Gulf Shore Getaway

Gulf Shore area Condo, Vacation and Events News and Information for Visitors and Vacationers

Sunken ship rises from Fort Morgan sands

Ah, just in time for Halloween. A mysterious sunken ship has risen from the deep along the beach just west of Gulf Shores.

Local historians don't have any idea what ship it might be. They didn't even know it was there. They do know about the Civil War blockade runner known as the Ivanhoe, which ran aground on July 1, 1864. That ship is buried under the beach about 2½ miles east of Fort Morgan. This one is obviously not the Ivanhoe.

The ship appears to be about 150 feet long and 30 feet wide.

You can learn more about the history of the area in Jack Friend's, book West Wind, Flood Tide: The Battle of Mobile Bay"

Related searches: ships of Mobile Bay | Battle of Mobile Bay

Mystery ship appears from Fort Morgan sands
Remains of old wooden vessel are exposed by surf

FORT MORGAN -- High surf in recent days exposed the remains of a large wooden sailing ship along the beach west of Gulf Shores, to the surprise of some visitors and residents.

Two local historians said the wreck is about three miles from the site where a Civil War blockade runner is buried under the sand, but they did not know the identity of the new ship.

The ship's tapered bow points west toward Fort Morgan. The wood that is exposed above the sand is charred along the top indicating the ship burned either before or after it wrecked.

"You can see where it was burned," said resident Jackie Patterson. "I've lived down here 11 years and never seen it before. It looks really old, but the front part is in great shape."

Patterson said she noticed last week that something appeared to be emerging from the sand. She said the tides and waves were high in the days before the ship could be seen and the water appeared to have washed away some of the sand.

She said that because fewer visitors are on the beach in the fall, the wreck was not noticed by many people.

By Friday, part of the side of the ship could be seen, said Bob Bendik, who is renting a house near the site.

Bendik said the narrow bow indicates that the ship was a sailing vessel, although it may have also used steam for propulsion.

On Sunday, Bendik pointed out areas in the bow where thick planks were held together by wooden pegs, pounded into holes about 1 inch in diameter, and other areas where spikes appeared to have been used in the ship's construction.

A twin row of long spikes, about 1 foot apart, ran down the center of the ship.