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These photos were developed by Kim Fisher from his camera and gifted to Mr. Harvey Bouton years ago. Mr. Bouton then gifted the photos back to Mel Fisher's Treasures for the archives in October 2014. After viewing the photos, Kim Fisher recalled the day they were taken.
On the day these photos were taken, Don Jonas went in for his turn to dive. He acquired a hit on his metal detector but ran out of bottom time before he was able to uncover what was buried.
It was then Kim Fisher's turn to go in, and Don described to him where the hit was located. Kim dove in and uncovered 2 astrolabe (one pictured), a wooden cross staff used for navigation a gold disc and a gold bar. These items were in the top of the pilot's chest. Significant finds like this need to be excavated very carefully, photographing each item before removing it from the chest so it is very time consuming. Kim's bottom time was up before he could finish uncovering all of the treasure!
Kim surfaced and a third diver took his turn where the middle and bottom layers of the Pilot's chest were filled with bags of silver coins! You could see the imprint of the burlap bags on the encrustation. His dive lasted 45 minutes until he too ran out of bottom time.
It was then Don Jonas' turn as he had spent enough time on the surface for it to be safe for him to dive again. There were just a few more bags of coins to bring to the surface at this point, which he did.
Once on the deck of the salvage vessel as everyone was admiring the incredible find the edge of one of the 'bags' holding the silver coins simply disintegrated and handfuls of gold chain, gold flakes, gold nuggets and even two gold coins appeared beneath the silver coins.
It was entirely unexpected and a spectacular surprise to find such a significant amount of gold chain among the bags of silver pieces of eight. That is the excitement of treasure hunting, the unknown.
You never know what you might find in the next hole and even when you have found something incredible, there could be even more excitement waiting!
For Immediate Release
WIN A COIN FROM THE ATOCHA DURING THE MEL FISHER TREASURE DIG
ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28
International Sand Art Competition Offers Chance to Win Part of Mel Fisher's Bounty to the Public
KEY WEST, November 10, 2014 - From November 26 - 29, six internationally renowned sand sculptors will be competing in the inaugural International Sand Art Competition in Key West. Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria resort, is hosting the 2014 International Sand Art Competition. This event is free and open to the public featuring a live head-to-head competition among some of the most decorated sand sculptors in the business.
On Friday, November 28th, the Mel Fisher Treasure Dig will take center stage on the grounds of the Casa Marina during the International Sand Art Competition starting at 2 p.m. Three lucky people will dig into a specially designed sand sculpture in hopes to find a treasure befitting for the greatest of all treasure hunters, Mel Fisher. Hidden within the sculpture will be many prizes, with the most sought after treasure being a coin from Mel Fisher's bounty from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, valued at $1,000.
For your chance to be one of the lucky contestants for the Mel Fisher Treasure Dig, you must purchase a special t-shirt for $25, which serves as your ticket to the event. The shirts will be available for purchase starting on Tuesday, November 25 until the event starts on Friday, November 28th at 2 p.m. on the grounds of the Casa Marina during the International Sand Art Competition. You must be present, with your shirt on at 2 p.m. on Friday, November 28th for your chance to be inside the arena, where the dig takes place. Three lucky contestants in attendance (with their shirts on) will be chosen at random to participate in the treasure dig to find out if "Today's the day!" for them.
Contestants must be 14 years or older, with a parent signature required for participants under the age of 17. The actual coin will not be hidden in the sculpture, a replica will be hidden that will be exchanged with winner upon retrieval. Other prizes will also be inside the sculpture including gift certificates for a dinner for two at Sun Sun Restaurant at the Casa Marina, a Jet Ski tour by Barefoot Billy's around Key West, a sunset sail for two and more.
For official rules, additional details and updates on the Mel Fisher Treasure Dig, as well as a calendar of events for the 2014 International Sand Art Competition, visit www.sandartkeywest.com or follow International Sand Art Competition on Facebook. The 2014 International Sand Art Competition is sponsored in part by the Monroe County Tourism Development Council.
About Mel Fisher
Mel Fisher did what many have not- he realized his dream during his lifetime Every day he insisted, "Today's theDay"! His mantra continues to inspire the search for the rest of the treasure from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and the Santa Margarita, the Spanish galleons that sank during a hurricane on September 6, 1622, near Key West, Florida.
Mel Fisher suffered many personal losses to keep his dream alive during his 16-year search and endured over 100 court battles, which ended in victory in the US Supreme Court. The riches Mel Fisher and his team had worked so hard for all of those years were finally theirs. The $450 million dollar treasurecache or "Atocha Mother Lode" would be found on that momentous day, July 20, 1985. Over 40 tons of silver and gold were located including over 100,000 Spanish silver coins known as "Pieces of Eight", gold coins, Columbian emeralds, silver and gold artifacts and over 1,000 silver bars.
The immensity of the Atocha's treasure is staggering. What was only a dream instantly became an undeniable reality. Today, the Fisher family and crew continue to search for the remaining hundreds of millions in treasure left to find on the Atocha and Margarita wreck sites. They continue Mel Fisher's legacy by believing that, Today's the Day!
Captain Papo and the crew of the Dare returned from a trip to the Atocha site with what conservators and archaeologists believe is a wooden bed post from the Atocha. It is the first one ever recovered from the Atocha wreck site. The post was found deep in the mud where it was protected from the oxygenated water and high-energy environment that otherwise would have caused it to erode.
