Looking for buried treasure? This may not be exactly what you had in mind but the Alabama Gulf Coast is teeming with sunken finds just off our coast. From newly discovered underwater forests (hidden for tens of thousands of years!) to ship wrecks and fishing reefs just waiting for you to explore. Keep reading for some of the best places to check out if you want to dive in the area or just want to learn more about what can be found on the sea floor!
For 60,000 years, a cedar forest has been in existence off the Alabama Coast. During that time, no humans lived in North America and the coast line was a long 30-60 miles extended from our current shores. There’s been no forest anywhere close to this age found anywhere else on earth. What took so long to find it you may ask? During Hurricane Ivan, waves over 90 feet high were recorded off the coast, breaking records of wave height to this day. These waves uncovered the mud and muck that preserved this natural phenomenon for thousands and thousands of year.
A famous ship named the Clotilda found its final home among the depths of local water ways. It is currently suspected to be in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Recent extremely low tides exposed a ship’s spine on an uninhibited island in that area and is currently undergoing research to discover if it is the famous Clotilda.
What makes this ship famous? It was the last ship transporting slaves to North America in 1860, which at that point had long been illegal. History tells us that the illicit trip was funded by local plantation owner, Timothy Meaher, after making a bet that he could get the ship to shore without being detected by federal officials. The 110 slaves were ferried from the ship and smuggled past authorities before the ship was burned to hide the evidence. These slaves were freed 5 years later at the end of the Civil War and settled near where the ship was burned in what is now known as Africatown.
This history along makes the recent underwater find even more a place to see. Check with Mobile area history tours to find if any offer this adventure! Or charter an inshore boating company to take you to see the find! Part of the ship can be seen from the boat and will give you a great idea of the size of the ship.
There are many artificial reefs in the area and some make for ideal diving adventure! Two of those are sunken ships creating a habitat for marine life. The LuLu and the Fairfield new Venture were purposefully sunk off the Alabama Coast to create the perfect places for divers to see the local marine inhabitants. You can also fish off these reefs, typically. You’ll want to be sure to utilize local fishing charter companies so you will be obeying all local laws.