1984 Season

With the search area defined, efforts to locate the Maple Leaf began in the summer of 1984. A Fisher Pulse Metal Detector was towed behind a small boat in an attempt to locate iron machinery or fittings. Ironically, the towed sensor became entangled in wreckage protruding above the bottom of the river and divers ground truthed the obstacle using scuba in zero visibility conditions. The presence of machinery parts from a steam vessel established the existence of a wreck but the condition and extent of the vessel could not be determined. Work was temporarily halted until matters of ownership and salvage rights could be resolved. The group of investigators formed Saint Johns Archaeological Expeditions, Incorporated (SJAEI) with Keith Holland of Jacksonville, Florida as president. SJAEI applied for and received a Florida Underwater Exploration Permit effectively excluding outside private interests from the site. Under the stipulations of the permit only remote sensing and diver verification of targets could be conducted (Keith V. Holland, personal communication 1992).