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October Salvage Update
The J.B. Magruder was searching in the Northern area of the Bank of Spain. Congratulations to diver Santana on his second silver coin find.
The crew discovered:
• 1 Silver Coin
• Several EOs (encrusted objects)some believed to possibly be parts of swords
• Several Large Pottery Shards
The divers continue to uncover more pieces of history in the area known as "The Bank of Spain". A rather impressive fully intact olive jar neck and a very large piece of pottery were discovered.
The crew discovered:
• Large Olive Jar Neck
• Several EOs (encrusted objects)
• Large Pottery Shards
The crew is currently doing maintenance and gathering provisions for the next trip weather permitting by end of next week.
SILVER AND GOLD COINS FOUND ON THE ATOCHA SITE!!
Mel Fisher’s Treasures salvage vessel J.B. Magruder with newly appointed Captain Tim Meade at the helm finds an exceedingly rare Atocha gold coin on July 16, 2021, in 30’ of water. Congratulations to Captain Tim and the entire Magruder crew. The coin was found by 2nd generation treasure finder, Engineer Zach Moore on the Nuestra de Atocha Spanish galleon shipwreck. The last Atocha gold coin ever recovered from in 2001, this will only be the 121st Atocha gold coin ever found on the Atocha site to date. Today's value is estimated to be at least $98,000, even more, if it's from a rare mint.
Zach Moore joined the Mel Fisher crew a few years ago. He is from Vero Beach, Florida, and had previously worked as a treasure hunter on the 1715 fleet. One of his other exciting discoveries on the 1715 fleet was an EO (encrusted object) that he and his dad conserved together. It turned out to be a very rare silver pendant and a rosary with a still intact figure of Christ!
Zach’s father William (Bill) Moore was part of the crew that discovered and recovered the motherload of the Atocha in 1985. During one dive Bill and the other divers found 165 pounds of gold finger bars, chains, and discs! His mother Julie Moore was also a diver on the Atocha site during the motherload find and was part of many amazing finds as well. Bill also worked as the Chief Conservator on the 1715 Fleet Operation at Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum in Sebastian Florida for many years.
This new gold coin discovery comes just a few days before the 36th anniversary of the 1985 Atocha Motherload discovery and our annual “Mel Fisher Days” celebration fundraiser benefiting Wesley House Family Services and Michael Abt Jr. Have a Heart Foundation. This year on Tuesday, July 20th there will be a diver reunion party at the Schooner Wharf and a huge online silent auction.
Diver Jacob Bell found his first piece of eight and another piece of eight was recovered by one of the investors. Several other artifacts were also recovered. Mel Fisher’s Treasures team continues to hunt for the remaining Atocha and Margarita treasures. As Mel Fisher would say “Today’s the day!”
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New Artifacts found!
Here are some great close-up shots of artifacts recently found on the Atocha shipwreck site. To find a fully intact olive jar neck with the cork still in it is considered very rare! There were several pottery pieces that still had enamel paint on them and will be looked at by our conservationist to determine history. The search continues!
J.B. Magruder heads to Atocha site
Mel Fisher's Treasures crew on the J.B. Magruder will be treasure hunting in the area known as the "Bank of Spain". This area is where millions of dollars in gold and silver have been found over the years, we wish them luck on their expedition and hope to see lots of treasure on the deck!
Video of artifact found on Atocha
Video of artifact found on the Atocha site (2/25/2021) by Jacob Bell of the J.B. Magruder crew. This was Jacob's first find and a very cool one at that! We believe it may be a hilt from a swept-hilt rapier. It closely resembles other sword handles found on the Atocha site. The American Heritage College Dictionary defines "Rapier" as: "A long slender two-edge sword with a cup-like hilt, used in the 16th and 17th centuries. A light sharp-pointed sword lacking a cutting edge and used for only thrusting.". As you can see it is still greatly encrusted and currently in our lab. We will keep you updated with photos and videos as it goes through conservation.
J.B. Magruder is currently working on the Atocha site
We have exciting news! The wind finally laid down and the J.B. Magruder is now headed to the Atocha site to work the area known as the "Bank of Spain". This area is where millions of dollars in gold and silver have been found over the years and a fully intact bowl was recently found here while the Magruder crew was continuing to expand the boundaries of this productive area of the site.
