Mysterious Florida shipwreck

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A buried boat has been discovered at Florida’s Ponte Vedra beach by volunteer turtle patrollers at Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.

A local archaeologist and a team from St. Augustine's Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program say that the vessel may date back to the mid 1900s.

After examining the boat’s exposed ribs and keel exposed by recent storms, there is now speculation over whether the vessel experts may be a shrimper or part of an oiler called the Fortuna II, which was stranded in the area in 1938.

Researchers hope that the boat’s construction methods will offer some clues as to where and when it came from.

The area is renowned for its wrecks, there are accounts from the 1780s which say that you couldn’t walk 50 paces down the beach without running into one. Florida is also well known for its wrecks and the National Parks Service has made a map of some of the state’s most popular finds. (http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/flshipwrecks/intro.htm)

NPS says that there are about 450 shipwrecks off the Northeast Florida coast and that the sandbars offshore of the St. Augustine Fort are home to more shipwrecks from the 16th and 17th century than any place in America except the Florida Keys.