Considering the divers were looking for remains of an iron-hulled Civil War-era steamer, Tom Allyn's news was about as good as it could be.
"I found something — it's old and it's metallic,'' said Allyn, wearing a wet suit and standing in chest-deep water off Bayport Park on Thursday morning.
Then, moments later, marine archaeologist Billy Morris surfaced with an update that topped Allen's.
"It's a piece of steam pipe,'' Morris said.
That pipe, about 9 inches in diameter and 2 feet long — definitely iron and definitely consistent with the side-wheeler the divers were looking for — is some of the most solid evidence ever found of a dramatic and often overlooked chapter in Hernando history.