After nearly 30 years working with Mel Fisher's Treasures, Captain Andy Matroci is retiring
Andy grew up in the windy city of Chicago. Being drawn to diving at a very early age, he became certified during his first year at Triton College and was a dive instructor by age 19. He achieved his next level of dive training in 1975 at the Ocean Corporation in Houston, TX, attaining his commercial dive certification. For the next few years, Andy worked commercial dive jobs in Morgan City, LA, San Diego, Chicago, and finally, Gary, IN, where he was diving in an industrial holding tank. Needing some time away from such difficult working conditions, Andy felt a little awkward asking his boss for a vacation after only 2 months on this job, and was quite surprised when he was told yes since Andy had already endured longer than any of the company’s previous employees.
So in early 1981, Andy’s vacation took him from the cold Chicago weather to the Fort Lauderdale area for a visit with his grandmother and then on to Key West for some recreational diving. The first diver he met in Key West was Captain Billy Deans, who was to later become a very good and influential friend. Andy also heard of a man named Mel Fisher, a treasure hunter and diver looking for a lost Spanish galleon. Having never heard of a diving job that involved searching for treasure, it was Andy’s curiosity that led him, with his resume, into Mel’s office the following day. After looking over the resume, Mel said to Andy, “I’ve never seen a diving resume before. Would you like to start today or tomorrow? I can pay you $103 per week.” Before he could catch himself, Andy laughed and then explained to Mel that he made more than that in one day at his present job. Mel said that was all he could afford to pay his divers, but offered a percentage of the treasure they find, as well.
They had already discovered huge amounts of treasure now and we're likely to find the “Motherlode” of the Atocha any day now. Like so many others who had been influenced by Mel, Andy thought about it for a day or two, and in two weeks’ time, he had gone back to Chicago and moved all of his belongings to Key West, thinking that he would try to treasure hunting for a year.
Andy’s first assignment was on the Dauntless and his eyes still light up when he talks about finding his first GOLD after only a few months there! He enjoyed his work and decided to stay on longer than planned. He loved history and became fascinated with the history and archaeology of the Atocha. And more importantly, would he ever be able to live with himself if he left and then later read or heard about the discovery of the “Motherlode” without his being a part of it?
On July 20, 1985, as First Mate on the Dauntless, Andy had been plotting the charts and had spent time studying them. The crew knew they were getting close to something big because of all the treasure they were finding. On the 5th dive of the day, Andy said to his dive buddy, Greg Wareham, “Before we pick up anything, let’s swim a compass course out of the hole to the southeast and see what’s out there. So they swam out of the hole to the southeast, swimming parallel lines but out of each other’s sight. Andy was heading back to the hole when Greg came up and motioned for Andy to follow him. There it was! Ballast stones and silver bars rising 3 feet out of the mud. They hugged each other and then took ten to fifteen minutes to swim around the huge ballast pile, knowing they were the first to see and would never have an opportunity to see the Nuestra Senora de Atocha like this again. They then surfaced and screamed, “It’s the Motherlode! It’s right here!” Needless to say, Andy has countless fascinating stories of the recoveries, celebrities, and adventures that followed as the result of this great treasure find. He continued to work the Atocha and Margarita sites through 1991. At one time or another during his tenure, he has captained or co-captained the M/V Dauntless, M/V Magruder, M/V Virgilona, and the M/V Swordfish, as well as doing some work on the 1715 and 1733 fleets.
Deciding it was time for a career change, Andy left the company in 1991 to work on the Nuestra Senora de Pilar, a 1690 Spanish Manila galleon off the coast of Guam. The depth of this wreck required him to bring his crew to Key West to be trained in mixed-gas, deep water diving by his friend and accomplished diver Billy Deans. Andy’s diving career has also taken him to many wrecks in the waters of the Philippines, Anguilla and Honduras and includes subcontract work on “Emerald City” in 1994 and on the Santa Margarita site in 2000.
In early 2002 Andy was hired back to Captain the J.B. Magruder and continued to make amazing finds on both the Atocha and Margarita wreck sites until February 2021 when he has decided to hang up his dive fins and enjoy retirement. He will be greatly missed, we wish him a very happy retirement enjoying more time with his family and new grandbaby.
