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Atocha and Lost Merchant Updates
On their most recent trip to the Atocha site the crew of the JB Magruder along with a group of adventurers uncovered a silver coin, musket ball , gunners dice, encrusted objects, a large barrel hoop fragment, two iron spikes and pottery. The crew is currently re-provisioning and will head back out to the site tomorrow and they will continue to search in the area we call the 'Mystery Pile' due to the large size of some of the ballast stones found in this area. The weather looks beautiful this week so be sure to give us a call if you would like to dive for treasure with us! They are on the hunt for over 120,000 silver coins, 14 tons of silver, 150 copper ingots, over 100 gold bars and discs and 12 bronze cannons on the Atocha and Margarita sites. Remember, the totals of manifested treasure yet to be found is estimated to reach over $260 million dollars. This does not include the value of smuggled goods which was commonplace in the 1600s. The King was taking 90% forced loans to fund his military endeavors so folks had very good reason to avoid documenting their shipments.
The Dare and her crew had a very productive initial trip to the Lost Merchant search area with over 100 linear miles being covered with side scan sonar and magnetometers. According to Gary Randolph, Vice President and Director of Operations, the new navigation computer and autopilot software, which is now integrated with a high accuracy Trimble GPS receiver, worked extremely well allowing the crew to work in rougher conditions. There were a few low priority side-scan targets but no medium or high priority targets as of yet.
The summer treasure-hunting season is in full swing and we invite you to join us if you have not already. It truly is an adventure of a lifetime and Today's the Day!
Nearly 100 pirates in the Pirate Pub Crawl and Ball raised a mug with a yo ho ho and a bottle of rum, Papa’s Pilar Rum to be specific, as they meandered from Turtle Kraals to Half Shell Raw Bar, then down the plank to Schooner Wharf Bar, Island Dogs and fittingly ended at The Rum Barrel; all of which were sponsors of the events along with Key West Promotions who ran the Pub Crawl.
The 2nd Annual Amazing Mel Fisher Treasure Hunt drew even more teams than year 1, all vying for the $5,000 cash prize. The winners were announced by Southernmost Scavenger Hunt’s Graff Kelly at the Rockin’ Block Party on Duval where a three-woman team calling themselves “The Southernmost Chicks” took home the loot.
Throughout crowds took to the 200-300 blocks of Duval to bid on over $20,000 in silent auction items including spa packages, hotel stays, restaurant gift certificates, authentic treasure, jewelry, artwork and much more donated from a host of local and supporting business.
The festival offered food, drinks, vendors, a Classic Car Show and a dunk tank in which Mel’s son and Mel Fisher’s Treasures CEO Kim Fisher took a turn to raise money for the Welsey House. Shipyard Brewing Company brought down their party truck and offered ice cold beer right next to the main stage which hosted local legends such as Caffeine Carl, Barry Cuda. Patrick and The Swayzees took the stage thanks to The Porch. The Green Parrot brought down Suenlo to get people dancing in the street and The Durt Bags played alongside Night Ranger’s Jeff Watson to keep the party rockin'.
The 30th Anniversary Celebration of Atocha’s Mother Lode culminated on Sunday with 20 rounds of Booty Bingo at Charlie Macs and SundayFunday Trivia hosted by Island Dogs. The donations are being tallied and 100% of net proceeds from all Mel Fisher Days events will benefit Wesley House Family Services.
Look for event favorites such as The Amazing Mel Fisher Treasure Hunt and more to return next July as the team continues to celebrate Mel Fisher’s world- famous $450 million dollar discovery of the Mother Lode of the Atocha.
Before then, the Fisher family will continue the hunt for the remaining hundreds of millions in treasure left to be found on the Atocha and Santa Margarita, and are currently on the hunt for a new shipwreck they have code - named “The Lost Merchant”. See photos from event and keep up with latest finds on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/melfisherstreasures because as Mel would say, “Today's the Day!”
1715 Fleet Society
July 26 - August 2, 2015
Sebastian and Vero Beach
Monday, July 27, 2015
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM -"Treasure Talks" at the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum, 1322 U.S. Highway 1, Sebastian, Florida.
A group of lectures sponsored by the Mel Fisher Museum. Limited seating. Admission Fee $20.00. Includes lectures, self-guided tour followed by “Meet & Greet” Reception. For information contact the Museum at (772) 589-9875.
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM - Self guided tour of the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM - "Meet and Greet" *sponsored by the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum (at the Museum).
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
9:45 AM - 4:00 PM - 300th Anniversary Conference on the 1715 Plate Fleet (Day 1). Vero Beach Museum of Art, Leonhardt Auditorium, 3001 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, Florida. Sponsored by the 1715 Fleet Society. Lectures on topics pertinent to the 1715 Fleet. Catered lunch provided. Admission fee. For information call Ben Costello (724) 344-3171 or register online at 1715fleetsociety.com
4:30 PM - Special guided tour at the McLarty Treasure Museum, 13180 North A1A, Vero Beach, Florida. Light refreshments provided by the Treasure Coast Coin Club and the 1715 Fleet Society. For information contact the Museum at (772) 589-2147.
Wednesday, July 29. 2015
9:45 AM - 4:00 PM - 300th Anniversary Conference on the 1715 Plate Fleet (Day 2). Vero Beach Museum of Art, Leonhardt Auditorium, 3001 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, Florida. Sponsored by the 1715 Fleet Society. Lectures on topics pertinent to the 1715 Fleet. Catered lunch provided. Admission fee. For information call Ben Costello (724) 344-3171 or register online at 1715fleetsociety.com.
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM - "Meet and Greet" *sponsored by the Treasure Coast Coin Club. Indian River State College, Building “Y”,Room 102, 3209 Virginia Avenue, Ft. Pierce, Florida. For information contact Chet Hogan at (772) 563-3344.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
9:00 am - Indian River County Main Library Bus Tour. Meet at the library located at 1600 21st Street, Vero Bach, Florida. Departure at 9:00 am. tour includes a visit to the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum, the McLarty Treasure Museum, a tour of the 1715 wreck sites followed by lunch. Expect tour to take 4 to 5 hours. Admission Fee. For information contact Pam Cooper (772) 770-5060.
