Ship, Gold Coins found at Destin, Fla - from July 22, 1968 Newspaper Article
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Thread: Ship, Gold Coins found at Destin, Fla - from July 22, 1968 Newspaper Article

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  1. #1

    Nov 2004
    4 times

    Ship, Gold Coins found at Destin, Fla - from July 22, 1968 Newspaper Article

    Playground Daily News
    Monday, July 22, 1968

    Newspaper Text: Ship, Gold Coins Found at DESTIN OLD PASS. Star marks the spot where dredge operator Bill McFarland states he hit the wreck of an old ship while digging canals for homesites at HOLIDAY Isle. Old maps show that the entrance to Choctawhatchee Bay was at one time in this area. He reported the wreckage was under about 20'feet of sand when he hit it. (Map by Adrian Young)\14897752.html

    I was in high school at this time and Holiday Isles across from Destin Harbor was undeveloped except for a long, lonely stretch of road and a couple of beach houses. Bill McFarland was operating the dredge by himself during the winter of 1967 and 1968. He was cutting three separate canals through the islands sand and connecting them to Destin Harbor. These were for the condominiums and waterfront houses that were soon to come, although as kids we didn't realize how big an event that would eventually become at the time. The dredge was owned by a man named Rukesteli who happened to be the uncle of a friend of mine. In July, word leaked out that McFarland had found "Three gold coins" over the winter months while he had been operating the dredge. The sand that was dredged up was spread over a large area and eventually homes and condos would be built on it, but in 1968 it was bare sand. Two of my friends including the one whose uncle owned the dredge, scraped their money together and purchased an old military surplus metal detector. One would wear the headphones while the other one scanned with the metal detector. We went at night so nobody would bother us. I remember walking behind my friends carrying a flashlight while they searched with the detector up ahead of me. They never found anything with the detector, but I managed to pick up a really neat, curved, square bodied spike. It was made of a bronze alloy according to people I showed it to that I thought might know. I kept it in my possession until I traveled overseas in 1990 and then I lost track of it. It was kind of a good luck charm for me.

    We only tried out the metal detecting session on that one occasion. I think my friends figured out the metal detector didn't work properly or maybe they just didn't know how to use it. We did however go snorkeling a few times in the canal where the ship was discovered. The water in Destin Harbor was much cleaner back in those days, but the area where the ship was, was cloudy with silt, so visibility was about zero. We could still feel the huge wooden beams of the ship with our hands as they had been well-preserved buried under the sand. If I remember correctly, the wreck was dated to about 1536 by the "Three coins" that McFarland had found. Soon after word leaked out in the paper about the wreck, Bill McFarland quit the dredge and bought a nightclub. Not being a businessman, I think he went broke within a few months and ended up losing the nightclub.

    As far as I know, that ship is still in that canal buried under the sand. No one ever did any kind of proper archeological assessment of what remained of the ship that I am aware of. To find it today, you would probably have to dive under a few million-dollar yachts to re-locate it.

  2. #2

    Feb 2008
    Never Know I May Live Next To You!
    GTI 2500/Bounty Hunter Minelab Equinox 800
    454 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I wonder if anyone has any updates on this?
    crashbandicoot likes this.
    If I was President; I would take away welfare! I wouldn't make any bargains with foreign countries! I wouldn't take #@*& from any country! I would close the borders! I would get rid of taxes! I would make EVERYONE own at least 5 guns! I would ENFORCE Finders Keepers Law !!!!!!!!

  3. #3
    Charter Member
    Sep 2020
    2565 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    That,s a cool story blovelock.I truly enjoyed it.

  4. #4
    beachcomber, treasure hunter, fisherman

    Jun 2016
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've been looking from google....point us to the canal Blovelock great story...shouldn't be hard to find...probably covered in sand and still there !!
    Fat likes this.

  5. #5
    beachcomber, treasure hunter, fisherman

    Jun 2016
    FL keys
    Mine lab primary fisher secondary
    52651 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (4)
    Harbor landing canal looks like the best its dead end it is the closest canal to the beach/ocean. It also has a large sand bar in its dead end section. A ships bones could really be there under the sand. Also if the sand was spread out around the property then there is alot of area around that canal to search...shouldn't be hard to get permission, just a big sand parking area !!



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