While it is in great condition, because it was protected in the deep mud, it will still take over a year to conserve. Wood is one of the most difficult things to conserve from a shipwreck since it is porous and organic. It is currently being stored in a custom built conservation tank with salt water. The salt water solution will gradually decrease in salinity until all of the salt has been slowly extracted from the wood. Conservator John Corcoran will also meticulously separate the concretion with dental picks, which is a very tedious undertaking.
The wooden post is an intriguing find that has caused a lot of buzz at headquarters and discussion about its origin, who did it belong to? It would certainly have been a wealthy person - a member of the clergy, nobility or even the Captain of the ship himself. This person had an expensive hard wood bed made for them in the new world in either Cuba or South America and had it shipped back to them in Spain. There is no wear on the bottom of the post, it is still rounded and not flattened or scratched at all. This indicates it was brand new.
Since the wooden post was found in the mud, near the main pile area of the wreck site, it's likely that it was in the cargo hold which indicates there could be a lot more to find in the deep mud. Searching for artifacts in the deep mud is time consuming but items that are found are typically in great condition. Perhaps a chest of coins, or a bronze cannon will be the next artifact to emerge from the depths of the hard-packed mud. We are excited for the Dare and Magruder crews to head back out as soon as the weather allows; come dive with us and uncover your own piece of history.
October is starting off with perfect weather for treasure hunting. The wind forecast for the weekend is under 10 mph and both boats are on their way out to the Atocha site. Come join us for some fun, romance and adventure while treasure hunting on the wreck site of the Atocha.
Every time divers jump in the water they could uncover a chest of coins, cannon or gold bar and that diver could be you. Call to reserve your spot now, there is no time like the present.
If you are unable to join us take a look back at some of the underwater video footage taken onboard the Dare and Dolores by visiting our Video Library
Taffi Fisher, daughter of Mel Fisher will be making a presentation at the North County Library in Sebastian.
October 15, 2014 - 7PM
North County Library
1001 Sebastian Blvd. 32958
Please join us if you are in the area!
After ducking into the Marquesas for a windy day last week, we were able to sneak in one more day of Emerald Sifting before heading back to port and found two more emeralds! Atocha Emeralds come in a variety of colors and sizes and we found a little of everything this trip. Congratulations again to the crew and our treasure finding members.
With this Emerald City trip coming to a successful conclusion, the JB Magruder and crew are now, focused back on the Northern end of the trail. The crew is underway with high hopes of finding the ever elusive stern castle treasure!
The Dare and her crew had a productive week by finding a silver coin and many ballast stones in the deep mud just to the northwest of the Atocha Main Pile area. Recovering silver from the deep mud is very encouraging for two reasons. The first is that it gives us an indication that there probably is more in this area. The second is that these artifacts will generally be in very good condition due to the anaerobic environment the mud provides.
The EM coil has just returned with its tune-ups and modifications complete and our VP & Director of Operations, Gary Randolph and the crew of the Dare are re-attaching it to Dolores today. They will be picking up where they left off in surveying these deep mud areas where we believe the rest of the tens of thousands of silver coins and hundreds of silver bars are!
Emerald City has lived up to its name again! Groups of our adventurous partners have worked right alongside the crew of the JB Magruder and found 8 emeralds so far. Needless to say, it has been a very exciting week listening for the crackle of the radio every time another one is found!
Today there are 8 members out on the site and they just called in to report finding another emerald! We will be anxiously awaiting more calls over the radio as the number hopefully continues to climb.
During the last 2 weeks the EM coils on Dolores have been with the engineering design team in order to complete vital updates. During this time the Dare has been searching just North West of the main pile, above the northern most emerald find. This is the area where we found a silver plate two years ago and just now found a silver coin!
Dolores and the EM are scheduled to head back out with the Dare after this trip to continue survey work on the Atocha site. After Emerald City, the Magruder will resume excavating on the Northern end of the trail. With all of this action happening on different areas of the wreck site it is only a matter of time before we locate the next major find, and that's something we can't wait to share with you! If you'd like to schedule a trip to the wreck site be sure to give us a call so we can reserve your spot on the calendar.
The full ScubaNation show on FOX Sports Sun Sports featuring Mel Fisher's Treasures, Emerald City, our conservation laboratory and Mel Fisher Days is now available (see below). Make sure you watch it until the end, they have some of the most entertaining credits and bloopers we've seen (preview: a thank you to the Captain of the Atocha for NOT missing that storm!).
Today's the Day!
Our members spent six days sifting through material in search of Atocha Emeralds while enjoying the biggest Mel Fisher Days celebration to date. A total of 18 emeralds were recovered! The emeralds were of varying sizes and shades of green including this beautiful recovery.
Congratulations to everyone who personally found emeralds, you are now true treasure finders!
Today's the Day!
Captain Andy just brought in hundreds of artifacts recovered from the Atocha wreck site. He and his crew excavated 53 holes during their weekend trip and 51 of those had shipwreck material in them which is unprecedented in recent times.
Among other artifacts they recovered a 9 inch silver plate, 2 silver coins and a copper 'base' about 6 inches wide which has a stamp on the bottom. This piece could possibly be a candlestick base, though we will know more after conservation is complete.
They also uncovered 250 pottery sherds including several glazed pieces, some pottery necks, one very large piece of pottery (approximately 3 lbs) which included both the shoulder and neck of the jar. This quantity and size of pottery is very exciting. In addition to all of this they found over a dozen encrusted objects, several of which appear to be spikes from the ship and the others we will learn more about during the conservation process. Great work Captain and crew!