5:30 PM - 9:30 PM - Official 1715 Fleet Commemorative Banquet. Tiffany Room, Captain Hiram's Inn and Resort, 1580 U.S. Highway 1, Sebastian, Florida. Sponsored by the 1715 Fleet Society. For information contact Ben Costello at 724-344-3171 or make reservations online at 1715fleetsociety.com.
Friday, July 31, 2015
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM - Exhibit and Lectures at the Indian River County Main Library, 1600 21st Street, Vero Beach, Florida. Exhibits, lectures and a special showing of an archival video featuring original Real 8 members.
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM "Meet and Greet"*sponsored by the West Bay Trading Company, 595 21st Street, Vero Beach, Florida
*A “Meet & Greet” is an informal gathering open to the public which features invited guests who have some association with the 1715 Fleet. This includes noted authors, educators, salvagers, archaeologists, historians, numismatists and other assorted 1715 Fleet luminaries. There is a “Meet & Greet” scheduled on Monday and Friday from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Wednesday from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Each “Meet & Greet” has its own sponsor. The “Meet & Greet” on Monday, July 27, 2015 is sponsored by The Mel Fisher Treasure Museum. The “Meet & Greet” on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 is sponsored by the Treasure Coast Coin Club. The “Meet & Greet” on Friday, July 31, 2015 is sponsored by the West Bay Trading Company. Each sponsor gets to invite the guests who will meet & greet the public.
As summer heats up and we prepare for the exciting line up of events during Mel Fisher Days July 9-12 in Key West our boat crews are hard at work hunting for treasure on the Atocha wreck site.
Captain Andy and his crew are working northeast of the Bank of Spain in a location that has been dubbed the Mystery Pile. It was given this name back in the 1980s right before the team was redirected on the trail to the main pile. The Mystery Pile refers to artifacts that were found the farthest east artifacts have ever been found in the quicksands and after studying the charts the team hopes to find even more artifacts in this area.
They also uncovered four silver coins, a musket ball, several large spikes, Eos, pottery, gunners dice and three of the largest (therefore heaviest) ballast stones ever found on the Atocha trail. What this tells us is that a significant portion of the vessel made it at least this far from the main pile.
As you may recall from the division update, The Dare crew is making preparations to head to Cape Canaveral to continue the Lost Merchant search July through September. Until this time the Dare will be working the Atocha trail, with a few days set aside for engineering updates on Dolores with the EM techs who arrive on Monday.
On their last trip the Dare crew found 2 iron spikes while conducting circle searches however they turned out to be from the 1800s, not from the Atocha.
Remember, if you would like to dive with us simply call and set it up with Shawn or Onett at 305-294-5441. It’s going to be a great summer on the hunt for the remaining Atocha treasure and in search of the Lost Merchant.
Today's the Day!
Kim Fisher and Mel Fisher's Treasures team member Joe Sweeney appeared on CBS Evening News last night as they are participating in the Ernest Hemingway Bill Fishing Tournament this week alongside Hemingway's grandsons. Check it out near the end of the segment.
Shipyard Brewing Company
Director of Communications
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Shipyard Brewing Company Joins 30th Anniversary Celebration of Mel Fisher Days in Key West, Florida
Key West, Florida Keys- In honor of the unique seafaring heritage off the coast of Florida, Shipyard Brewing Company is partnering with Mel Fisher's Treasures to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Atocha Mother Lode find.
Mel Fisher's Treasures is a historic shipwreck recovery effort based in Key West, Florida that organizes a multi-day celebration every summer in honor of Key West's renowned treasure hunter, Mel Fisher. The Mel Fisher Days festivities were created in an effort to give back to the island that Fisher called home and which supported him during his 16-year search for the Mother Lode.
Shipyard Brewing Company's nautical ties and traditions and its similar commitment to give back to the communities that support it, made involvement in the Mel Fisher Days a natural fit. Shipyard's ties to Florida date back to 1997 when the first airport brew pub opened in Orlando and continue today with the 2014 opening of a brewery in Clearwater and 2015 launch of the Shipyard Mug Club at Turtle Kraals Tower Bar in Key West.
During this summer's Mel Fisher Days festivities, being held July 9-12, Shipyard Brewing Company's award winning ales will be available at all Mel Fisher Days events. 100% of the net proceeds from the weekend will benefit Wesley House Family Services, a local not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote and enhance the safety, well-being and development of children by educating, supporting and meeting the needs of families.
For a full schedule of Mel Fisher Days events and to take advantage of discounted advanced registration pricing visit www.MelFisherDays.com.
More About Shipyard: Shipyard Brewing Company is a family owned brewery - rooted in tradition and brimming with innovation. Its award-winning beer is handcrafted by a talented team of brewers who learned the fine art of brewing from world-renowned master brewer, Alan Pugsley. Established in 1994, Shipyard is located on the historic waterfront in Portland, Maine and produces 20 varieties of award-winning beers. www.shipyard.com
Hemingway's grandson to partake in tournament
Famed writer Ernest Hemingway’s grandson, Patrick Hemingway, has never caught a marlin but that may soon change.
“Not yet, but we’ll see,” Hemingway said, with a laugh.
Next week marks the first time, except during a brief respite during the Jimmy Carter administration in the 1970s, that American anglers can legally fish the Ernest Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament. About 10 boats out of Key West are making the 90-mile run for the weeklong tournament that starts Monday in Marina Hemingway, just outside of Havana.
Hemingway and his brother, John Hemingway, will be among the litany of Key West anglers taking part in the worldwide tournament in the marlin-rich waters just of Havana. There have long been whispers of some Americans fishing the tournament around Key West docks for decades, but doing so has been illegal for Americans since the 1960s when the embargo was instituted.
