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  It was of those Saturdays in July, 1960 , where any land bound activity was too hot. The day called for some  serious under water exploring down in Florida Keys, and Harry " Big Splash" Wiseman and I were like spirits, skimming across an ocean flat as a pancake, with under water visibility somewhere around 200 feet. Standing on the bow  of my 16-foot    Mohawk out board boat I could make out every reef and sand pocket for a hundred  feet  as we worked are way to Molasses reef  about five miles seaward of key largo. It was one of those days you felt as if you owned the whole ocean, and we were to find out later that there were days where you had to fight for every inch of it. But this day belong to us , and we had shipwreck on our our mind . Gray smudges in the center of sand pockets often meant a wreck site, and I scanned every pocket as Harry maneuvered the boat in a zigzag pattern  heading seaward.


Bob Weller's salvage boat the "Pandion".

  I had graduated from University  of  Delaware in 1957, a tenure during which Dr. Harry Wiseman had helped me master the fundamentals of Civil Engineering and when I accepted a job with Honeywell in Florida , Harry also made a teaching move to University of Miami . It  meant that we could both follow our dreams of sunken treasure and old Spanish galleons . We never intended that this would be any more than a weekend hobby, something to escape the telephones and traffic. That was before we found our first gold on the El Infante .
  The ocean deepended to a cobalt blue as we rounded the offshore side of Molasses Reef .  The bottom was barely visible, and I knew it had to be close to 80 feet deep, too deep for the diving we had in mind. Wrecks happen because the vessel hit a reef, so Harry angled my boat Frogfoot closer to the line of reefs that appeared like a brown line stretching to the south. The water was so clear over the reefs that the depth fooled you. What appeared to be only three or four feet was actually almost ten feet, and fish were everywhere. It was like show time: big fish, little fish, striped fish, spotted fish. I had Harry throttle back so we could both enjoy the show.


 Cannon, Florida Keys.

  For a while we almost forget about wreck sites and sunken treasure. It was the curious mound of square cut rocks lying about 600 feet to the east of the red nun buoy inside Conch reef that jolted us out of our reverie. "Harry...wreck site!"
  Harry and I had located a number of wreck sites, mostly modern, along the reefs of the Upper Keys, and as we settled to the bottom with SCUBA tanks on our backs we could tell this was probably a barge, or converted vessel, carrying cut stones for a church or possibly Fort Jefferson in the Tortugas. The only artifacts we were able to uncover were several bronze spikes and some copper sheathing, and the excitement was provided by a large green moray eel that came out of nowhere to establish riparian rights to this particular pile of rocks. It all ended when we heard the sound of an outboard motor nearby and saw the shadow of a boat drifting towards the Frogfoot. 

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