The Dare will head to the Atocha site tomorrow to begin surveying the deep mud area with Dolores and the EM coil. With the help of the EM coil reading deeper into the sand and mud, we hope to begin finding heavier items such as chests of coins, silver bars and cannon.
Things are heating up.
Come join us in the fun, romance and adventure!
Mel Fisher Days Events Coming Up in July
Each year a celebration is held to commemorate Mel Fisher's famous 16 year search for the Spanish galleon Atocha which led to a $450 million dollar treasure discovery in the waters just off Key West. Events are scheduled from July 10-13 in Key West. Attendees can find more information and register for all events at www.MelFisherDays.com
For a complete schedule of events and to register for all events visit www.melfisherdays.com
Thursday July 10th
Dock Party at Schooner Wharf Bar:
Mel Fisher's 100' salvage vessel JB Magruder will be docked at the Historic Seaport for the first time since the 1980s. Meet the current crew and alumni while enjoying great lunch specials.
Pirate Con Pub Crawl and Ball:
The Pub Crawl includes 5 drinks and a limited run 2014 Mel Fisher Days t-shirt. There will be prizes at the end for best costume at the Pirate Ball at the Rum Barrel.
Friday July 11th
Lab tours of Mel Fisher's Private Conservation Lab:
VIP behind the scenes tour. See world class archaeology and conservation at work. The Fisher's lab is typically not open to the public. Space is limited.
Amazing Mel Fisher Treasure Hunt:
Participants organize a team of 2-4 people for a land based hunt around Key West . The grand prize is $5000 in US silver dollars!
Saturday July 12th
Sizzlin Street Fair:
Rock with the Spam All-stars, bid on over $20,000 in silent auction items, and try your luck at the dunk tank.
Follow your Dreams at the Tropic Cinema:
For the first time the Fisher family offers a public screening of videos from Mel Fisher's early treasure hunting expeditions. Before the Encore show the Mel Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award willbe presented to the family of 'Sir' Bert Kilbride.
Sunday July 13
Booty Bingo and Brunch:
Charlie Mac's hosts a hilarious rendition of everyone's favorite game. Win treasure and enjoy a great brunch buffet.
Midnight Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament:
Outlast the others, top 4 places win authentic treasure. Sit and go cash games too. Seating is very limited advanced registration is strongly suggested.
Advanced registration is strongly encouraged.
Participants should visit www.melfisherdays.com for more information and to register for all events.
Today's the Day!
Wow what a week! It was so good seeing all of you who attended division week this year.
Congratulations to all of our Division Week winners including Michael Piscotty and Ester Knapicius who took home a grade one Atocha coin, valued at $2,800 for their "A Sea Horse Named Margarita" costume and our Pin the Stern Castle on the trail contest winners Diane & Arthur Fraley! The prize of a ¼ share contract has just been added to their account and it couldn't have happened at a better time.
It looks like the EM pulse induction coil that is now mounted on Dolores is collecting high quality data. In the image below you can see what a test silver bar looks like when Dolores and the EM coil pass over it. Keep in mind our traditional underwater hand-held metal detectors have only been capable of reading a silver bar at a maximum of 24 inches through sand or mud. A magnetometer could read deeper but would only read iron. This new EM coil will not only allow us to pinpoint both ferrous (iron) and non-ferrous (silver, gold or bronze) metals but will be able to see them much deeper through the sand or mud
This graph shows the EM coil results for locating a test silver bar at approximately 1.5 feet from coil to bar, note the intensity and number of rings surrounding the test silver bar. The exciting news is that Gary Randolph, VP and Director of Operations, tells us they could easily see the test silver bar at 5 feet. He now believes the range of the EM is better than they had expected and should allow us to see a silver bar at 6 feet from coil to bar.
The mud where we believe the rest of the silver bars, chest of coins and bronze cannons are hiding is thought to be no more than 6 feet deep.
The excitement is contagious, we cannot wait to see what Dolores and the EM uncover first.
Today's the Day!
The Dare crew is preparing the boat for survey mode work with Dolores. Next week, after some testing of her new USBL tracking system, she will be heading out to the Atocha site to conduct some intensive survey work on the mud trail just northwest of the Atocha main pile area. Our team is fired up in anticipation of what she will find.
Remember, according to the manifest there is still a fortune in treasure that remains to be found on both the Atocha and Santa Margarita wreck sites.
Once we start recovering large quantities of treasure, those who were already members will be grandfathered in at their current rate so make sure you are a current member before the big finds are made.
There is a lot of excitement on the horizon and we encourage you to experience the fun, romance and adventure of treasure hunting for yourself. It's an amazing feeling to be a part of history in the making, join us.
Today's the Day!
Congratulations to Robert Medina of Camillus, New York.
He is the winner of our Duval Store location's 10th Anniversary Promotion
Here's to 10 more treasure years!
This is a picture sent to us by Atocha Dive Adventure participant Steve Santen. This is him actually FINDING an Atocha coin while diving with Mel Fisher's Treasures . The second is a picture of the same coin in our public access database after conservation www.melfisherartifacts.com
Steve is a treasure finder. He went home with an authentic Atocha coin, and you can too!
Spots are filling up rapidly for 2014, another space was just taken so there is only one spot left in August. Non-diving companions are encouraged to come enjoy Key West with you!
Call us to find out remaining available dates or for more details.
The Dare is back out on the Santa Margarita site now just north of the 2008 $1 million dollar Gold Chalice recovery. Captain Papo and his crew are focused on uncovering more gold in this area.