Recent thawing relationships between Cuba and the United States has spurred an avalanche in interest across Southern Florida and most directly in the Florida Keys to visit the Caribbean nation, despite government warnings that general tourism remains banned.
Those American anglers fishing the tournament still needed and received special approval from the U.S. government by way of temporary boat export licenses
There is arguably no historical and literary figure that represents the fishing traditions of and between the two countries more than Ernest Hemingway. Iconic black-and-white photos of the one-time Key West resident and revered writer still hang in bars in both countries.
This year marks the 65th annual Ernest Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament that reportedly has drawn boats from as far away as Russia.
“My grandfather is an important figure in both Key West and Cuba as well as the surrounding area,” said Patrick Hemingway, who lives in Vancouver, Canada. “I think it’s important myself and my brother go, because it keeps his legacy alive and I also think of this as a goodwill mission between us and Cuba. I hope it strengthens the relationship that’s recently been reopened.”
The American involvement in the tournament has been spearheaded, in part, by Jeffrey Boutwell, a political scientist and activist based in Maryland, who worked in Washington D.C. to get the anglers the permission they needed. Boutwell is also a flats fisherman who has been fishing the backcountry of the Florida Keys for years.
Boutwell first went to Cuba in 1998 for international science and public policy research, and came “to love the country greatly,” in his words.
“This is a great step forward,” Boutwell said. “We’ve worked very well with everyone, including the Treasury (department), Commerce (department) and Coast Guard. The recent news regarding the ferry service, the Hobie Cat sailboat races - it all points to the day when Americans can travel to Cuba the same way they travel to any other nation. It’s good for Cubans, the economy, business and for tourists traveling there.”
Key West businessman and sixth-generation Conch Jack Spottswood is among those fishing the tournament. He’s also in Cuba this week for the Hobie Cat race.
“Fishing for marlin in Cuba is a bluewater fisherman’s dream,” Spottswood said. “Growing up in Key West, there’s a sympathetic relationship with Cuba. I was 9 when Castro took over, but I remember my parents and their friends talking about Cuba and trips there before that.”
Local treasure hunter Kim Fisher, son of legendary salvor Mel Fisher, is also among those making the run across the Florida Straits. He joins Patrick Hemingway in that he’s never caught a marlin.;
“They tell me there’s a possibility that could change,” Fisher said.
Fisher said he would like to see the Morro Castle, a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana that was built by the Spanish in 1589, where all 28 of the famed 1622 fleet left before many were lost in a hurricane, including the galleons Atocha and Santa Margarita, both famously found off Key West in the 1980s by the Fisher crew.
“I’d like to just see the history of it all,” Fisher said.
Kurt Winters, captain of the 50-foot Hatteras, the Legacy 2, will also be taking a CBS News crew while they fish the tournament.;
“So many people fish it from all over the world,” Winters said. “People from everywhere. The fishing is so good down there. Add the fact that is 90 miles away and I’m 61, so I may only be able to do this once.”
Familiar Faces: An ongoing series that looks at the people who make up our island community 'Golden Girl' Thornton treasures people of Key West
BY MANDY MILES Citizen Staff
You’ve seen her.
In flowing floral dresses long and loose enough to let her pedal her gaily painted bike through Old Town, Jean Thornton is always on her way - to a lunch gathering, a happy hour fundraiser, an island charity event or to help any member of her Key West family.
“From the first time I came to Key West, I felt like I belonged,” said Jean “Golden Girl” Thornton, who visited the island with four fellow Alabama schoolteachers for a long weekend in 1996. “The others wanted to go to art galleries and my friend, Debbie Sexton, and I wanted to meet Mel Fisher, the treasure hunter.”
The rest is Key West history.
“We met Mel and he let us hold all these gold chains, coins and other treasure from the Atocha,” Thornton said, recalling her first glimpse of the gold, silver and emeralds that Fisher’s crew recovered from the shipwrecked remains of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, the Spanish galleon that sank off Key West during a hurricane in September 1622. “There was such a connection with him: I was originally from Indiana; so was he. Plus, my mom’s maiden name was Fisher. “
Thornton laughs when she thinks of Fisher’s magnetism, charm and subtle salesmanship.
“While we were talking, he told us, ‘If you’re an investor and you dive on the wreck site, you can keep anything you find,’” she remembered. “The next thing we knew, Debbie and I were pulling out our Visa cards and investing.”
The pair returned to their jobs and husbands in Birmingham, Alabama, where they immediately signed up for scuba lessons.
“It was Lucy and Ethel learning to dive,” Thornton said, describing the two 40-something high school teachers learning to breathe underwater. “But we went ahead and got our advanced open water certification, as Mel had advised us, and we came back to Key West in July that same year to dive the Atocha. We were absolutely hooked.”
It was on their second dive at the Atocha site that the girls earned the nickname that still summons them today - Golden Girls.
They surfaced from their second dive on the Atocha site with an ornate, 21-link gold chain that had lain on the ocean floor for more than 300 years.
“We found the chain, plus a silver coin and an emerald,” Thornton said, fingering the coin that has hung from her neck since that dive. “I got to keep the coin; not the chain. And I never take it off. On a much later dive, I found a machete that I’m really proud of. I donated that to the museum, where it’s still on display.”
Jean and her husband of 43 years, Joe Thornton, bought a condominium in Key West in 1998 and have divided their time between here and Alabama since then.
“It was December 1998, at Mel’s memorial service, that I decided to retire from teaching after 28 years and spend more time down here,” she said. “I remember thinking that Mel did everything everyone told him was impossible. And if a teacher in her 40s can become a scuba diver and a treasure finder, then anything is truly possible and today’s always the day,” Thornton said, echoing Fisher’s famous phrase that kept his crew working through the trying times of the treasure hunt.
This island still enthralls Thornton even now, 20 years after that first weekend in 1996 & A stunning sunset that tie-dyes the sky stops her in her tracks, as she snaps and posts a Facebook photo to share the scenery. She’ll circle a block on her bike to find the source of some night-blooming jasmine on her way home from an evening event.
