Monday, September 12, 2011

St. Johns River
The river was dark and murky - the river held many mysteries in its muddy waters -  boat wrecks, accidents, sinkings, burnings.

Site ID Team
The FPAN Site ID team received a call from a professional diver with an interesting proposal.  His professional diving company locates numerous mysterious wrecks in the course of conducting its underwater business.  Blackwater Divers does insurance inspections, bridge inspections, search and recovery, etc., in the rivers, lakes and off shore waters of Florida.  They heard about the Site Team's business of recording archaeological and historic sites on the Florida Master Site File (FMSF).  Would we want to record some of their wreck finds?  Why yes we would!

Todd Bosinski, Blackwater Divers; Toni Wallace, FPAN-NE; Pete, Daytona Beach News-Journal  Photographer; Jeff Moates, FPAN-WC
So on Wednesday, September 7th, the FPAN team of Sarah Miller and Toni Wallace (FPAN-North East), and Jeff Moates (FPAN-West Central) met up with Todd Bosinski, President of Blackwater Divers, and two reporters from the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tom Knox and his photographer, Pete.  We met at the St. Johns River in Volusia County.  Todd had a wreck to show us. 

Todd at controls of his dive boat
Side Scanner Screen

Jeff Moates
We motored to the wreck site in Todd's diving boat.  Todd located the completely submerged wreck with his side scanner radar.  Jeff and Sarah donned their diving suits and down they went into the tannin-darkened waters of the river.  Todd, Toni and the reporters photographed and took notes from the boat as a river otter, manatees, and an alligator passed by the boat.
Sarah Miller

Yes, we had quite a wreck.  The boat measured about 60 feet long and 10 feet wide.  Measurements were taken and fixtures identified mostly by feel as the dark waters did not permit visual id's.  The boat was probably an early 20th century gas powered launch, very well made. 

Burned wood planking from the wreck
 There was evidence of burning as a piece of the burned wood was brought to the surface and then returned.  Although none of the superstructure remained, the hull, planking, frames and wood fasteners were preserved underwater.  Even the tiller still worked.  We named the wreck Bosinski's Wreck # 1 as Todd has others to show us in the rivers, lakes and off shore waters of Northeast Florida.   

Site plan of wreck
       Toni will complete the Shipwreck Form for the Florida Master Site File (FMSF) and submit it to the State Division of Historic Resources.  A hand drawn site map of the wreck, prepared by Jeff, an experienced diver and marine archaeologist, will be included.  Bosinski's Wreck #1 will now be listed on the FMSF.   Although the FMSF does not provide for explicit protection of a listed ship wreck, it does record it in case of activities that might negatively impact it in the future.  We commend Todd and his company, Blackwater Divers, for their interest in identifying and recording Florida's marine archaeological resources.   

Tom Knox interviewing Todd Bosinski for the News-Journal
  The Daytona Beach News-Journal has promised a feature article on the dive.  We look forward to continuing our work with Todd.  Next on the schedule, a possible St. Johns River steam boat.  Stay tuned!

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