In a mucky marsh, there was some partly buried wood that faintly resembled the outline of an 80-foot-long boat. There were no other clues, such as the copper-sheathed hull common on seafaring vessels of Lost Colony's time, and none of the three searchers had a scientific background or expertise to conclude much of anything.
Ray was convinced they'd found something. His son, Frank, wasn't as certain.
"There's no boarding ladder here, that's for sure," Frank Ray said. "You start with theory. This is a starting point. You're not convinced until you get proof."
Proof will have to wait for another venture into the swamp. The wildlife service refused to let the group probe the ground, dig for clues, or even take a wood sample for carbon dating. That will require a different permit.
"Anything seems plausible, but we can't be sure until we can do more than just walk in and look," Frank Ray said. Both Rays have split with the Lost Colony Center since their trip into the swamp and are pursuing research on their own.