& “I know, I know, it sounds cheesy and cliche, but I realized long ago that the people of this town are its most priceless treasure,” Thornton says.
But beneath the engaging Southern grace and endless goodwill, Thornton lives in fear.& ;“I have a severe case of FMS Syndrome - Fear of Missing Something,” she says, only half-joking about the “affliction” that dictates the days and nights of Key West’s Golden Girl.
Last week in Key West with many of our Expedition Members was truly memorable. We really had a blast re-living 1985 with you!
For those who were not able to make it to Key West this year, I told everyone at the big party on Saturday night that my crew and I look forward to this week every year when we are able to see so many old friends all together, and meet new ones too. I also mentioned that I was hoping to never have to re-live the fashion of the 80’s but it turns out it was a lot of fun.
I’d like to personally congratulate all of our Division Week winners, including everyone that got out to the site and found the 14 emeralds and numerous pieces of pottery.
Sylvia Van Dyke and Craig Friberg took home a grade one Atocha coin, valued at $2,800 for their 1985 themed characters "Beatle Juice & Bride". Randy Josepher had his pin closest to the silver plate which turned out to be the most valuable artifact found in 2014, and is the big winner taking home the prize for the “Pin the Stern Castle on the Trail” contest. A¼ share contract has just been added to Randy’s account!
I also announced that as we continue to celebrate the momentous occasion of the 30th anniversary of the discovery of Atocha's Mother Lode in 1985, I have decided to thank those who continue to support our ongoing efforts and expeditions.
I’ve found something very special in my safe, and I will be gifting it to one of you. Any current “A” Share 2015 Expedition Member will be entered in a drawing to win a $30,000 Santa Margarita Shipwreck Pearl in honor of our 30th Anniversary.
Finding that lead box with over 16,000 pearls inside was one of the most memorable finds since the Mother Lode and I've kept this particular pearl tucked away for a special occasion.
If you already started a new membership this year, don't worry you've been entered! We'll be choosing the winner early next year. If you are not yet onboard don't hesitate to give us a call and join in on the fun!
We’ll be announcing the upcoming July and September Emerald City dates next week. Just Remember you must be an active member to go out to the site.
On behalf of the entire Fisher Family, our dedicated divers and office crew, I would like to thank you for your encouragement, support and participation in Mel Fisher's Treasures' expeditions. 1985 was thrilling and 2015 is going to hold just as much excitement.
Today's the Day!
Looking for Division Week Photos?
Click here to visit slideshow with downloadable photos.
The wind forecast is favorable for the next 7-10 days. The Margruder is currently on site at the Santa Margarita wreck site and the Dare is heading out today. If you are a current Expedition Member and would like to schedule a trip to dive, please call ASAP to do so.
As Division Week in Key West approaches we are busy preparing for our Members' arrival. The Magruder crew took advantage of a period of windy weather to rebuild the emerald trays in preparation for a week of sifting.
Correspondent John Zarrella joined us for a day of diving last month on behalf of CCTV America, you can view the brand new segment on Mel Fisher's Treasures below.
There is still estimated to be over $280 million in treasure remaining to be found on the Atocha and Santa Margarita and the excitement is contagious. Keep in mind this does not include smuggled emeralds which, according to emerald experts, could exceed half a billion dollars alone or the private jewelry collection of clergy members which is unknown and has been considerable thus far.
Today the Fisher family allows adventurers from around the globe to join them and go treasure hunting.
There are a few ways to do that and many people even take home authentic treasure they have personally
recovered from the wreck sites.
Watch as JB Magruder diver Jason Smause uncovers a beautiful gold ring. The ring has been lost at sea for over 400 years and is the first heart shaped ring ever recovered from the Santa Margarita wreck site.
"Treasure Hunt - The Big Picture"
Check you listing for “Treasure hunt - The Big picture on the National Geographic Channel at 9:30 EST.”, which airs tonight, April 3, 2015.
The Gold Rosary for which we recently released an Artifact Report is now available for viewing at our museum in Sebastian, Florida. Not only can you see it in person, you can use this link to receive an amazing discount on admission with the Groupon that we are offering there. With these prices you can bring the whole family during Spring Break this week!
The first gold find of the year made front page news, and you heard about it first last week! Our VP and Director of Operations Gary Randolph searched our database of artifacts recovered and found a similar artifact that was recovered in 2000. Using that information he is estimating that Wednesday’s new gold ring recovery will be valued in the $50,000 range. We will of course know more once the ring is brought into our conservation lab and it can be evaluated by experts.
Kim Fisher is especially happy about the find and said, “I’m always excited when my crew recovers a new artifact, no matter what it is. But gold is special, it doesn’t react with salt water so it never tarnishes. When you see a gold ring underwater, like the one the Magruder crew just recovered, it shines like the day it was made. Gold shines forever and that’s why it is one of the most exciting things to find as a treasure hunter. We plan on finding a whole lot more of it too, Today’s the Day!”
This heart-shaped gold ring is the first of its kind
to ever be recovered from the Santa Margarita wreck site.
This trip the crew of the Magruder has recovered other artifacts including 5 silver coins, several EOs and a piece of wood from the shipwreck itself.
Click on image to see larger view
One of the silver coins was recovered by new Expedition Member Chuck Hoyt. This was Chuck's first day treasure hunting on the 1622 fleet and his son Eric was diving alongside him. Chuck found the coin on the second dive of the day. He was excited to share the experience with his son and he handed the coin to Eric underwater. At the end of that dive Eric brought the coin to the surface for the first time in nearly 400 years and celebrated the find with his father and the crew of the JB Magruder. The Hoyts will get to keep that coin and will forever remember the day they went from treasure hunters to treasure finders. You can join the adventure too and find your own piece of history!
Expedition Member Chuck Hoyt smiles as holds the silver coin he just found on the Margarita site
The Dare and the Magruder will remain on site for the last few days of this incredibly long window of good weather. It is rare to see so many days at sea this early in the year and this trip is hopefully a sign of good things to come. Here's to good weather, and finding treasure!
