presented by the Florida Public Archaeology Network.

Because we were in a dark lecture hall, I was unable to take personal photos so all these photos you see here are taken from the website. Thank you. Our speaker for the night was Jeff Moates who spoke specifically on preservation & nominating specific sites as underwater museums or parks. These aren't just Spanish Gallions which carried treasure chests of gold but everyday industrial vessels carrying precious cargo like mahogany wood, molasses, sometimes hidden treasure & everyday people.

In the above link, there are also interactive tours of the underwater shipwrecks for several of the 14 ships that are registered underwater museums around the state of Florida.

Below is a photo of the U.S.S. Massachusetts, which is the oldest existing battleship. Her career with the military was from 1906-1916. She was later used as a training ship in the VA area until 1920 when she was brought down to Pensacola, FL to be used as target practice. She is an icon of Pensacola Passe and currently owned by the public citizens of Pensacola as of 1994. She makes one of the best dives in Florida, sitting in 26 ft of water.

Below is the Copenhagen which went down in 1902. She was coming down from Philadelphia with her cargo when her captain ran her aground onto the reef. A salvage ship was sent to pull her off the reef but instead pulled her apart. Her bow still sits on the reef and the back end of her sits a little bit further offshore.

Below is a lumber schooner named Lofthus. She has fake, painted gun ports on her side. She originated in the city of Manalapan, NJ, but her remains can be found on the West Coast of Florida. She was dynamited and her wood salvaged. Her scattered debris is sometimes covered by sand, depending on what blows through the area.

Please feel free to browse the website above. Enjoy the videos of the underwater museums. Learn more about the history of the ships. Some videos are not up but will be up by the end of the year.

For example, the Urca De Lima, off Ft. Pierce's shores, had gold wedges smuggled in the bottom of a barrel back in the 1700's. This is one reason why they call that part of Florida the Treasure Coast. The City of Hawkinsville was a steamer than went down right at an Olde Town dock in 1922. The SS Tarpon traveled from New Orleans to Panama City. It & its Captain went down 9 mi SW of P.C.

The Half Moon was a Germania racing sailboat, seized by the British in war times, remodeled as a restaurant then sunk in Miami. This vessel carried over 15000 sq ft of sail. Amazing history there! There was lots of mystery surrounding the Vamar in Port St. Joe when it sunk back in 1942 in the middle of the channel. It its youth, it has been to Antarctica. The Regina, AKA Sugar Barge, lies off the beaches of Bradenton, FL. She gets her name from the 350,000 gallons of molasses that went down with her, the cook & his dog. The George Valentine sunk in 1904 off the coast of Stuart, FL taking down loads of mahogany wood which was later salvaged.


mary grace said...

I just wanted to (finally) comment to say that I really enjoy your many adventures!

Kat said...

Hiya is always good to hear from you...

And we love your website....what cool pictures, sweetie! The history of the sea is a magnificent and sobering thing..isn't it? Thanks for sharing with us!