Mother and Young Son Stumble Upon 'Holy Grail of Shipwrecks,' a Well-Preserved 18th Century Boat

The 48-foot hull dating as far back as the 1700s washed ashore on Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville, Fla.

A mom and her son were looking for sea shells on a Florida beach when they found something far more impressive.

Julie Turner and her 8-year-old son Patrick were at Ponte Vedra Beach outside Jacksonville Wednesday morning when they stumbled upon a shipwreck dating back as far as 300 years.

"When we first saw it I thought it's probably maybe a pier of some sort until I walked closer to it," Turner said. But her son "knew immediately it was a ship."

The vessel is 48-feet long and its wooden pegs are still intact.

Meteorologist Rebecca Barry of Jacksonville's WJXT says the shipwreck turned up after heavy surf over the last week.

"You never underestimate the power of the ocean," she said. "We had six- to nine-foot – occasionally 11-foot – waves for about 48 hours. We had very strong onshore winds pushing a higher volume of water sending debris like that ship to the shoreline."

Volunteers are now securing the wreckage with ropes to transport it to a local museum.

Researchers are taking photos and measurements of the wreckage to create a 3D model of the ship.


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