Normally when I’m at the beach I get to soak in the views of million-dollar yachts cruising up and down the ocean off South Florida’s coast. Occasionally you see a large tanker out on the horizon with its cargo destined to some foreign land. But yesterday, I spotted a strange looking craft only a few hundred feet from shore traveling south towards Ft. Lauderdale. It looked like nothing I had seen before with large pipe-like “things” towering above the vessel. Just what was this crazy looking ship?
Later in the day, I happened to be catching up on the news and hit the Palm Beach Post’s website and they had a story about it:
Three-legged treasure-hunting barge spotted off Palm Beach
By BILL DIPAOLO
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 12, 2009
PALM BEACH — Motorists and bicycle riders along A1A on Saturday may be wondering about that three-pronged ship floating in the Atlantic Ocean just east of the Everglades Club.
The $2 million craft, known as a jack-up barge, is a research vessel owned by Jacksonville-based Amelia Research. For the last couple months, divers have been using the 70-foot-long vessel to search for coins and artifacts from the Spanish galleon “San Miguel Archangel,” which sank off Jupiter in about 1660.
The three giant legs are lowered to the sand below the surface to lift the vessel above the water. Each leg has a 4-foot-by-8-foot platform at the bottom that sits in the sand to keep the ship stationary. The barge is moved periodically.
This area of South Florida is known as the “Treasure Coast” because of the number of ships which were sunk, many times with their valuable cargo laying at the bottom of the ocean. It will be interesting to see where this ship will be heading to find the next buried treasure.