Known to anglers and divers as the $25 Wreck and Mason's Paddle Wheeler, the rotting hull has been a popular fishing and diving site since as far back as the 1950's, perhaps earlier.
By their very nature, shipwreck stories have a dark side that involves death and destruction, heroism and cowardice, the luck of the draw, and the struggle for survival. The loss of the Robert J. Walker was no exception.
This volume relates in detail the contemporaneous happenstances that involved the construction, survey work, and loss of the Robert J. Walker, as well as current events, and the ominous future that the wreck and NOAA portend for American citizens in a climate in which individual freedom suffers from severe and sinister erosion.
Some of this saga is good, some of it is bad, and some is flagrantly ugly. The story is worth relating in depth so that people will understand the past, present, and ominous future of shipwreck discovery and exploration.
This book includes a dip into the seamy side of NOAA, which has been pulling the wool over America's eyes for decades. NOAA laid claim to the wreck in order to draw attention to itself. Worse than that, the obvious extortion was a foot in the door to laying specious claims not only to nearby shipwrecks, but eventually to every wreck off the American eastern seaboard.
The Robert J. Walker was but a stepping stone toward NOAA's totalitarian rule: a wayward path of using and abusing those who died at sea as a means to achieve an autocratic end in which NOAA must reign supreme.
The good side of this story is the way in which recreational divers paved the way to the wreck's identification, and then were solely responsible for examining and mapping the site. These hard-working volunteers received no payment for their services. They did it for their love of exploring shipwrecks. Because of their dedication, the $25 Wreck alias Mason's Paddle Wheeler alias Robert J. Walker has risen from a lowly hulk at the bottom of the sea to a place of status in human consciousness.