Mystery Ship, Not a Mystery Anymore

Mystery Ship, Not a Mystery Anymore

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PERDIDO KEY, Florida -

A small reminder is all that remains of the shipwreck on Johnson Beach. Sand and surf are reclaiming her just as her story is being revealed.

"We been here and seen it uncovered several times haven't we Johnny? It's been uncovered before." Life long fisherman Butch, as he wants to be known, and his buddy Johnny Baker say the mystery ship is no mystery at all.

"Everybody knew that the 'Lucky Strike' had come in," says Butch.

Built in the 1920's, it was 70 feet long with two masts. "It was a big snapper smack that use to tie up downtown," says Baker. "If you remember when they tied up there on Palafox street. Wells and Saunders Fish House was down there."

Almost 60 years ago, it ran aground. "There was a storm that night," says Baker, "he lost control of the boat there. Of course after he got out of the channel as big a boat as that was the bottom was dragging on the sand and there wasn't much way to control it."

Like a lot of folks Butch and Johnny went to see the wreck. "It broke up when it grounded in that storm there. That's what let all the snapper out. All the fish that they had in the hold was washed up on the beach and it stunk to high heaven."

Everyone survived the grounding according to the two anglers. Butch even has the ice chipper from the ship along with all his other maritime memorabilia. He says he's not surprised by all the hoopla over the old wreck. He's just glad to tell the tale.

In the next day or two what's left of the shipwreck will be buried once again. At least now though, we know the rest of the story.

Anthropologists from the University of West Florida have also studied the wreck. They say it was last uncovered in 2010 during the BP oil spill.

They refer to it as "Jack's Wreck" after finding floor paneling with the name 'Jack' carved into it.

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