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Rum Runners and Torpedo Bombers At Channel Islands National Park


A December lecture series will focus on submerged wrecks at Channel Islands National Park. Among the more than 100 protected shipwrecks in the park is the steamer Winfield Scott, which grounded and sank off the north shore of Middle Anacapa Island in 1853. NPS photo.

Who would have figured that Channel Islands National Park has ties to rum runners? Or that a World War II torpedo bomber lies beneath the waves at the park that is set off the California coast?

In December if you're in the vicinity of Santa Barbara, California, you'll be able to learn more about these and other historic shipwrecks and submerged aircraft that rest on the seabed around the Channel Islands during a lecture series titled "From Shore to Sea."

The presentation, set for December 8 and December 9, will be delivered by Channel Islands' sanctuary and park cultural resource experts Robert Schwemmer and Kelly Minas. They will discuss two recently explored wrecks off Anacapa Island—a mysterious shipwreck of a possible prohibition era rum runner and a sunken World War II era torpedo bomber. These are among over two dozen wrecks studied around the Channel Islands that document over 150 years of evolving maritime enterprises. There are an estimated 150 or more shipwrecks thought to exist around the islands as well as submerged prehistoric sites dating back more than 10,000 years, according to park researchers.

Mr. Schwemmer, the Maritime Heritage Coordinator for Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, conducts archeological research for the five national marine sanctuaries located along the Pacific West Coast. He has been recording and mapping submerged sites in the area since 1993. Mr. Minas has been the Channel Islands National park archeologist since 2004. Prior to working at the park he was the staff archeologist at Vandenberg Air Force Base. He has specialized as a prehistoric archeologist for 22 years and has an anthropology degree from the University of New Hampshire.

The “From Shore to Sea” lecture series is jointly sponsored by Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary with support from Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The purpose of the series is to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8, at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way in the Santa Barbara Harbor and Wednesday, December 9, 2009, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.

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