Preparing the anchor for removal from where lost.
Stephen Attis & Allen Gardner with the recovered anchor
Stephen next to anchor just after being placed at wreck-site & where it sits today
RETURN OF THE LOST COPENHAGEN KEDGE ANCHOR
by Steven Singer
Marine Archaeological Council (MAC) member Stephen Attis had heard about one of the Copenhagen’s kedge anchors having been unsuccessfully salvaged a few years before. It had been tied to some 55-gallon drums, floated, and then attempted to be towed ashore, but one drum broke loose and the anchor sank and was left there. Attis had looked for the anchor without success until Craig Parker, a local tropical fish collector, told him about an anchor he’d seen about ¾ of a mile north of the Copenhagen wreck-site. With Parker’s new information, Attis and crew found it after about a 30-minute search and appeared to be the lost Copenhagen kedge anchor. After getting permission from the state to move the anchor, in Dec. 1997, with the help of another MAC member Allen Gardner and his salvage vessel Ella Warley III, it was then recovered and placed back at the main wreck-site near the bronze plaque on the south side of the wreck in the area where the Copenhagen’s bow section once lay (see explanation below). VIDEO OF THE RECOVERY CAN BE VIEWED FROM THIS LINK: https://www.anchorexplorations.com/video
The video shows Stephen Attis and his crew getting the anchor ready to lift by Allen’s salvage vessel. After the anchor was aboard Allen’s vessel, I was asked to find a spot to place the anchor on the Copenhagen site. With the ocean getting rougher, I quickly jumped aboard my own boat and headed to the wreck site and anchored it over the southern end near the commemorative plaque as this was an area the state and MAC had agreed was a good place for it. I immediately placed a marker buoy not far away from the plaque in a flat, hard bottom area, and soon the Ella arrived and returned the anchor to her home. The end of the video shows the anchor in her new resting place where it still sits today. That’s Stephen Attis next to it. You’ll notice a large anchor chain nearby, which was likely attached to the larger main anchor required to hold the 325' vessel.
The steamship Copenhagen is the most popular “actual” shipwreck off Broward County, FL and likely one of Florida’s most visited wreck-sites. It’s been visited by thousands of divers and snorkelers over the years. When I first dove the site in the 70’s, it was mistakenly referred to as the wreck of the Cumberland, which was an Army Corps of Engineers wood hulled hopper dredge that actually wrecked further south off present day Galt Ocean Mile in 1935. As a member of MAC, I did some research and confirmed that this was the wreck of the Copenhagen, which went aground here in 1900. I had gotten copies of the original plans, and located a photo of the wreck from the St. Augustine Historical Society. With this information, more research, and measurements taken at the site by MAC and state archaeologists, the wreck was then positively identified as the Copenhagen wrecked in 1900. A local diver had submitted the site to the State to be considered as an underwater preserve. MAC took the state archaeologists out to the site and it was soon designated as a State underwater preserve.
Lots of 50 & 30 caliber bullets have been recovered in this area as the wreck lies offshore where gun turrets had been placed along the beach for aircraft gunners to practice shooting during WWII, and the wreck lies just offshore of this area. When diving the site, it soon becomes apparent that much of the structure including the bow section, main engine, etc. were missing. My only conclusion was that much of the vessel was salvaged for scrap metal during the war effort. The bow section was found by a fisherman a few years after the main site became a preserve about ¼ mile SE of the main wreck in around 35’ of water, and was likely lost there while being towed to Port Everglades for scrap. We used a water jet probe to see how much more of the bow lay under the sand and determined another 15’ remained buried as that’s how deep the sand was here before we hit bedrock.
The main wreck lies just on the outside of the “Pompano Drop Off Reef” just north of the Sea Watch Restaurant. The wreck lies between 16’ to 31’ depth. This reef system has mooring buoys anchored all along its length and a couple of these allow you to anchor up right next to the wreck site. GPS coordinates are: 26°12.349’N, 80°05.108’W. Whether a novice or experienced diver, or simply a snorkeler, the wreck site and reef is a great place to visit. There’s always an abundance of sea life to be seen, including lobsters, morays and other eels, nurse sharks, sea turtles, corals, etc. The bow section GPS coordinates are: 26°12.007’N, 80°04.967’W. A large goliath grouper had made a home last time I was there. Large nurse sharks would sometimes lay inside it, and we saw some queen conchs there recently which hopefully are making a comeback.
ALL PHOTOS BY STEVE SINGER