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RickI 04-22-2015 09:55 PM

Dive Spot: The Wreck of the Lofthus
The Lofthus aground in 1898

"The iron-hulled barque* Cashmere was built in Sunderland, England, by T.R. Oswald and launched on October 5, 1868. She was owned by the Liverpool Shipping Company and managed by H. Fernie & Sons. Constructed of riveted iron, the barque measured 222.8 feet in length, 36.7 feet in beam, and had a depth of hold of 22.7 feet. The ship was rated at 1,277 gross tons with two decks and one cemented bulkhead."

"Like other vessels of her kind, Cashmere was intended to travel the waters of the globe in order to make money for her owners; false gunports were painted along her sides to deter Sumatran and Javanese pirates. In 1897, Cashmere was sold to a Norwegian named Henschien, renamed Lofthus, and transferred to the American trade.On February 4, 1898, while en route from Pensacola to Buenos Aires with a cargo of lumber, Lofthus was wrecked on the east coast of Florida. The local sea-going tug Three Friends (which usually was engaged in running guns to Cuba) attempted to assist the stranded barque, but she was high on the beach and quickly being pounded to pieces by waves. The crew of sixteen men was saved but the vessel was a total loss. While stranded on the beach, Lofthus´ Captain Fromberg, traveling with his family, entertained local residents and gave the ship´s dog and cat to one family.After being stripped of all useable items, the wreck was sold along with 800,000 feet of lumber stowed in the hold for $1,000. In September 1898, the hull, which was not nearly as valuable as the cargo, was dynamited so that the lumber could be salvaged."

* A barque (bark) is a sailing ship with at least three masts, all of them fully square rigged except for the sternmost one, which is fore-and-aft rigged.
A clearer shot of a similar period 220 ft. barque, the Alf or Adolph Harboe.
And, a shot of a present day barque under sail, the famous USCGC Eagle which visits ports in our area at times. It is substantially longer at 295 ft. of course.
I was impressed by just how low the sand level was on the wreck. Hurricane Sandy caused the twin ledges off Deerfield Beach to vanish. It looks like things are going in the other direction up here.

The wreck site is a designated State of Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve. More at:

The wreck is situated about 1.25 miles north of the present day Boynton Beach Inlet and about 650 ft. off a private beach. It lay on and to seaward of a coquina reef exposure. It is accessible by boat or travel by foot from the public parking lot at the inlet. I find it by going off the south end of the fifth house lot north of the "S-curve" on A1A. If you head straight east you'll pickup debris on the bottom. The depths are fairly shallow ranging from about 10 to 20 feet. The currently exposed debris is scattered over an approximate 300 ft. long by 50 ft.+ wide area of bottom, largely east of reef.
An isolated section of somewhat intact, upright hull.
A shot of the cemented sand and shell reef which captured the Lofthus so long ago.

I was in a rush walk up and back to the wreck, more so shooting this composite, so it is a bit rough. I hope to make it back and shoot it properly this time with transect lines in good viz. to capture more of the wreck before the sand level rises again. This photo represents a roughly 90 ft. section of the wreck along an approximate NNE to SSW alignment.
Click twice for full sized image to get a close up look at a rough 90 ft. section of the debris field.
A closer look at the grown over commemorative plaque on the anchor. The anchor had been moved to this location.


RickI 07-13-2015 12:03 PM

It was a calm day not too far off high tide so I took the family via paddle boards from Boynton Beach Inlet to the wreck of the Lofthus on the weekend. I shot the following panoramic along a north to south transect over the wreck. I swam the length of this section of the wreck with a GoPro Hero 4 Black camera facing downward in a chest harness to capture this imagery.

CLICK image twice for full sized photo
CLICK image twice for full sized photo

RickI 03-19-2018 12:22 AM

I went out to the Lofthus for the first time in quite a while. We had a major Northeaster come through a few weeks ago throwing off some monster swells and a great deal of beach erosion.
Some amazing drone imagery of the swells from James M. Arena.

It looks like it cleared from 2 to 3 ft.+ of sand depth from in and around the shipwreck. Also, the reef to the west of the wreck has developed a good deal more profile with the removal of sand from depression and ledge areas.
Those may look like timbers but are in fact worm rock encased structure steel ship members.
It looks like a carpet of worm rock in places, newly uncovered carpet it would seem.

More about worm rock or Sabellariid reefs in Florida at:
A short video clip from the wreck today. There is even a nurse shark in there with a couple of tags.


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