Captain Andy just got off the radio with Director of Operations Gary Randolph who confirms they have recovered a gold ring with a clear stone from the 1622 sunken Spanish galleon, Santa Margarita.
Congratulations to the crew of the Magruder who had the GoPro filming when the ring was recovered. Stay tuned we will share the footage with you as soon as we are able to get it back from the wreck site. They have also recovered a spike, musket ball and a number of ballast stones.
Today's the Day and sunset isn't until 7:36 tonight, not to mention the weather looks beautiful still through Tuesday. Both boats will continue to hunt for the hundreds of millions of dollars in treasure yet undiscovered.
Call (305) 294-5441 to get in on the action and find out how you can join the adventure!
The Dare and the Magruder are both on the Santa Margarita site for what looks like a week of perfect weather! Give us a call if you would like to dive the Margarita wreck site this Friday.
Below is the forecast through Monday. The top arrows indicate the direction of the wind and the numbers below indicate the level of wind. Anything under 15 knots is workable, anything under 10 is even better, anything under 5 is perfection.
The forecast can always change so come make history today!
A front has moved into the keys causing the winds to increase. The Dare and the Magruder have both returned to port and are waiting patiently for the next break in the weather when they will return to the Santa Margarita site.
During this last trip, the Dare uncovered an EO or "encrusted object". It is now in the conservation lab and we will soon know more about the artifact and its condition.
The Magruder found a lead musket ball, pottery sherds and numerous ballast stones ranging in size from very small to large.
These finds indicate we are locating material from the wreck site and it is only a matter of time before one of the finds is silver, gold or a bronze cannon. As Mel always said, “Lead leads to gold!”
Here we are in the first six months of 2011 and the efforts of the dedicated crews of Mel Fishers Treasures have produced some amazing finds and perhaps the first tantalizing clues to even bigger finds to come.
In March of 2011 at the northern end of the Atocha site, Capt. Andy Matroci and his crew on the J.B. Magruder found a cluster of treasure that was extremely unique. First and foremost was a gold rosary with a cross inlayed with wood and enameled. The cross was inscribed with a Latin based motto that has been a bit of a challenge to decipher.
When the Spanish came to the New World to explore, conquer and exploit for the King, for the church, and for themselves, they brought little in the way of personal possessions. They could not read, most could not write and had to - by force - travel lightly, what they could carry with them were the comforts of their Church and religion. The parables and stories of the Saints lives they had heard since childhood would have offered a comfort that cannot be downplayed. This was perhaps the most important possession a Spaniard carried with them into the New World - the strength of their religious beliefs.
Most conquistadores, colonists and converted indigenous peoples would have carried some talismans of their faith, crosses, rosaries, medallions and small lockets containing either religious imagery or articles directly associated with a favorite saint.
As can be seen, the front of the cross is inset with wood. Such crosses were not uncommon during this time period, in fact some of the wood used in such crosses were thought to be wood from the “true cross”, or the original cross that Jesus Christ was martyred upon. During the Middle Ages and beyond, there was a sort of cottage industry that cropped up around relics of religious icons - especially those thought to belong to the story of Christ itself. Whether or not the current example was one of those is impossible to say. The wooden upright and the crosspiece of the cross all have small gold ornaments representing the three nails used to crucify Christ.
The reverse of the cross shows geometric designs along both the upright and the crosspieces that bear traces of enameling.
The real intriguing aspect of the cross comes when viewed from the sides, around the side is an inscription in Latin which reads running from the left top of upright along the left crosspiece around to the right had side and returning to the top, (X OS NON COMMI NVETIS EXOS X). Much speculation and research has gone into this with no firm answers; however the best translation we have now is “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN." This is from the New Testament of the Holy Bible (John 19:36) and is one of the signs from earlier scripture that were fulfilled and proved that Jesus was the prophesized messiah.
The Cross is attached to the chain of a rosary, the beads of which are absent with a single existing ebony example.
Read the rest of the article on our new Research Archives page by clicking here
We are thrilled to report that the wind has finally calmed down allowing the boats to head out to sea.
Captain Andy, Captain Papo, and their crews are now underway heading to the Santa Margarita site. As you may recall from a previous email, the Magruder will be working south east of what's considered the Margarita "Main Pile." This is an area that has never been worked thoroughly with metal detectors and we hope it contains some nice treasure.
This area also contains solution holes which can be anywhere from a few inches, to six feet in depth. Treasure settles down to the bottom of these holes over time, so it is necessary for the crew to use the airlift to get to the bottom of each one. Kim Fisher once found a gold bar at the bottom of a six foot deep solution hole, so needless to say the crew can't wait to get out there!
The Dare will work to the north, east of where the gold chalice was found on the trail.
If you want to dive with us this week, give us a call, the weather is perfect for treasure hunting.
and GOLD CHALICE PART 2
We will be releasing a series of Artifact Reports on significant artifacts found over the years to build our new Artifact Report Archive.
We will posting them here as they become available.
Santa Margarita Gold "Bernegal", Found June 25th of 2008, PART 2
Researched by Brooks Barnes and Carol Tedesco
Prepared and Presented by Carol Tedesco
Golden Vessel of the Santa Margarita
In June of 2008, Blue Water Ventures-contractors for Mel Fisher's Treasures- discovered an exquisite and exceedingly rare high karat gold drinking vessel on the widely scattered Santa Margarita shipwreck site.
An ornately engraved bowl arises from a threaded base into eight lobes, with two beaded "question mark" handles. The artifact - called abernegalby the Spanish - features a coat of arms engraved into the interior center, and while some promising clues to the arms’ identity have surfaced, its definitive provenience remains a mystery.