CAPTAIN TIM MEADE
Our new J.B. Maguder Captain
With Captain Andy retiring we are excited to announce our new Captain for the J.B. Magruder, Tim Meade. Tim has 15 years of shipwreck experience and has worked with Mel Fisher's Treasures for the last 12 years, much of which he has served as the ships Engineer and more recently training as first-mate. He has had his Master Captain’s license for 5 years. Tim has also found countless artifacts on the Atocha and Margarita sites, including a gold bar, emerald ring, and countless other historical artifacts. We are grateful to have him as part of the team and cannot wait to see what he and his crew find next!
Kim Fisher talks about the moment when he found the Poison Cup
By Kim Fisher
It was a long time ago. My first wife JoArden Michael was pregnant with our eldest son, Jeremy. Jeremy was born in January 1975 so it must have been the summer of 1974. The ocean was flat calm, like a sheet of glass. Because the seas were so calm and there was no wind the Captain of the Virgilona Demostonese “Mo” Molinar had decided to spend the night on the Atocha site. We were going to work until dark.
We were working in shallow sand just one or two feet deep on the edge of the “Quicksands”. Because of the water depth and the shallow sand, we were running the mailboxes at an idle dusting away the fine white sand. It was the last hole of the day and the sun had already sunk halfway below the horizon. I was the only one still suited up and the rest of the crew was busy putting their gear away and clearing the decks for the night.
As I was about to push off the dive ladder JoArden, tongue in cheek, told me, “Find me a gold chalice!” As incredible as it seems, I followed her order. As soon as I got to the bottom, I saw gold. It looked like a dragon or “maritime dolphin” I stared in awe for about two minutes as the mailboxes gently dust the sand away. What I had first seen was what turned out to be one of the handles of a magnificent intricately smithed, gold poison cup.
When I surfaced with the poison cup the excitement, as you can imagine, was tremendous. Even though the sun had already set everyone was suited up and back in the water within five minutes. The base of the cup which is threaded and actually can be unscrewed from the cup was found about twenty feet away.
A second hurricane that tracked over the Atocha in 1622 was so powerful it had ripped the Atocha apart. The main pile was so heavy that it didn’t move but the upper decks including the forecastle and stern castle were torn from the hull and scattered for several miles ending up in the “Quicksands”. This spot we lovingly refer to as “The Bank of Spain”. During this tremendous storm which mercilessly pounded the ship apart the poison cup had been crushed. We located a gold smith well known for restoring antiques like this. He was an Octogenarian and took most of the rest of the year to restore the cup using only his hands. That’s how pure the gold was.
At the time we didn’t know what we had. I mean we knew we had a beautiful gold cup but it wasn’t until early the next year when brought in numerous experts to examine all of the unique “artifacts of distinction” that we had recovered the previous year that we found out what we had. Priscilla Muller one of the top experts in Hispanic art history and jewelry took one look at it and said, “Oh my goodness, you’ve found a poison cup.” It turns out that in the bottom of the cup was a large mount, around one inch tall that held a bezoar stone.
A bezoar stone comes from the alimentary track of a llama or goat. When arsenic, a common poison in 1622, comes in contact with a bezoar stone the stone would turn dark, warning its owner that someone was trying to poison him. After hearing the story we hired a chemist to see if it was true. It is. they had some pretty sharp people back then to figure that out. We have found numerous bezoar stones on the Atocha and Margarita since then. Some were just loose, found in a wooden box along with some gold chains. Others were in elaborate gold bezels worn on a gold chain around the neck and could be dipped into any cup to test for arsenic.
I hope you enjoyed this tidbit of treasure hunting. I know it is a day that I will never forget.
Today’s the day!
Museum quality "Columbia Plain Pottery" found on the Atocha site!
️⚓️ New footage of the bowl recovered from the Atocha site. Watch as Treasure Diver Tim Meade shows you the fully intact bowl discovered this month. This style pottery is known as "Columbia Plain" and is thought to be well preserved because of it's thick nature. Here is an excerpt from Archeologist Mitchell W. Marken, "CERAMICS from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha" explaining more about Columbia Plain Pottery. "The second most common ceramic tradition found on Spanish shipwrecks is the Columbia Plain type tin glazed earthenwares. These wares were used as the everyday plates (platos) and drinking bowls (escudillas) by crew and less wealthy passengers. The platos and escudillas were probably made on molds as a fair degree of uniformity exists." This find is very unique because it is fully intact and still has a good amount of glaze left on it. You can just feel the history and only imagine what it was like to be a crew member on one of these vessels.
