Today was a big day for everyone here at Mel Fisher’s Treasures. As is customary each year we appeared along with our faithful attorneys Professor William Vandercreek and Gene Lewis before Federal Judge King for the Adjudication of Title for the treasures recovered on the Atocha and Margarita wreck sites in the year 2007.
As you may know Judge King has been the presiding judge since the early years of salvage on the Margarita site and takes great pride and pleasure in continuing to follow her trail with us year- to- year. It is exciting to see how interested he truly is in the treasure.
Throughout the hearing he asked many questions, some necessary to prove due diligence regarding our progress in the past year as well as our plans for future salvage of the site. Each year we must prove that we are diligently working both the Atocha and Margarita sites in order to maintain our Admiralty and Salvage permits for the sites. Director of Operations Gary Randolph explained to him that we plan to do extensive magnetometer work on both the Atocha and Margarita sites with approval we have received from NOAA. The goal is to investigate areas outside of our permitted salvage area in hopes of proving the trail extends in the Northwest direction and thus allowing us to extend our salvageable areas on both of the wreck sites. The Judge also asked questions purely out of his own curiosity. These included questions about the treasure hunting seasons and why we were able to work more often in the summer months as opposed to the winter months as well as about the pearl collections’ believed origin. Gary responded explaining to Judge King that the winds and waters were far more conducive to using our small survey boat in the summer as well as allowing our larger salvage vessels to remain at sea for longer periods of time during the summer months. The pearls, he explained, are thought to have originated in Northern Venezuela.
To conclude the hearing Kim Fisher explained the intriguing new technology we will be using this summer which will allow us to located one silver bar up to 7 feet under the sand and 2 silver bars up to 9 feet under the sand by using a large metal detector that can be pulled on a sled be hind a survey boat. In the past the only way to locate non-ferrous metals has been to excavate the area and do a physical underwater search using hand held metal detectors and visual scans. According to Kim this should make for a very successful treasure-hunting season.
Finally the Judge invited all those present in the court room to come view the treasure with him and he was quite pleased to be able to explain to his visitors how the gold bars and chains were made and he continues to have a genuine interest in the Atocha/Margarita Expedition and the treasures that these shipwrecks continue to produce year after year.
The Judge signed the Adjudication of Title and the 2007 finds from the Atocha now belong to Mel Fisher’s Treasures and the 2007 finds of the Margarita belong to both Mel Fisher’s Treasures and our Joint-Venture Partners, Blue Water Ventures.