Divers find rare bell off St. Augustine coast

Ship's bell

From First Coast News

Their excitement rang through every word.  They had found a ship's bell, one of the most rare discoveries off the coast. 

Divers from LAMP at the St. Augustine Lighthouse were on a routine site check of a shipwreck when Dr. Sam Turner saw what he described as a "horizontal shadow."

"And it was a bell," said Dr. Turner. "There was no mistaking it. I mean, there was stuff encrusted onto it, but it was very clearly a bell."

Employees with LAMP said only two bells have ever been recovered off the First Coast.

"The bell is traditionally known as the diver's holy grail," explained Chuck Meide, Director of LAMP.

"That's because a ship's bell is extremely rare and also, a ship's bell is often the best clue to the identity of a shipwreck."

Crews spent time Sunday removing some of the concretion that covered the bronze bell after years of sitting below the surface.

They had hoped to find a date or a maker's mark on the metal that would help them figure out the name of the ship.

However, with about 75 percent of the surface cleared, there was no clue to help them determine the ship's identity.


St Augustine LAMP First Coast bell St. Augustine Lighthouse Dr. Sam Turner