J.B. Magruder is back out on the Atocha site!
️Exciting news as the boat is now at the Atocha site to search for treasure with the grandson of Mel Fisher, Josh Fisher Abt. We wish him and the crew lots of luck as they search for treasure!! As Mel would say "Today's the day!"!
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Our Duval Street store is now open!
613 Duval Street
Greene Street store opening soon
At Mel Fisher's Treasures, The health of our team, our customers and their families are of the utmost importance to us. We’ve taken a number of steps to help control the spread of COVID-19. At this time, our physical treasure stores are not open to the public. We have a limited amount of staff safely working to fulfill online orders to continue to help you own a piece of history.
Visit our online webstore, by clicking here
Meet Our New Divers!
Jacob Bell joined the Magruder Crew this fall after Melvin Fisher Abt introduced Jacob to Mel Fisher's Expeditions. He is originally from Louisiana, where he grew up on a horse farm. With a love of lobster diving, he became scuba dive certified at a young age of 13, so he could bag some bugs. Jacob is very excited to be a part of our adventure! There are two Jacobs on the Magruder now, so when you come to visit you can call him LJ.
Jacob Williams joined the Magruder Crew this fall. He is originally from Calhoun, Georgia, where he attended Troy University. Jacob took an extra curricular class at Troy University to earn his scuba diving certificate. He has dove all over the world. Some highlights include the Red Sea and beautiful Hawaii! He previously worked with Captain Andy's son, who noticed his work ethic and recommended him for our dive team. He likes to live by the motto, "Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life!" To not confuse the two Jacobs, you can call him Israel.
Kyle Sweaney joined the Magruder Crew last summer just after Division Week. Kyle is originally from Seattle, Washington. Inspired by a friend, Ky attended the Divers Institute of Technology in Seattle where he was introduced to the dive crew position at Mel Fisher's Expeditions. His favorite dive with us, so far, is one of his first few dives on the Margarita shipwreck site, where he recovered his first piece of treasure - a pottery fragment! In his free time, Kyle is on a mission to keep our oceans clean. He dives for trash in the harbor where we dock the Dare and the Magruder. He also composes a variety of music. Kyle also has a nickname, Ky!
Zach Moore joined the Dare Crew this fall. He is from Vero Beach, Florida. Some of you might know him already, he is the son of Atocha Golden Crew member Bill "Chill Will" Moore. In August of 1985, just after the Atocha Motherlode, Bill put 165 pounds of gold on deck in one day! This included 77 Gold Bars, 7 Gold disc, and 7 gold chains. Zach hopes to help find as much or more treasure than his dad in the upcoming salvage seasons. Like most treasure hunters, Zach has been diving his whole life but became officially certified in 2014, and then as a Dive Master in 2016. He previously was working the 1715 fleet. His most exciting treasure recovery on the 1715 fleet was an EO that he and his dad conserved together. It turned out to be a very rare silver pendant and a rosary with a still intact figure of christ!
Treasure on deck!! Today the captains of the Dare and the Margruder turned in artifacts from the past trip out to sea. Two silver coins, a silver ewer spout (similar to one pictured), a possible spike, barrel hoop, a possible carpenter's file, as well as musket balls and pottery shards were all recovered! 350+ years of cultural heritage recovered from the depths. More pieces to the puzzle of the elusive Sterncastle!
John Corcoran and our recent recoveries
Silver Ewer Spout
An ewer is a vase-shaped pitcher, often decorated, with a base and a flaring spout. We recovered a silver ewer spout in 1985 with a very ornate carving and in 1991, a full silver ewer that also had intricate carvings on the spout.
Pre-Conservation: Silver Ewer Spout recovered August 2019
Silver Ewer Spout recovered on 12/31/1985
Silver Ewer recovered 08/26/1991
Emerald City & Salvage Update
The crew of the Magruder wrapped up our July Emerald City trips Friday. While working the 'dark emerald area' where we recovered 2 emeralds during Division Week, we uncovered a very dark 2.6 carat emerald! Emeralds recovered in this area are of significantly higher value due to the color and clarity.
