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Science aids inventory of Florida Keys shipwrecks

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Author Topic: Science aids inventory of Florida Keys shipwrecks  (Read 85 times)
Twilight of the Gods
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« on: June 14, 2009, 04:31:44 am »

`TRAP FOR SHIPS'

''The Keys is a trap for ships, always has been, always will be,'' Smith said. ``There is all of this maritime history in the Keys. All these shipwrecks represent episodes in that history.''

The wreck was found in the 1990s by two volunteers diving along the channel between the shore and the large coral reef that runs parallel to the Keys.

Experts say there are about 400 ship groundings a year, some due to captain inexperience, some to weather and changes in water depth.

Smith says that when he dives a wreck, he is always looking for man-made objects to tell the story. He believes salvors of the 19th century may have beaten him to any on this wreck. Some salvors were fishermen and they would wait for a ship in trouble, then go get the goods to keep a share.

''The law was, if you were the first salvor to negotiate with the captain, you got to be the salvor,'' he said.

In a Florida Master Site File, all the state's historic sites are listed for inventory. This wreck will get a number there.

The group has created a photo mosaic of the site. They will also map the wreck and shoot video for people who will never dive it.
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