Old canoes surface, disappear again at Lake Waccamaw

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LAKE WACCAMAW, NC (WWAY) — All kinds of stuff can surface in lakes, but have you ever stumbled upon a piece of history?

A few canoes appeared earlier this week at Lake Waccamaw. Right now the origin of these boats is unknown, and they seem to have disappeared again. But James Chavis, who found one of the boats, swears that this is no accident; this is God’s work.

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Tuesday afternoon Chavis was out fishing with his son on Lake Waccamaw. Another couple found a canoe near Big Creek on the sandbar inside the state park, thinking that it might be a Native American artifact. They told Chavis and his son to see for themselves, because they are also Native American.

“My son said, ‘Daddy, the boat’s drifting away!’ I said, ‘Well go catch, get it, hold it up!'” Chavis said. “And when he walked over there from us he stepped up on a 21-foot hauled up, big canoe.”

Chavis thought long and hard about pulling the mysterious boat out, but decided not to, because he felt it was not fair to take what is not his. And now they have disappeared again.

Chavis was told that if the canoes are rediscovered, the state archaeologist will have to act quickly.

“You gotta put it in some kinda chemical for months and months at a time where it won’t shrink,” Chavis said. “See if you take it out of the water it’s gonna shrink and fade away.”

Chavis believes this is no coincidence, and that whatever happens is what God intended.

“Maybe we’ll find it,” Chavis said. “I don’t know, ’cause we looked for it yesterday, me and my son. We looked back for it yesterday for two and a half hours. It might be gone back to the deep.”

Fort Fisher Historic Site asks that if you do find these canoes again, do not try to pull them out or touch them. Contact the NC Underwater Archaeology Branch at Fort Fisher instead at (910) 251-7320.