Mystery Conn. Shipwreck Stumps Divers
So far 6 dives to an 85-foot schooner have yet to reveal the ship's identity
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2014 8:28 AM CDT
In this Sept. 9, 2014, photo, Nicole Green, left, of West Hartford, Conn., and her dive instructor, Woodrow Tinsley, clear their masks before diving in the Connecticut River.   (AP Photo/Journal Inquirer, Jared Ramsdell)

(Newser) – After hearing rumors that a shipwreck was just off the banks of the Connecticut River in East Hartford, police officer and scuba instructor Woodrow Tinsley had to have a look for himself. And while it didn't take him long to find the schooner he estimates to be 85 feet long and in good condition, he has yet to discover—over the course of six dives and counting—the identity of the ship or when it went down, reports the Journal Inquirer. And with only a month left of diving before winter sets in, the mystery will likely linger until divers can explore it again next summer—and Tinsley is OK with that. "Divers spend their whole careers looking for shipwrecks, and here we have one in our backyard," he says. "It’s a big deal. You get to be an amateur archaeologist."

One story has it that the ship went down near Wethersfield Cove in the 1970s and the owner brought it up and moved it to East Hartford, where it went down again and stayed put after the Army Corps of Engineers decided to keep it down with weights instead of letting it float away. But Tinsley says he hasn't yet found evidence to support that story, and that any police report would have been destroyed by now. "It's an amazing shipwreck," he says, adding that the hull remains intact and largely unscathed. He's dated some items, including pieces of china, to 1869. (Time will tell if it beats the finds aboard one shipwreck—which include intact bottles of wine and perfume.)