In 1907, Leonard Williams published The Arts and Crafts of Older Spain, with 24 parts, or chapters, devoted to Gold, Silver, And Jewel Work. Following is an excerpt from his volumes that gives a contemporaneous example of arms impressed on precious items:
Quantities of jewelry and plate belonged to every noble household. For instance, the testament of the Countess of Castaneda (a.d. 1443) includes the mention of "a gilded cup and cover to the same; a silver vessel and its lid, the edges gilt and in the centre of both lid and vessel the arms of the said count, my lord…"
Chalice Research and Summary Points
There is no chronicle of all the arms that have ever existed. As Heraldry expert Willem Vandenberg (of blazonsearch.com) pointed out, even Rietstap's Armorial Général does not contain all of the arms that ever existed in Europe.
• Arms can represent families, but can also represent cities, towns and guilds.
• The chalice arms are family arms because of the presence of a helm - or helmet- at the top center.
• The helm above the shield is used to indicate the rank of the bearer. The style of helm above the chalice arms may indicate a "peer" i.e. Duke, Marques, Earl, Viscount or Baron.
• Arms features may change over time via marriages/unions, etc.
• The top two quadrants of the chalice depict lions and castles such as those found on the Hapsburg shield, but positioned oppositely than those of the Spanish empire's ruling family - though as the 16th century illustration below exhibits, such reversals may not have been an entirely uncommon rendering.
The chalice itself may have originated in the Old World. However, the engraving of the arms looks "naïve" in comparison to the bernegal and may suggest that they were added at a later time, in the New World, by a New World artisan unfamiliar with heraldry.
• Claudia Costanzo, a cultural resource specialist/artist from Madrid, said her impression was that the bernegal was perhaps European made, the arms added at a later time in the Americas.
• An indigenous New World artisan, unfamiliar with heraldry, might easily take artistic liberties with the design.
• Heraldry expert Willem Vandenberg wrote of the chalice arms: IT does not appear that the engraver was familiar with heraldry or much concerned with accuracy, and although the fourth panel appears to show hatching, it doesn't follow any of the color conventions used in the world of heraldry…He also wrote: As far as Spanish heraldry and the engraved arms are concerned I can tell you this. The border with 8 crosses does not make things easier. In Spanish heraldry this is very, very common…
• The animals in the 4th field of the bernegal may be harts / stags or even possibly wolves.
• Wheels are not common on coats of arms. The few examples of arms with wheels that researcher Brooks Barnes has been able to locate are spoked wheels. The wheels in the 3rd field of the bernegal- which Barnes describes as being "peasant style wooden cart wheels"- do not resemble any we have found in heraldic references to date.
• It has also been suggested that the wheels may represent cannon carrier wheels.
• On account of the inclusion of the two animals and the circular objects, one researcher suggested that the shield was associated with the ancient Castro family. However, the circular objects on the chalice arms are most certainly a type of wheel, and research into the Castro family history revealed that the circular objects on the Castro arms represent coins.
The family name of Carrillo is one that is associated with the symbol of the wheel:
Excerpted from House of Carrillo from Wikipedia: The House of Carrillo is a Spanish noble house that traces its origins from the ancient Kingdom of Castile. There are several branches that exist such as Carrillo de Albornoz, Carrillo de Mendoza, Carrillo de Figeroa, Carrillo de Toledo and Carrillo Tablas among others. There are also several variations in spelling of the surname Carrillo such as "Carillo." Records prove that both surnames are one and the same.
The word carillo is used in Spanish to refer to any "small cart." It has been derived from the word carril, which means a cart, cartway, a narrow road or rail.
Read more here on our new Artifact Report Archive.
John Brandon is a well-known, very successful, long time treasure hunter
Date: Sunday February 22
Place: Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum-1322 U.S. Highway One, Sebastian, FL 32958
Presentation Topic: How he got started with Mel Fisher and treasure hunting and his endeavors on the Atocha and 1715 fleet sites.
Standard admission rates apply: $7.00 adults, $5.00 seniors 55+
We'll be offering 10% off everything in the gift shop-including select authentic coins.
Please call 772-589-9875 with questions.
Today's the Day!
Kim Fisher's Interview on Huffington Post Live
If you were not able to tune in to the
live show yesterday, check it out now.
Kim has multiple segments so stay
tuned through the interviews.
Click here to see interview
The Quest For Buried Treasure
January 28, 2015
Archaeologist Artifact Report
We will be releasing a series of Artifact Reports on significant artifacts found over the years to build our new Artifact Report Archive.
We will posting them here as they become available.
Santa Margarita Gold "Bernegal", Found June 25th of 2008
By James J. Sinclair, Project Archaeologist
Bernegals (Drinking Vessels)
Bernegals were drinking vessels that were popular in Hispanic society in the 17th century ours is a footed example and may indeed be a match for the wonderful footed plate or “salver” that was found in 1980 and is on display in the Mel fisher Maritime Heritage Society.
Gold Salver from Santa Margarita, 1980
Still Life with Silver-gilt Salvers
Juan Bautista de Espinosa, 1624
The Hilmar Reksten Art Foundation, Bergen
The set of Salver and Bernegal are offshoots of the medieval convention of royalty worrying about their safety. The salver was used by the head server in a royal household to test drinks and food to assure that the master of the household was not about to be poisoned, or as the Spanish at the time termed it "salvo de toda traicion y enagano" or “safe from all treachery and deceit”. In fact from the sister ship of the Margarita the Nuestra Senora de Atocha we found a bernegal that had inside a cage inside to hold a “Bezoar stone” Which was used to ward off poison also. However the salver to the Atocha example has yet to be found- another fine target to be on the lookout for on these wonderful wrecks! These salvers and drinking vessels or bernegals became very popular in the seventeenth century
Comparing the two pieces the design similarity can be readily seen.
Salver from the Margarita
Design on the Margarita bernegal
Santa Margarita Bernegal
The Bernegal itself has the following specifications:
Artifact #73283- Gold Cup (Bernegal)
Pre-Conservation weight 641.0
Post-Conservation Weight- 598.1
Length -162 mm
Width -96 mm
Note: Cup is not round. It had been partially compressed during initial wrecking process.
