Excerpts: …“We were mystified by this wreck,” says Robert Schwemmer, NOAA’s West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Coordinator. It wasn’t in their database of reported or known wrecks. The question haunted Schwemmer and James Delgado, NOAA’s director of maritime heritage. What was this shipwreck? What was its story?
…Schwemmer had hours of footage of the mystery tug, taken by several different cameras on ROVs. If this was the Conestoga, there should be a gun somewhere on the ship, and Schwemmer started searching through the footage, seeing if he could catch a glimpse of a gun. Finally, he saw a ghostly image that “for a second, looked like the base of a gun,” he says. He went frame by frame through the footage. There was the base. There was the gun.
He called Delgado, who was getting ready for bed, and told him to get on the computer. Schwemmer sent over a still of what he had found, and Delgado said what he was thinking: “Oh my god, Bob, we have the USS Conestoga.”