TWO men have claimed to have found the fabled Mahogany Ship on the same day - in two different locations.
Ross Poulter, a Warrnambool chef, spoke to The Standard last week to detail his theory about the wreck's resting place.
Less than an hour after that interview took place, Rob Simpson, of Boronia, contacted The Standard suggesting that he too had found the lost ship.
Both men have used Google Earth to help them find their locations for the legendary wreck, which has been suggested to have been everything from a Portuguese caravel to a Chinese junk to a colonial-era English vessel.
Mr Poulter's research began with the "Stewart position" - a longitude and latitude reputedly found in a religious book many years ago that is well-known to previous Mahogany Ship hunters.
But while many people have been looking for the wreck in the dunes, to account for the shifting sands of time, Mr Poulter believes the wreck lies "two to two and a half miles east of Gormans Road ... and roughly a cricket pitch length out to sea".
"It's about three feet under the sea but the hull outline is as plain as day," Mr Poulter said.
Some wooden beams he found in the nearby dunes, just metres away from where he said the submerged ship's hull lies, were tested and turned out to be messmate or eucalypt, but Mr Poulter is undeterred.
Meanwhile, Mr Simpson, who featured in The Standard in February last year, has completed a document detailing his findings as well as the results from an RMIT University magnometer survey of the area where Mr Simpson believes the wreck lies.
His search has been based on the "Rollo measurements", which place the wreck "402 metres east of Gorman's Lane and 80 metres north from the sea at high tide".
The magnometer survey revealed a number of small and large iron deposits in the area, according to his report.
"My conclusion is that several categories of evidence have coalesced to show that this is probably the site of a buried shipwreck," said Mr Simpson, calling for further "investigation, protection and preservation" of the area.
Mahogany Ship Committee chairman Pat Connelly commended the two men on their thorough research and said the committee had helped both ship-hunters wherever possible.
"These people have put in a lot of effort... and I admire their tenacity," Mr Connelly said.
"We always co-operate with those people who have come forward with a new theory and technology (such as Google Earth) has opened up a whole new area."
He said he hoped that a survey of Mr Poulter's underwater location will be conducted during summer, while he was also hoping to have further discussions with Mr Simpson.