The JB Magruder crew will be completing the wiring in their wheel house renovations this week and will be ready to get back out to the Atocha wreck site. The crew is as excited as we are; make sure you ask Captain Andy for a tour the next time you are on the Magruder!
We have one member scheduled to dive
this Saturday and are looking for more to join,
anybody interested in making history?
Even though the rest of the country seems to be buried in snow, Key West continues to have favorable weather for treasure hunting! This weekend looks beautiful and we plan to run trips to the Margarita site to dive alongside the Dare crew as they continue working an area west of the primary scatter area. If you are free, give our Member Relations department a call to get scheduled.
The dive crew reports finding glazed earthen ware, pieces of pottery and a fully intact olive jar neck. They have also been finding many encrusted objects including what appears to be a part of a dagger or sword. As Papo finishes up the area east of the gold chalice he is setting his sights to the north, above the chalice and along a sand bar.
Tomorrow night Mel Fisher's Treasures will be featured as part of a prime time special show on CNBC. Tune in or set your DVR for Wednesday, February 5th at 9:30 PM EST (in most areas) for Secret Lives of the Super Rich, New Episode: Treasure Hunting and Inside a Ferrari Vault. Check your local listing for channel number and exact time. Follow one of our members as he assists the crew of the JB Magruder with the search for the remaining fortune in treasure that lies on the ocean floor. Click the link below to watch a teaser for the show and remember you can be a part of history too. Give us a call and we'll tell you how to join us for the adventure of a lifetime.
Our treasure hunting operations run all year long in Key West. We don't get snow but we do get high winds associated with cold fronts during the winter months. We make as many trips as possible during this time of the year and the good news is the Dare will be able to get out to the Santa Margarita site for a few days of good weather this week!
Kim and Lee Fisher sat down with VP-Director of Operations, Gary Randolph, and our two boat Captains Jose 'Papo' Garcia and Andy Matroci to pour over the charts to decide which part of the wreck sites they will scour next.
Captain Papo and the crew of the Dare will head to the Santa Margarita wreck site to search an area Kim Fisher has always wanted to explore. There is a ledge that leads into a sand bar on the north-west end of the trail where the bed rock also rises; Kim believes this combination may have acted as a 'treasure trap'. On the chart below, the red line indicates the beginning of the sand bar.
There is also a silver coin scatter pattern that points in this direction. The purple dots on the chart above represent silver coins. The solid green line represents the 'main scatter trail'.
In records from the Spaniards' 1620's salvage efforts it is detailed that there were two distinct parts of the Margarita wreckage, one to the east and one to the west. This trip the Dare will be exploring toward the west.
If you would like to dive with the crew this week give us a call as many of you know, it is the adventure of a lifetime. There is no telling what they might uncover this trip and we can't wait to see what they bring up.
JOIN US at our Sebastian, Florida Museum and Gift shop for an Open House. Sunday December 15 from 12PM- 5PM enjoy free museum admission. Present a copy of this coupon and receive a 10% discount on select items in honor of this special occasion. See you there!
1322 US 1 Sebastian, FL 32958
Click here to visit the Sebastian Musuem webpage.
In 1984 Mel, along with his loyal crew and members recovered less than 250 artifacts from the Atocha shipwreck trail. It was a decidedly slow year of returns for those funding the operation. Members who were not discouraged and continued to support the hunt were handsomely rewarded the very next summer when the Motherlode of the Atocha was discovered. The haul of over 130,000 artifacts was valued at over $400,000,000. The fortune in silver, gold and emeralds made international headlines.
Similarly while recoveries were lean early this year, the Atocha and Margarita wreck sites have recently ramped up. Captain Andy and his crew have found several hundred artifacts on the Atocha site and Captain Papo and the Dare crew have just started finding silver coins on the Santa Margarita site. Both boats are heading out to sea and there is no telling what they will bring up next. It feels like deja vu of 1984.
Members Rick and Heidi made a trip to the Atocha site to help Captain Andy and his crew hunt for the remaining fortune in treasure that remains to be found. They had such a great experience they took the time to write about it.
From left to right: Crew Member Tim, Rick, Dive Master Chris, Heidi & Captain Andy
Sean, Shawn & Jordan,
All we can say is; That was the day!
We dove with Capt Andy and his crew "Tim, Bill, Jason" last Friday and we were lucky to find so many artifacts on the Atocha site, it was a thrill of a life time for Heidi and I, finding all that stuff and bringing it to the surface.
I'm not sure how other investors felt, but it's a feeling of "Holly Sh_t" we are holding artifacts from the Atocha while ascending to surface.
While on the bottom in the hole, it's hard to describe the feeling, it's like you had to pick things up as fast as you can, but then it hits you! Wait these things have been here for over 400 years, they're not going anywhere.......Slow down and enjoy the hunt! The area that Capt Andy is working gave us multiple artifacts, 15 musket balls, 1 EO and an unused spike with two musket balls incrusted on the spike head. After the dive we spoke with Capt Andy and the crew about our finds and the incredible experience we had, the crew made us feel like (TF's) Treasure Finders and were helpful in explaining what we found.
What an incredible experience! That was the day!
Many thanks to Capt Andy and his crew and the investor relations guys "Shawn & Jordan" for making this happen.
Rick & Heidi (The fun Divers!)
Captain Andy and Captain Papo, along with their crews, are eager to get back to work.
