Hurricane Irma was responsible for a lot of things moving around underwater after it hit the Florida coast late last year. Due to the storm, new evidence of an old shipwreck off the Florida Keys has now been revealed.
Although the reefs of the Lower Keys took the brunt of the storm, it also affected the Upper Keys reefs, according to Brenda Altmeier, maritime heritage coordinator for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
“There was as much as three feet of sand that was taken off in some areas of the reef line up by Molasses Reef so it left a lot of things uncovered that had been covered for years,” Brenda said.
Among the new discoveries was wreckage that many locals thought for years was from the Overseas Railway, which ran along the Keys from 1912 until 1935.
But researchers say it’s not railroad material — it’s from a ship, most probably the Slobodna. That ship ran aground at Molasses Reef in 1887 while carrying cotton from New Orleans to Estonia.
“The particular wreckage that we’re working on now has similar features to the vessel that was noted as being lost – a composite-built shipwreck. We know the Slobodna was composite-built. It had iron frames and wood siding,” said Brenda.
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