Cup Height - 65 mm
Cup (+) Base Height (Total) - 85 mm
Height - 20 mm
Diameter - 69 mm
Width - 7 mm
Height - 46 mm
Crest Diameter - 40 mm
2 Tax Stamps
Base screws off
Executed in the “bocado style” (this style is characterized by an undulating divided in to vertical lobes) it has a lobed everted-circular form, having a wide conforming border chased with a stylized scrollwork design. Foliate ornaments have been interpreted geometrically into two C's on each lobe resembling blossoms. In the angles between the scrollwork garlands with little flowers and fruits dangle and intersect this appears above eight deeply-conforming lobes, the interior having a family crest or heraldic symbol, scroll form handles surmounted by raised nodules, cup sits on a molded spool foot. Traces of two stamps are visible on the base.
The cup bears some resemblance to the “Poison Cup” of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, 1622, in that it has two handles, is decorative, footed and made of gold.
The interior of the Santa Margarita cup is markedly different from that
of that Atocha example. The interior base of the cup is surmounted
by what appears to be a family crest or heraldic symbol.
This wonderful design is currently under research by Eugene Lyon, PhD
and associates in Spain who are very hopeful of identifying a family
associated with this design and to whom aboard the
Santa Margarita this magnificent object once belonged.
The Captains were up early this morning to check the weather. They are happy to report there is a window of good weather so, the crews of the Dare and Magruder are now underway to the Margarita site. Their plan is to move moorings and anchors to the area they will be working. If the weather continues to hold, they will begin excavating and hopefully uncovering some of the substantial treasure that remains to be found.
If you haven't been diving on the Margarita or have been dreaming about becoming a treasure hunter for a long time, now is your opportunity. Come help us make history!
January 19, 2015
Archaeologist Artifact Report
We will be releasing a series of Artifact Reports on significant artifacts found over the years to build our new Artifact Report Archive.
We will posting them here as they become available.
Pasquier Bronze Seal Found - September 2011,
Artifact Tag #90410
By James J. Sinclair, Project Archaeologist
In September 2011 Captain Andy Matroci and the crew of the J.B. Magruder were continuing to develop an area on the northern end of the Northwest artifact scatter trail of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, 1622. This same area has produced some intriguing finds over the past months including an emerald ring that has been evaluated at over 1 million dollars and a gold rosary of unique design. While these artifacts are fantastic, their importance is overshadowed by the find of a seemingly less valuable bronze seal.
Bronze seals such as these were used by nobility, church and government functionaries for impressing designs onto official papers. Hot "sealing wax" would be applied to the document then the seal would be used to impress the image into the wax. It was, much as today, a way of ensuring the authenticity of the document.
When looking at the seal at least two things need to be kept in mind, (1) This is a reverse image, in that once the seal is impressed in hot sealing wax the resultant image would be a mirror view of what can be seen on the seal, and (2) The seal is obviously an image of an heraldic coat of arms, usually associated with a noble family.
A number of possibilities presented themselves. The most obvious was that this was the coat of arms of one of the wealthy passengers or officers on board the vessel, or that this was part of a package of goods belonging to a person of importance in the New World who had died and the important effects were being sent back to his family in Spain (a not unusual occurrence).
Starting with the theory encapsulated in what has become known as “Occam’s Razor” i.e. that the simplest explanation is usually the most correct. We collaborated with Corey Malcolm the archaeologist of the Mel fisher Maritime Heritage Society. These good folks help to keep the collection of research on the Atocha intact for future generations. He was kind enough to send the list of those lost aboard the galleons Atocha and Margarita, gleaned from contemporary sources.
We contacted various experts in the Heraldry of that period and we were thrilled with the news that came back. The Coat of Arms belonged to Don Pedro Pasquier de Esparza, Almirante of the 1622 Tierra Firma Fleet.
The name Pasquier is of French origin, Don Pedro comes from a very old and noble family of Tudela, (Navarra). One needs to keep in mind that boarders and allegiances were a changeable situation then as they are now. We know that the family was living there since the middle Ages. In the middle of the XVI century there were several Pasquier’s in Navarra and almost surely they were his relatives. In 1617, Don Pedro Pasquier de Esparza received the title of Caballero de la Orden de Calatrava, an order of military knighthood where they mentioned his grandfather’s names. By 1621, the King most likely made a Royal Decree appointing him as the "Almirante” of the Tierra Firme Fleet of 1622. In September of that year, Don Pedro and the other 264 people on board the Atocha sailed to their fate. Nearly 400 years later we have been able to research the various complexities of Spanish heraldry and we have switched the image and added the correct colors to fully appreciate the Coat of Arms of Don Pedro Pasquire de Esparza Admiral of the 1622 Tierra Firma Fleet.
By James J. Sinclair, Project Archaeologist
Our operations team is monitoring the winds daily, which is necessary this time of year. With winter "cold" fronts in the Keys, the weather we actually see is often quite different from what had been forecasted as it can change in an instant. The boats and crews are on standby, anxiously waiting to head back out to sea. Rest assured the team is up early each morning to see if the weather will cooperate.
Upon arrival at the Margarita wreck site, the Magruder will be working slightly east of what's considered the Margarita "Main Pile." This is an area that has never been worked thoroughly with metal detectors and we hope it contains some nice treasure.
This area also contains solution holes which can be anywhere from a few inches, to six feet in depth. Treasure settles down to the bottom of these holes over time, so it is necessary for the crew to use the airlift to get to the bottom of each one. Kim Fisher once found a gold bar at the bottom of a six foot deep solution hole, so needless to say the crew can't wait to get out there!
Red Circle = Magruder work area
Blue Circle = Dare work area
Margarita area, click to enlarge
Dare area, click to enlarge
The Dare plans to work south along the Margarita trail checking a few large magnetometer hits (red dots).
Click to enlarge
We are excited for them to explore both of these areas and again, are simply waiting for a window of workable weather.