Both crews had an exciting trip last week when they found multiple artifacts on both the Atocha and Margarita wreck sites. Captain Papo found ten coins in four days!
The virgin area that Andy is working on the Atocha site produced hundreds of musket balls, EOs (encrusted objects), spikes, pottery, ballast stones and wood from the ship. We spoke with Andy about the incredible experience and he said they need to go back to the same hole because they ran out of time before they finished it! He also said that the berm on the east side of the hole was loaded with metal detector hits so he knows which way to move the boat once they finish that hole.
Mel Fisher Members don't miss out! Make sure your contracts are current and give us a call to come help search for the fortune in treasure that remains to be found.
Check out the interview with Captain Andy below. He explains how the discovery felt and what he expects to find next.
Today's the day!
Captain Andy and the crew of the JB Magruder just returned from a very successful trip to the Atocha site. Divers excavated 210 musket balls, 12 iron spikes, and 8 split shots. Mel always said, 'Lead leads to gold!" They also uncovered numerous pieces of pottery and several encrusted objects; for two days straight the crew found treasure in every hole they searched! What adds to the excitement is the fact that they are finding all this treasure in virgin territory. Mel Fisher members, give us a call to come help search for the fortune in treasure that remains to be found.
Watch the video and see history being made as the artifacts are uncovered. Congratulations to the Captain Andy and crew. Today's the day!
Captain Papo and the Dare crew are STILL finding more coins on the Margarita site! Here he is with some of the silver coins and a pewter bottle cap from the 1600s. He is also reporting there are lots of large ballast stones and EOs.
He is excited about the area they are in and encourages Mel Fisher Members to come dive and join in the excitement!
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Mo Rocca visited Mel Fisher's Treasures in 2006. They went scuba diving on the Atocha with some friends, and hilarious antics ensued. Share the video if it makes you laugh!
Captain Papo just radioed from the Margarita site with word of continued success. He reported finding 5 more silver coins and very large ballast stones. We hope to find other heavy artifacts, such as a chest of coins, nearby!
The crew also recovered an olive jar neck and multiple EOs. We wish the crew continued success; it is exciting to think about what they will bring up next. This is history in the making.
The Lost Merchant search area is not protected by a barrier reef like the Atocha and Margarita shipwreck sites. As a result, it is only possible to operate our search efforts there during the calm summer months. Due to turbulent conditions of late off the northern coast of Florida, the Dare has returned to Key West. Although we did not find our primary target this season, we have eliminated about 50% of the search area which exponentially increases our chances of finding the Lost Merchant when we return next spring.
As we move into October, we will focus our resources on the search for the remaining fortune in treasure to be found on the Atocha and her sister-ship, the Santa Margarita.
On the Atocha, this would include approximately 12 tons of silver bars, tens of thousands of silver coins, 10 bronze cannon from her gun-deck, untold riches in smuggled goods and the unregistered treasure of the wealthiest passengers who would have been quartered in the Sterncastle.
Let's not forget the Santa Margarita. There are actually tens of thousands of coins still to be found on her wreck site as well, along with the balance of treasure from her manifest.
The JB Magruder will continue the search on the Atocha wreck site while the Dare will be working the Margarita. Meanwhile, onshore, Dolores will be outfitted with a high accuracy USBL tracking system for pinpoint positioning capability during our upcoming surveys.
The weather is still beautiful in Key West. Keep in mind you are welcome to dive with us as many times, and as often, as you'd like throughout the entire year. Bring the family, or your business partner! A fall getaway to help search for a fortune in shipwreck treasure is the perfect remedy for beating the 'summer's gone' blues. Give us a call.
Key West, FL: September 24, 2013 - The Fisher family presented a check to Wesley House Family Services in the amount of $20,000 as a result of this year's Mel Fisher Days' events. The funds will be used as general funds to support local programs and services.
Wesley House Family Services provide services to children and families throughout the Florida Keys. Some of these services include Foster and Adoptive Care, Independent Life Skills & Training, Prevention and Intervention Services, Community Based Care, Healthy Families Monroe, and Inez Martin Child Development Center. The Wesley House mission is to promote and enhance the safety, well-being and development of children by educating, supporting and meeting the needs of families. The goal of Wesley House is helping our community one family at a time.
Each year a celebration is held in honor of Mel Fisher's discovery of the Motherlode of the Atocha. Mel Fisher Days 2013 celebrated the 28th Anniversary and July 11- July 14 was proclaimed Mel Fisher Days by Mayor Craig Cates in Key West, Florida. 100% of all net proceeds from these events were donated to Wesley House Family Services, Inc. The Fisher family is looking forward to another successful Mel Fisher Days' celebration July 10-13, 2014.
Mel Fisher's legacy lives on through his family, crew and everyone he inspired to never give up. They continue the hunt for the elusive Sterncastle of the Atocha by believing that Today's the Day!
During the past week the crew of the Dare continued surveying in the Lost Merchant search box while the Magruder was north of the main pile on the Atocha trail, sifting for emeralds.
Moving into September we're now reaching the peak of hurricane season and it's no surprise that the seas have been steadily building as the Atlantic storm activity increases. Even though the current storm systems are no threat to the east coast the steady easterly winds are building large swells that make survey operations on the Lost Merchant Site very difficult.
Despite the challenging conditions, the crew pushed through the 3-4 foot seas covering nearly 30 square nautical miles of seafloor and acquiring a very nice side scan sonar target. As you can see in the image below, the bright yellow hard target really stands out against the normally soft sandy/muddy seabed. The target area was approximately 65'x 70' and appeared to be slightly buried, needless to say this created quite a bit of excitement with the crew.
