Wednesday, April 16, 2014

4/16/14 Report - Odyssey Marine, SS Central America, Copper Sheathing, Northeast Wind & Erosion

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Treasure Coast Beach This Afternoon.

We had a good northeast wind on the Treasure Coast this morning.   That surprised me a little.  After watching it a while, I thought I should go check out the beach even though the surf was supposed to be small.
This picture shows the same beach that I showed yesterday.  The top cliff is from yesterday.  The bottom cliff is from last night, or more likely, this mornings high tide during the northeast wind.
You can see that a foot or more of sand got removed since yesterday, and this wasn't the most eroded spot.

Same Beach Just a Little North.
In some spots more sand got removed today.  The second picture shows where there was about a four foot cut.  It ran a good distance too.  It was about a two foot cut yesterday and two more feet gone today.
This cut beach that I'm showing was the most cut of any that I saw today.  Other beaches were nothing like this one.
I checked it out simply because the wind looked promising.  There were very very few signals though.  I'm not going to increase my beach conditions rating despite the sizable cut on this one beach.  I will however issue an alert.  If things continue to improve we might get into something.

Tonight the high tide will be higher than normal.  If the wind remains favorable that should help.  Thursday we're supposed to get up to a six foot surf and again Sunday.   That could do some good.

Odyssey Marine Explorations had a profitable year.  They will be salvaging the SS Central America which hasn't been worked in a decade due to court proceedings.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from an Odyssey press release.

The SS Central America was a wooden-hulled, copper-sheathed, three-masted sidewheel steamship launched in 1852 as the SS George Law. The ship was in continuous service on the Atlantic leg of the Panama Route between New York and San Francisco. Owned and operated by the United States Mail Steamship Company, the SS Central America was caught in a hurricane and sank on September 12, 1857.

When it was lost, the SS Central America was carrying a large consignment of gold for commercial parties, mainly in the form of ingots and freshly minted U.S. $20 Double Eagle coins. Because of the large quantity of gold lost with the ship, public confidence in the economy was shaken, which contributed to the Panic of 1857.

Here is the link for more about Odyssey and their projects.

Did you notice that the SS Central America was copper-sheathed.  That practice started in the mid 18th Century.  So if you are finding copper hull sheathing it is from a wreck of that time or later and not earlier vessels such as those of the 1715 Fleet.   Of course, earlier wrecks do have copper items other than sheathing but copper sheathing would be later.

It can help a lot to know the approximate dates of things like that.

There is one beach on South Hutchinson Island that produces a lot of copper sheathing yet today.  I suspect a later shipwreck is there, in fact I think there is a mixture of wrecks there, but some of the copper bits could also come from things other than shipwrecks.  There is a lot of varied history there.

Here is a link to a site that gives some information on copper sheathing.

Later tin was mixed with the copper resulting in "Muntz metal."

Copper or copper alloy sheathing was no longer used on larger vessels after steel hulls became common, but it was still used later on smaller vessels.

Leo L. had this to say about Dan B.s key from yesterday's post.

Well the keys are likely from Allegheny County in Pennsylvania maybe likely keys from the jail?? or government building.

If the wind doesn't switch, and I think it will, we might get a beach conditions upgrade before long.

The trouble we've been having this year is the fronts have been moving through quickly and when the wind is right, it changes too soon and the cuts fill back in.

Happy hunting,