We'd like to remind Members that Division week is May 3rd - May 10th. If you haven't had the chance to reserve your spot for your division of treasure appointment, diving the site or nightly social events - don't wait! Spots continue to fill up fast and it is also Songwriter's Festival in Key West that week, so you will want to make your travel arrangements as soon as possible.
To sign up for nightly social events click here.
To arrange your dive trip and division of treasure appointment please call Joe Sweeney (305) 296-6533
We wish you all a very Happy New Year and are excited to announce that 2015 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Atocha's Mother Lode.
This year will be an exciting one as we continue our quests for the hundreds of millions of dollars in treasure that are yet to be found on both the Atocha and Santa Margarita wreck sites.
Both the Dare and Magruder will be working the Margarita site, which is just off the Marquesas, this winter.
The water is shallower than on the Atocha site and the island gives the salvage boats cover from the wind. The combination should create a calmer work environment, allowing our boats to get more time at sea and for our crewmembers to get more treasure-hunting dive time during the winter months, which are notoriously windy.
As a reminder, according to the manifest and research by historian Eugene Lyon we are still missing a considerable amount of treasure from the Margarita wreck site:
If you have yet to dive the Margarita site, your opportunity is approaching. Call to reserve your spot on the next trip, imagine what it would be like to help us uncover a silver bar, a copper ingot, or a bronze gun.
Today's the Day!
GRAND PRIZE VALUED AT $10,000 USD INCLUDING A WEEK STAY IN KEY WEST
Key West, Florida Keys - Mel Fisher's Treasures announced today the start of a nationwide social media-based sweepstakes to mark the 30th anniversary of the historic discovery of the Mother Lode of the Atocha by legendary treasure hunter, Mel Fisher. The $450 million dollar find is being honored with the unprecedented 30th Anniversary Like, Enter, Win, Ultimate Treasure Hunting Sweepstakes.
The Grand Prize is valued at $10,000, with additional prizes drawn on the 30th of each month during 2015 and is open to residents of the United States only.(The February drawing will be held on the 28th). Once entered, contestants will be eligible for all subsequent sweepstakes prize drawings. The Grand Prize will be drawn on December 30, 2015. To enter, contestants can go to Mel Fisher's Treasures' company Facebook page and click on the Ultimate Treasure Hunt sweepstakes button and follow the instructions.
During the 16-year search for the Nuestra Senora de Atocha Mel Fisher never gave up on his dream. He believed when others did not and inspired his crew by believing in his mantra that "Today's the Day!" they would find the treasure. After years of perseverance, dedication and hardship on July 20, 1985 their dream became a reality and Fisher and his crew uncovered $450 million dollars in gold, silver, emeralds and artifacts from the Spanish galleon, Nuestra Senora de Atocha which sank in a hurricane just off Key West in 1622.
Fisher's family and his namesake company are committed to continuing the search he began for the Sterncastle of the Atocha, and the hundreds of millions of dollars in treasure that remain to be found from her wreckage. In honor of the 30th Anniversary of Fisher's discovery of the Mother Lode of the Atocha, Mel Fisher’s Treasures, LLC. is giving away the chance for a lucky winner and a guest to join them on the treasure hunt, to dive along-side their crew in search of the fortune in treasure and take home authentic treasure on an Atocha Dive Adventure.
The $10,000 Grand Prize includes participation for winner and a guest in an Atocha Treasure Adventure 2016. The Atocha Treasure Adventure includes accommodations for two, a six night, seven day stay in Old Town, a Welcome BBQ hosted by the Fishers and two days of diving the wreck site of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha. The Grand Prize also includes a two-tank check out dive, VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the Fisher family's private conservation laboratory, and a trip for two on the Danger Charter's Wind and Wine Sunset Sail. The Grand Prize winner will also receive $1,000 USD for personal use, will go home with an authentic Atocha silver coin valued at $2,800 and a $200 Gift card to be used at store.melfisher.com. (See Official Sweepstakes Rules for complete prize details and restrictions).
Additional monthly drawing prizes include an authentic Atocha coin, VIP conservation lab tours, signed books, re-creation treasure jewelry, gift cards, entries into the Mel Fisher Days' Amazing Treasure Hunt (features a $5,000 cash prize), Today's the Day t-shirt, commemorative medallion.
- To Enter the 30th Anniversary Like, Enter, Win Ultimate Treasure Hunting Sweepstakes visit www.Facebook.com/MelFishersTreasures
- For Official Sweepstakes Rules and a complete list of prizes visit www.melfisher.com/HOTTOPICS/sweepstakesrules.html
About the Atocha Dive Adventure
Atocha Dive Adventure trips give the general public the opportunity to spend a week in Key West diving along-side the world's greatest treasure hunters on the wreck site of the Atocha. The trip includes a week of luxury accommodations in Key West. Adventurers are greeted with a Welcome Barbeque hosted by the Fisher family and staff, receive a VIP tour of the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society Museum and get an exclusive look at the Fisher family's Conservation Laboratory, which is not open to the public.
While learning treasure hunting techniques from the pros, participants will be involved in the active and ongoing salvage operation on the Atocha site where artifacts, treasure and shipwreck jewelry are found on a regular basis. Trips are limited to six divers per trip, during six pre-selected weeks each summer in June, July and August. Visit www.melfisher.com/myadventure and click on limited week trip for more information.
About Mel Fisher's Treasures
Mel Fisher's Treasures is an industry leader in historical shipwreck recovery currently focusing on the excavation of the remaining treasures of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and Santa Margarita along with searching for new shipwrecks such as the "Lost Merchant". www.melfisher.com
We are thrilled to have been part of this fantastic photo shoot yesterday with Nutcracker Key West, all of the "Jewels of the Atocha" were beautiful!
$5,000,000 worth of Jewels on stage with Nutcracker Shot
(Photo by Pete Arnow)
Members of the cast of Nutcracker Key West pose on stage with $5,000,000 worth of jewelry honoring the "Jewels of the Atocha" scene.
Don't miss Nutcracker Key West! Tickets are on sale NOW: http://keystix.ticketforce.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=743
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!
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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