The following day the crew made a pass over the target with the magnetometer which would indicate the presence of iron shipwreck material such as cannons, anchors and cannonballs verifying the presence of a shipwreck. The magnetometer track can be seen as a green line in the image below.
Emeralds Found by Member Barbara Seaman
Unfortunately the mag didn't even twitch telling the crew that this was a natural geological formation of some sort and not a shipwreck site so the team continued on with their survey efforts.
During the next few days the seas built to 4'-6' actually tossing the crew out of their chairs so they had to head back to port until the large Atlantic swells subside. Back on the Atocha site the crew on the Magruder also dealt with some questionable weather but were able to push through and were successful in finding 9 emeralds, the largest one by Member Terry McKenna and her friend!
Congrats to all the adventurers that came down to participate, it paid off.
Remember what Mel used to say - "If it were easy everybody would be doing it."
After taking the emerald dredging equipment off of the Magruder, Captain Andy and the crew are back underway. They are headed back to the area that they found the three cannon balls and iron hinge, suspected to be from a cannon hatch cover.
Come join us in the fun, romance and adventure of treasure hunting!
Captain Andy and the crew of the JB Magruder have been relentlessly working the Atocha trail. Fortunately, we have had fair weather this season, which has allowed them to remain on site for the majority of the summer. We are glad many of you have been able to take advantage of this and joined us in the hunt for the elusive Sterncastle. By spending a day out on the site you get to experience the fun, romance and adventure of treasure hunting for yourselves.
One of our newest members, John Long, who is a Key West local made his first trip to the site with me over the weekend.
In the photo I am showing John what to look for while diving the Atocha trail. Now he knows as many of you do, what we mean when we say the feeling is indescribable! While we did not find gold, we did find a really interesting artifact. We believe that it may be a hinge to the hatch of a cannon door.
You may recall we also found 3 cannon balls in this area earlier in the summer; perhaps the still missing bronze cannons are next! These are all promising indications of the trail that will hopefully lead us to the Sterncastle's riches. We cannot wait to see what is uncovered next. Join us and be a part of history.
Over the weekend, I was able to spend more time on the Dare as they continued the Lost Merchant survey. The crew has been working extremely hard putting in 15 - 18 hour days to maximize the search effort. They are surveying about six and a half square nautical miles a day which is quite an accomplishment.
I had forgotten what hard work it is. Just catching some sleep after working 15 - 18 hours a day is a challenge. Unlike the Atocha and Margarita site, this area does not have a barrier reef so the boat is continuously rocking and rolling and the waves are slapping noisily against the hull. One of the best things about life on the Dare is that Papo, her captain, among his many talents is an excellent chef. Next time you see those guys be sure to give them a pat on the back.
Early this week, the Dare had to return to port for one day due to adverse weather. At that point, I headed back to headquarters in Key West while they headed back out to continue surveying.
While the survey is being conducted, we will not be streaming live since there is not much to see. Once we have identified a viable target we will pause the survey to check the target with Dolores. We will let you known when we are going to "dive" so you can tune in to watch the action live as it happens.
As the survey continues, I'll be anxiously awaiting news from the Dare crew along with you. It's exciting to know that we could get the call at any moment saying that they have a side scan or mag hit that is off the charts!
Back in Key West I met with Andy, the captain of the Magruder. He and his crew left this morning to excavate an area on the Atocha trail that has produced numerous silver coins in the past. This would be a good week to find a chest or two of pieces of eight. Andy was so enthusiastic about this spot that I think I will head out on the Huntress and spend a day or two looking for piles of silver coins.
I love the excitement of the hunt, but finding treasure has me hooked!
Last week I was thrilled to join the crew of the Dare and Dolores' operation team on the search for the Lost Merchant.
We checked the last high probability targets in our first survey area. The side-scan sonar footprint of the target that I was most excited about, shared many of the same characteristics that we would expect to see from the Lost Merchant. Unfortunately, this target turned out to be what we believe is a number of sink holes created by a fresh water spring, part of the Florida aquifer. It was quite unusual, and not our wreck site. I was disappointed because I truly believed I was going to be able to tell you that we found her. It reminded me of what my dad used to say, "If it was easy everybody would be doing it."
We moved on to check the next target where we eliminated another area from our search. We utilized Dolores' magnetometer, and there were small, isolated magnetometer hits, but they did not match the pattern we are looking for and we are confident it is not our wreck site. We also used Dolores' high resolution side scan sonar to check the area around these mag targets and didn't see anything. The most useful thing aside from finding the wreck is to find out where it is not. It narrows the hunt and gets us closer to our goal.
Another side-scan target turned out to be a very dense shelly area. The survey area is mostly sandy bottom with areas of mud interspersed. The target we “dove” on with Dolores was a large area where the bottom was covered with shells and sand dollars. Those of you watching the live stream may have noticed it on the video. I was watching the forward looking sonar and spotted the difference in the signal return before it was visible on the video camera. I recognized the density change of the sea floor on the forward looking sonar thinking it could be a rocky or shelly area as we saw on the initial side-scan sonar target image. A few seconds later my prediction was proven true as we flew directly over it with the video camera.
The last target we checked is one we intend to go back to and look at again because we did not positively locate a target, only sand. While Dolores was descending to the depth necessary to analyze the target, we experienced trouble with the inertial navigation system. It seemed to indicate Dolores was drifting when, in fact, she was stationary. When Dolores surfaced, she was approximately 100 yards from the Dare which let us know that we indeed experienced some navigational drift during our decent.
