The search for a shipwreck near Four Mile Point
By Chick Huettel - The Destin Log
Many, many years ago while looking over a nautical chart of the Choctawhatchee Bay, I noted that the map revealed the identifying mark of hull bones just off Four Mile Point, which is located north of the Sandestin Resort area.
I think the map was dated in the area of 1950.
I had owned a small lot on the point and was fascinated. It lay almost due west of the property. Loving archeology, I was determined to find the wreck.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Geodetic Survey maps normally record large wrecks with the accompanying symbol. With snorkel, tied together lounging floats I went on the search.
The map depth lines showed it was in 5 to 9 feet. I was so sure I could find the remains. But after four days, I was tired, black fly bitten, and frustrated because the water was relatively clear. I gave up.
A few years later, while at an antique/junk store, I pulled a map out of the cardboard box. This one was dated 1943. As I unrolled it there before me was Four Mile Point again. The skeleton bone figure was not there and in its place was the word “boiler.”
This time the depth line was only four feet and in the same place. I called my brother and again we dragged floats and snorkels and began a search. I only wish we had used the grid system during the search, but it seemed so easy why go to the trouble?
Again we came up with nothing.
Today’s up-to-date Choctawhatchee map shows nothing. Neither the bones or the boiler. Where is this vessel ? It had to be of a good size because of its identification.
And of course a boiler is usually a large iron goliath not counting the steam engine components. Is it just under the surface sand ?
Steamboats traversed the bay in the 1800s and early 1900s. Local carriers and others came from Mobile, Pensacola, and Panama City. Steamboats were also built in Freeport.
Did it burn ? Was it a storm that caused the destruction ? Are there marine artifacts spread about the area ?