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Daytona Beach shipwreck is helping with post-Ian recovery

Hurricanes Shipwreck
John Raoux/AP
Archaeologist Christopher McCarron takes measurements of a structure exposed in the sand, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla. Severe beach erosion caused by two late-season hurricanes helped partially uncover what appears to be part of an 80-foot-long (24-meters) ship in the sand on Daytona Beach Shores, officials said.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

What is most likely a shipwreck from the 1800s has been uncovered in Daytona Beach by historic erosion brought about by two back-to-back hurricanes. The discovery is helping to bring international attention to an area hard-hit by the storms.

Hurricane Ian brought historic flooding, wind damage and loss of life and property to the Daytona Beach area. Then Hurricane Nicole hit just weeks later.

Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Lori Campbell Baker says it’s a silver lining that the storms also uncovered what is most likely a shipwreck from the 1800s.

The discovery has not only brought international attention to the area. The Guardian, The New York Times and NPR all covered the story. It’s also helping the area rebound by peaking tourists’ interest in other aspects of Volusia County.

“We have an African-American history that is not to be believed, just so much going on in this area," said Campbell Baker. "Our arts and culture are so near and dear to us and when something like this, which just speaks of the history, happens it just reminds us of all of the things that people maybe don't know about the Daytona Beach area. And we just encourage them to explore."

The shipwreck will not be removed from the sand, but will continue to be reincorporated back into the beachside over the next few weeks.

“These kind of mysteries. What was it? What do we know about it? Just always fascinating. It's fascinating for the visitors," said Campbell Baker. "It will actually stay in place, it will not be unearthed, it is absolutely going to stay with the ocean. And little by little, the beach will continue to bring sand back to it. So it may be another couple 100 years before people get to see it again, which is kind of cool.”

She says that's something for our great-grandchildren to delight in, just as our generation did.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan and is a graduate of both the University of Michigan and Northwestern University. In her free time, she enjoys playing her guitar, writing fiction, and cooking.
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