During deployment, Dolores established a very accurate GPS fix while on the surface. She also uses her DVL (doppler velocity logger), which is part of her inertial navigation system, to lock on to the sea floor and establish and hold her position once she submerges and loses the GPS satellite lock. During decent, the DVL can experience interruptions in bottom lock due to turbidity in the water column or thermoclines which can induce the “drift” we saw in the navigation. This is a common issue and is corrected in most cases by returning to the surface, re-acquiring a good GPS fix and DVL fix and descending again. Once you get close to the bottom without drift you're good to go. It was getting too late in the day to do another dive and the weather started getting very rough, so we had to recover Dolores and start heading for shore. We intend to return to this target area and positively locate this target during our next trip. If we don’t find the Lost Merchant on our last high probability target, the next step is to continue running more survey lines within our survey area search box. This is a normal part of the process in looking for a new wreck. The ocean is vast, and we create our search areas based on statistical probability in accordance with the historical records we have about the ship’s sinking.
We now have Dolores working very well in hybrid mode attached to the ship with its fiber optic tether, but we still have some work to do to for full autonomous mode where we release her untethered. Since we've moved through our high probability targets quickly, we've decided to continue running search lines with our towed side scan and magnetometer systems while continuing to work on Dolores autonomous mode systems and will use Dolores to dive and identify any good targets as they are found. This will allow us to be as efficient as possible and cover as much ground as possible over the next few months.
The season is not over, and I am confident we will find the Lost Merchant. Let me tell you from experience, you will never forget the feeling when we find The Lost Merchant, and we can say,
“Today’s the Day!”
Kim Fisher, CEO
Captain Danny Porter and the crew of the Sea Reaper had an eventful trip last week. They missed the Mel Fisher Days' Celebrations but it paid off when they found a timber from the Santa Margarita to the far north end of the trail.
This is a very significant find for the Sea Reaper on the Margarita trail as it is north of the northern most Margarita anchor. Perhaps part of the ship continued in the storm and an anchor was thrown in an attempt to stop it. Captain Andy Matroci and the JB Magruder ended up finding 14 emeralds last week and are already back out on the Atocha Stern Castle trail digging today. Last time they were on site digging the Magruder found silver coins, iron spikes and other encrusted objects. More material letting them know that they are on the right trail!
Here are a few photos.... More to come! Carnival on Duval was a great sucess, thanks to everyone who came out to support The Wesley House!
Congratulations to Pat Clyne our "Mel Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award Winner". Also congratulations to Jean Thornton our Charity Cookoff winner.
Together we raised a bunch of money for Wesley House Family Services! Congratulations to all our contest winners.
Today's the Day we kick off Mel Fisher Days! For those investors in town, come meet us tonight at the kickoff party at Schooner's Wharf. Festivities continue all weekend with 100% of the net proceeds going to Wesley House Family Services.Click here to see Mel Fisher Days schedule of events.
The J. B. Magruder and crew are on Emerald City right now. The weather held us off the Atocha site for a couple days but they were able to go out Monday and started finding emeraldson Tuesday.Investor Elise Filbrandt found her first piece of treasure during Tuesday's hunt. With the help of some investors they have found 10 EMERALDS and 2 pottery sherds in the last few days!
Exciting times are ahead!
Today, Captain Papo and the crew of the Dare headed north to resume their quest for the Lost Merchant.
As you can imagine the excitement around the office is palpable!
After discovering a number of concentrated scatter patterns in the 430 magnetometer targets we acquired last summer, the office staff and crew are very optimistic that with the help of Dolores, we will locate and positively identify our wreck.
Gary Randolph, VP of Operations, has created a list of specific targets to be systematically identified.
Dolores will be deployed in ROV mode (tethered by fiber optic umbilical) to capture live video images of the targets.
Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. Join us today!
Key West resident and Member of Mel Fisher Expeditions, Jean Thornton, talks with Jenna about the impact Mel Fisher had on her life. She went with Mel on multiple diving trips and after having much success on those trips she earned the nickname, "Golden Girl."
We are excited to share footage of our ground breaking Hybrid Autonomous Under Water Vehicle (HAUV) Dolores. Listen as Director of Operations, Gary Randolph, explains Dolores' capabilities and how she will launch Mel Fisher's Expeditions into the future and into recovering shipwrecks in deeper waters.
Next week Dolores is scheduled to be mobilized on the Dare. A number of issues identified during her first sea trial, including her buoyancy compensation, have been corrected and she is now firing on all cylinders.
She will first head into open water to fine-tune the navigation system settings and to commission her high resolution side scan sonar and magnetometer systems. Upon completion, we will be using her to do side scan sonar and magnetometer survey work in open water here in the keys. Following division week and weather permitting, we will be sending her north to continue the search for the Lost Merchant. Initially we will be using her in ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) mode, which allows us to visually check targets and positively identify shipwreck material.
In the coming weeks we will be using our telepresence system periodically to show a live feed of Dolores working under water and show the control room from where she will be monitored. You will be able to watch her in action from the comfort of your home or office. Keep an eye out for emails from us letting you know when the live feed button will be active.
The Magruder will head back to the site this week. It looks like the wind should slow down by Friday and last through Tuesday of next week. If any investors would like to dive in the next week give us a call and we will get you out treasure hunting! Both boats found artifacts on their last trip on opposite ends of the wreck-site so join us and find your own piece of history.
