Jeff Moates

Mystery boat discovered in Lake Monroe

By Tom Knox - Daytona Beach News Journal

Archaeologist Jeff Moates had zero visibility as he dived into the brown water of Lake Monroe in search of a submerged shipwreck.

It was difficult to spot as he couldn't even see his hand an inch away from his face.

The picture was much clearer, though, on the 23-foot SeaCraft boat that Moates dived off last Wednesday. As he swam, extending his flippers to feel for where the boat should be, the crew on the boat followed his every movement.

"There he is -- fin and tank," commercial diver Todd Bosinski said of Moates. "Now he's swimming sideways."

Bosinski, owner of Blackwater Divers in DeLand, pointed to the outlined images of a long boat and a tiny man on his side imaging sonar device.

Bosinski and the team weren't seeking to recover gold from a wrecked Spanish galleon. He just wanted to find an interesting piece, perhaps something that could be in a museum. What they found wasn't museum-worthy, but interesting nonetheless: a boat believed to have plied these waters nearly a century ago.

Shipwreck research isn't Bosinski's day job. His 5-year-old company makes much of its money from inspecting bridges and storm drain pipes, or locating fraudulently abandoned boats for insurers.

His newest endeavor is finding sunken old-growth cypress logs. He's found 4,000 of them, although he can't yet excavate them until he gets the proper permits.

Those logs are up to 10 times more valuable than conventional wood because of their rot-resistance and durability.

One of them that he's identified could be worth up to $100,000.

But last week, while his employees were dredging in Ocala, Bosinski spent the day on Lake Monroe in southwestern Volusia County.