Hurricane Michael unearths nearly 120-year-old ship wreckage on Florida island

Hurricane Michael unearths nearly 120-year-old ship wreckage on Florida island

Hurricane Michael Unearthed Historical Treasures on Florida’s Forgotten Coast

It seems as if Hurricane Michael left an apology gift behind for the Forgotten Coast of Florida. Michael’s storm surge dredged a handful of ships from the 19th century that cleared Dog Island during the Carrabelle Hurricane of 1899.

These old wooden ships are now clearly viewed near the west end of Dog Island just 3.5 miles offshore from Carrabelle.

The wreckage is well-documented.

Almost 120 years ago, the Carrabelle Hurricane crossed the Gulf of Mexico through the Florida Keys, where it strengthened into a Category 2 storm.  The powerful hurricane destroyed and washed 15 ships ashore the Franklin County barrier island.

For more than a century, the well-documented shipwrecks have remained mostly stationary, buried in the sand along Dog Island.

Over the years, parts of the site have become exposed due to shifting tides—but they have never been in full view as they are today.

In 1999, archeologists Chuck Meide, James A. McClean and Edward Wiser surveyed two of these ships and compiled research about the 1899 wrecks, which included several Norwegian timber ships.

It is unclear how many of the 15 ships have been unearthed by Michael. However, the breathtaking aerial photos clearly show these uncovered historical treasures scattered along Dog Island’s Gulf of Mexico side.

Smith took drone footage of the wreckage. The ships were destroyed during a hurricane in 1899.

The Crooked River Lighthouse and the Carrabelle History Museum are working with the Florida Department of Historical Resources to create exhibits about these historical shipwrecks.

This will allow visitors who cannot make it to Dog Island to see these remarkable relics in person.

We urge visitors of Dog Island to remember that these antiquities are fragile. Feel free to look, but please don’t touch. Do not stand, lean on or remove any part.

These artifacts belong to the State of Florida, and FWC will be patrolling Dog Island regularly to ensure their safety.

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