After confirming the calm weather forecast this morning, both of the Mel Fisher's Expeditions salvage boats are heading to their respective
locations on the Atocha wreck site today. Crews of both the JB Magruder and the Dare will head out in search of the hundreds of millions of dollars in treasure that remains to be found on the Atocha. We're excited to see what will be uncovered in the next dives.
Being the first person to see an artifact after nearly 400 years on the ocean floor sends tingles from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, it really is indescribable. Find out for yourself and join us in the fun, romance, and adventure of treasure hunting!
We are looking forward to seeing you all in sunny Key West!
As you know, Division Week is May 6-12, 2013. There are exciting events planned each night of the week and they all include treasure prizes and giveaways!
The week culminates with a costumed gala on Saturday, May 11th 2013 at the Beautiful Waldorf Astoria, Casa Marina Resort. Of course, you are not required to dress up but remember, there is a $2,800 coin awarded for best costume at the gala! Get ready, this year's theme is "Potosi, City of Silver- From Rags to Riches."
Investors remember you must pre-register for all events.
See you soon...
Click here to see the week's schedule of events and to register.
Both the Dare and Magruder are on site this week working the Atocha trail. We just received word from Captain Andy and the crew of the JB Magruder that they have recovered two emeralds in the last two days. One appears to be 2 carats and the other 4 carats! What makes these finds even more exciting is where they were found. The Magruder is currently working a portion of the Atocha trail that is over 6 miles North-west of Emerald City. With the exception of two light emeralds found at the "Bank of Spain" in the mid-nineties, all of the rough emeralds recovered from the Atocha have been found at Emerald City, which is located near the main pile.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again, the exciting part about treasure hunting is you NEVER know what might be in the next hole. We have found close to 6 lbs of emeralds around Emerald City. This latest find is very exciting; who knows what the next hole could hold, 6 more pounds? Maybe 10 lbs, a chest of silver coins, or even cannon - you just never know.
Visit Sean Fisher and Jordan Filbrandt from our investor relations department this week at The Miami Boat Show! We'll be at booth L60, on the main floor of the Miami Beach Convention Center. The show runs Thursday, February 14th through Monday the 18th. It's an incredible show which draws fellow boaters and water enthusiasts from all over the world. We'll be promoting our current projects including the Atocha, Margarita, and Lost Merchant Expeditions. If you have considered joining, this is a great chance to see us in person and have all of your questions answered.
The M/V Dare headed to sea yesterday afternoon to take advantage of a weather window that will last through Saturday. Both boats were able to work last week for four days as well. Although the trips are short, we are happy to be getting fairly steady sea time during the winter months. It only takes one hole to make for a successful year. This could be the trip that we uncover the Atocha's sterncastle.
The J.B. Magruder is currently replacing some plumbing in the diesel fuel system. We anticipate this repair to take a few days, and then they will be ready to head out to sea once again.
Working on the ocean introduces an unpredictable variable, the weather. Luckily Mother Nature has given us a window of calm winds this week and both of the Mel Fisher's Expeditions salvage boats will be heading to their respective locations on the Atocha wreck site. Crews of both the JB Magruder and the Dare will head out in search of the hundreds of millions of dollars in treasure that remains to be found on the Atocha.
The anticipation of what might be uncovered on the next dive creates excitement among the crews as they provision the boats for their trip. The excitement is contagious! Investors will be joining us this week beginning Wednesday, February 6th, to help in the hunt.
Those of us who have dove the site before can tell you that being the first person to see an artifact after nearly 400 years on the ocean floor sends tingles from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, it really is indescribable. Come join us in the fun, romance, and adventure!
If you are in Key West or are able to get away, contact your Investor Relations team and schedule a day at the site.
A big thank you to investors Bob Sloan and Pat Williams for putting together this great video update during their visit to Key West, enjoy!
Pat and Bob's Investor Update from Sloan Productions on Vimeo.
Today is a momentous day for Mel Fisher's Expeditions and for the future of treasure hunting worldwide. The new, cutting edge Hybrid Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Dolores, is here and ready to go. After prepping her for her work at sea, we are confident she will help us find the main pile of the Lost Merchant and the rest of the treasure on the Atocha and Margarita sites this coming year.
NEW VIDEO OF DOLORES
Rare Tool Found
An ancient iron tool used for extracting teeth in the early 1600s was found recently on the trail of the Atocha. The find brings into focus the rudimentary medical practices that were used on patients 400 years ago.
The tool is called a dental pelican, named because of its resemblance to a pelican's beak. The tool consisted of a claw mounted on a shaft, and a second iron shaft with a half-moon-shaped bolster on the end, the part of the tool that rested against the gum beneath the tooth being removed. The tooth was pinched between the claw and the bolster, and then extracted.
This very rare medical tool is now in our Conservation Lab undergoing reverse electrolysis, under the watchful eye of our Senior Conservator, John Corcoran.
The crew of the Magruder just found an estimated 3-carat, rectangle "box-cut" emerald ring. The setting appears to be 22-karat, straw-colored gold. Seasoned diver Bill Burt discovered the ring in 36 feet of water. Divers also uncovered a foot long pottery sherd and a musket ball in an adjacent hole.
The remarkable find occurred in the quicksands about six miles north of the main pile in a virgin area of the Atocha trail. Divers could see the stratification layers of shell and sand as they entered the excavated hole, which is common in new territory.
View Entire Story and Photos Here.
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