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New to the forum, I came here on a research expedition. Hope I can find some knowledgeable help, or at least some interesting opinions;)

I'm writing a book set in a fictional town a few miles north of Pensacola. Since it's all made-up (that's why I write fiction!) I have given the place a small bay and a small commercial fishing fleet. I know what the local (Pacific NW) commercial fishing community is like, have done quite a bit of research up here for other projects. But there are some specific things I'd love to know from someone in the area with specific knowledge.

(If you want to check my credentials, you can look here http://berkleysignetmysteries.com/book2508 to find the first book in this series. I'm deep into the second book, and that's were I need help.)

As you can see, these are murder mysteries, so a lot of what I need to know for this book relates to the laws and regulations that concern maritime operations like commercial fishing, salvage diving, smuggling, endangered species, etc. Anything you can share would be helpful. Even if it doesn't fit in this book, I have another one to go on my current contract, and (I hope) many more in the future.

Is anyone familiar with the regulations concerning salvaging from wrecks? What might get someone arrested? How about smuggling? Drugs is an idea that's been done to death in mystery books, I'd love to have some other suggestion; maybe something you read in a local paper that somebody got caught with. Exotic animals? Endangered species? Especially stuff that would get the attention of somebody besides the local police force.

Wow! I started out to ask a simple question about illegal salvage operations, and ended up going on for much longer than I expected.

Thanks in advance for anything you can tell me!

Oregon Writer Girl
 

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OW Girl, you have come to the right place for some ideas. I'd recommend that you peruse the old posts on this site with an eye out for some of the more unusual posts. Then just send PM to those written that peak your interest. Good luck to you!
 

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Well, i was never a salvage diver but I did work on a bunch of Archaeology wrecks here in the bay and in the backwater river. Some things you can find in those old wrecks are pretty pricey and universities/ museums pay handsomely for good stuff ( think Atocha/ Mel Fisher) you might give the Archaeology Institute ( UWF) a call and talk to the chair or one of the other professors about the legality of things.
 

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Is anyone familiar with the regulations concerning salvaging from wrecks? What might get someone arrested? How about smuggling? Drugs is an idea that's been done to death in mystery books, I'd love to have some other suggestion; maybe something you read in a local paper that somebody got caught with. Exotic animals? Endangered species? Especially stuff that would get the attention of somebody besides the local police force.

Oregon Writer Girl
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Discussion Starter #5
Well, i was never a salvage diver but I did work on a bunch of Archaeology wrecks here in the bay and in the backwater river. Some things you can find in those old wrecks are pretty pricey and universities/ museums pay handsomely for good stuff ( think Atocha/ Mel Fisher) you might give the Archaeology Institute ( UWF) a call and talk to the chair or one of the other professors about the legality of things.
Thanks, Ardemius! That's good to know. And thanks for the suggestion of the Archaeology Institute!
 

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OW Girl, you have come to the right place for some ideas. I'd recommend that you peruse the old posts on this site with an eye out for some of the more unusual posts. Then just send PM to those written that peak your interest. Good luck to you!
Thanks, Kim! Any specific threads you think would be especially useful? I think I could probably spend hours happily wandering around reading everything. And I probably will - it's all good stuff to have as I'm working.

And thanks for the good wishes!
 

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I got something for you. I typed the whole thing, and then when I went to post it, it timed out, and deleted it. So Iam writing it now in word and then will copy it.

Check back later.
 

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Munson Earthquake

This story starts with my investigation of earthquake damages, in an area called Munson. This is an area north of Pensacola, north of Milton, along the Munson Highway. It is on the Blackwater River. And yes, an earthquake did occur on 10/24/1997, at 8:35 am, a magnitude of 4.9.


The subject property is just a property or two north of a park that now exists there. The damages I was inspecting included kitchen cabinets that fell from the walls, brick veneer that fell from the main house and many cracks on the interior walls of the two homes they owned.


An elderly couple owned this land / property. It had been in their family for many years before they were adults. The wife had a golf cart to cruise on it, picking pecans. I inspected the main house, and rode in her cart to inspect the second one which was closer to the river, but the river view was blocked by a wooden fence.


She said that her family once owned many acres on both sides of the water way years ago, including the mineral rights to the waterway.


Then one day a young man arrived with impressive looking documents and maps about a pirate ship that had sunk on that waterway, full of GOLD. He presented that he would fund the expedition, and possessed the knowledge to do so.


The couple listened and then finally got on board with the idea of finding sunken gold on their property, and got excited. They signed a bunch of legal papers. On the day the expedition was to occur, no one showed. They called and called the young man but he did not return the calls. They then learned that the young man now owned their property, including the mineral rights.


(I was going to purchase 90 acres on the Blackwater River in 2005, both sides of the river, with sandy beaches on both sides, where the second power lines cross the river. The man that was selling it had not seen this property in 60 years; he was ninety. I met him when I put a deposit down for the purchase. He owned the mineral rights, but would not include them in the sale to me. He stated “Daddy told me to never, ever sell mineral rights. Sell the land and retain the mineral rights forever.)


Later the young man had a wood fence installed, which now blocked the water front view of these two homes. And the couple tried and tried, but could not get the land back. The young whipper snapper had legally “Stole” the land. A swindler he was.


Now, if this were my parents, a murder may have occurred.


Also look at the history of Milton, originally called “Mill Town”. And learn what the term “Timber Money” means in this area. Learn why there is a “Scratch Ankle” festival. The Blackwater Pirates do exist today.


There is a restaurant in Fort Walton Beach, on Highway 98, called Staff’s. I ate lunch there a few months ago. They have a book that the owners put together / authored, for customers to read, which outlines the history of this area, and the pioneers that came here to find their fortune. Which they did.

Hope this sparks your imagination of this area.
 

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Contact Odyssey Marine Exploration out of Tampa.

They can probably tell you everything that you need to know about salvage and treasure operations.

If you want to know anything about fishing contact Joe Patti Seafood in Pensacola. And, btw, GREAT place to by seafood. Worth the visit just to see.
 

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Also Google and read about Dead Man's Island in Pensacola Bay. Heather Reed is the expert on this area, as she is heading up the restoration / preservation of Dead Man's. There are allot of wrecks that can be viewed in this area while snorkling.

And do not forget Fort Pickens, and the incarseration of the famous indian "Geronimo" that occurred there.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
They can probably tell you everything that you need to know about salvage and treasure operations.

If you want to know anything about fishing contact Joe Patti Seafood in Pensacola. And, btw, GREAT place to by seafood. Worth the visit just to see.
I've been looking at Joe Patti's website for inspiration for a while now. :yes: Especially since each of these books has a bunch of recipes. I can't just take someone else's recipe (that's just not right, and it violates their copyright) but I'm always looking for ideas I can develop into something I CAN use.

Thanks for the help!

Oregon Writer Girl
 
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