Monday, June 29, 2015

6/29/15 Report - Capitana Working In Close. Thoughts On The Round Mystery Object. Shipwreck Scour.

Capitana Over Hole Near Shore.
Photo by Captain Jonah Martinez

Here is what Captain Jonah said,  We are back further than anyone has got before, we back the boat into 2.6 feet of water blow a hole so we can float then move back another 12 ft and start moving side to side... 
I remember Mo Molinar, on the Virgalona, I think it was, down at Douglass beach backed up close to the beach.  That was back some time in the eighties, about thirty years ago.   Bob Luyendyk was diving on the Virgalona then.

It is hard to know where the beach was back when the shipwreck occurred.  During or immediately after the hurricane it could have been pretty far back.

Even if it wasn't, there have been numerous hurricanes since that time and the beach could have been eroded far back during any of those going back hundreds of years.

Despite all you hear about rising sea levels, beach erosion and the disappearing beaches one good study published in 2011 shows mostly increasing or building beaches along the coastline of Florida from 1970 to 2011, evidently due at least in part to the large number of renourishment programs.  There were more decreasing beaches in the period from 1883 to 1970, although many large sections were increasing or remained stable during that period.

Here is the link.

The natural beaches back years were decreasing more than in more recent periods, but not as much as I would have expected from all the hyped up news.  Actually if you look at the trends, the areas you would expect to erode were eroding, such as the north side of Cape Canaveral, and other areas, nearly as many, were increasing, and many areas have been stable.

You have that North to South long shore current and sand transport along the East Coast of Florida, which explains most of what you see as erosion and accretion.  The long shore current takes sand away from one place and drops it at another pretty much as you would expect.


Round Mystery Object
Photo by Richard O.

William M., of GoldNugget's round mystery object, said, A photo of the other side would definitely help but from just this one view I believe it is a horse bridle rosette.

Thanks William.  I think that is a good possibility.

Alberto S. focused in on the cross and rays on the object and sent the picture below showing similar religious symbolism.

Good observation Alberto.

As a result of Alberto's observation, I then asked Laura Strolia what she thought of the decoration. Laura is the researcher and author who wrote on the gold Pelican of Piety artifact and authored The Marigalera of the 1715 Fleet book.

Picture Submitted by Alberto S.
Here is what she said.   believe the artifact is a pocket token, a metal coin with images and words that reflect one’s faith.  Your picture shows a “Glory Cross,” meaning it is a cross adorned with shining light like the sun.  Many rays emanate from the circular light shown on your artifact. The symbolic image helps Christians to think about Christ’s Crucifixion and His Resurrection through the light.

It has crossed my mind the opposite side was of Our Lady of Fatima, one of the most famous stories related to a sun miracle. This is one of my favorite miracles, actually in essence, two. 
In Portugal, 1917, Mother Mary appeared to three children and gave them messages. To prove her messages were sent by God, the Virgin Mary allowed 70,000 people to witness the sun spin and fall from the sky.

Fast forward to 1945, Hiroshima, when the atomic blast filled the sky with a bright light similar to the sun.  Eight Jesuit priests, living less than a mile away from the explosion, miraculously survived when over 50,000 people died almost instantly.  For miles, ashes were seen, except for the standing building the Jesuits lived in. The priests did not suffer from any radiation sickness, or injuries, and lived on healthy for many years. Why did they survive?  Their answer was that they were living the Message of Fatima, turning to God instead of sin.  The bomb of Hiroshima happened on August 6, the Feast Day of Christ’s Transfiguration.  In Book Matthew 17:2 it reads, “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.”

Please let me know if anything shows up more on the artifact after cleaning.

Laura Strolia

Laura always has some great information to add.  Thanks Laura.

Unfortunately it is more difficult to identify an item from a picture than real life.  In real life you can inspect various views, you know the size and thickness, you can inspect the item for the smallest signs or clues, and you can analyze any patina or wear.  That is not so easy from a picture.

This mystery item shows a lot of corrosion to the front and appears to me to be pretty old.
For now, I'm leaning with William on the rosette, but also think the Glory Cross, pointed to by Alberto and identified by Laura, might be very significant.

Thanks all!


Shipwreck scour is something that affects the bottom sediments around shipwreck sites.  It can often be identified by remote sensing.

Just like any object where there are currents, a shipwreck and associated artifacts will affect the flow of sand creating signature shadows which can also be seen as patterns in the sediment.

This is a good study that provides some useful hints.  The title is  The role of scour in shipwreck site formation processes and the preservation of wreck-associated scour signatures in the sedimentary record - evidence from seabed and sub-surface data.

Here is the link.


I'll pick up with more beach analysis in the near future.


Expect another week or two of exactly the same beach detecting conditions along the Treasure Coast.

Happy hunting,