Emerald found 07/08/19
Emerald found by office staff member, Megan McDowell
We made some headlines with this emerald find!
FL Keys News
The Magruder is heading up to the Quicksands area this trip to continue working a section of the trail known as the "Carpenter's Trail". This area has been known for unique carpenters tools, musket balls, silver coins and some gold jewelry pieces. The Dare will be heading to an area just south of the Magruder working on the east side of the trail close to where many gold bars and the Emerald Cross where found in years past. This area has a high potential for more of this Stern Castle type material to be found.
Mel Fisher Days
Mel Fisher's Treasures, along with Wesley House Family Services and Michael Abt Jr. Have a Heart Foundation thank all our sponsors, Key Westers, Mel's Golden Crew, friends, family, volunteers, visitors and all of the treasure-hunting enthusiasts for making this Mel Fisher Days an enormous success. Throughout this past week, attendees learned about conservation in the Fisher Family Laboratory, explored our treasure-hunting boat with guided tours by the Mel Fisher's Treasures crew members just outside one of Mel Fisher's favorite haunts- Schooner Wharf Bar.
Kim Fisher with 2 treasure-hunting enthusiasts (Mrs. & Mr. Earle)
Zach Preston - Winner of the 50/50 Raffle (He gave 1/2 of winnings back to Wesley House!)
Paula & Michael Clemens – Winner of Cupcake Game - An Authentic Santa Margarita coin
Greg McShay – Winner of the FREE Authentic Atocha Coin
New Investors, Paula & Michael Clemens bought the winning cupcake!
The Fisher Family & MFT staff pose on the J.B. Magruder
Crowds took to the backroom of Schooner Wharf Bar to bid on over $25,000 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.
HUGE Silent Auction
The donations are being tallied and 100% of net proceeds from all Mel Fisher Days events will benefit Wesley House Family Services and Michael Abt Jr. Have a Heart Foundation.
We are at the start of summer and the weather has been great for treasure hunting so far. The winds are down and the Magruder and the Dare are working on finding our next big pile. Captain Andy and the Magruder crew are circle searching in areas of shallow sand trying to find Atocha material. The plan is to extend the trail beyond our current FKNMS permit area.
Magruder Circle Searches in Purple
Captain Papo and the Dare crew are digging in the deep mud just northwest of Emerald City where they found a dark emerald while diving a few years back (labeled “northwest most emerald”). We believe this is the beginning of a new emerald area. Last week the crew found ballast stone very deep in the mud and they will continue working this area on their next trip out to sea.
New Emerald City Search Area
Thank you to our members for your continued support. We will continue to keep you updated on the expedition.
This month in History
Looking at our Mel Fisher's Expeditions timeline of recoveries, June has historically been a great month to find GOLD!
June 17, 1973 - Father's Day - Gold Disk , Gold Bar & 2 Gold Coins recovered by Kim Fisher Recovered by: Southwind
June 7, 2005 - 203 Link Gold Chain recovered on Atocha Site Recovered by: Dare
June 10, 2007 - Pearls, gold bar, gold chains & gold pieces recovered on Margarita Site Recovered by: Blue Water Rose - Gold contraband bar w/o no markings - Several pieces of gold chain - Lead box containing over 16,000 pearls
June 25, 2007 - Gold Bar found on Margarita Site Recovered by: Blue Water Rose
June 24 , 2008 - Gold Chalice recovered on the Margarita site Recovered by: Blue Water Rose Valued at over $1,000,000
June 23, 2011 - Large Ornate Gold & Emerald Ring recovered Recovered by: Magruder
June 11, 2017 - Gold & Pearl Earring recovered on the Atocha Site Recovered by: Magruder
Thank you to all Mel Fisher's Expeditions investors who traveled to Key West! We were so happy to host you and we hope you had a great time during Mel Fisher's Expedition's Division Week 2019, Here is a link to all the photo albums from week's events, Today's the Day!
Click here for photo albums.
Hello to all of our treasure hunters! We know that most of you have final plans in place to join us in May for division week and we are looking forward to seeing you next month. While you have been going through the logistics of finalizing your hotel stay and travel plans, we have been working on our logistics for you to become modern day treasure hunters during Division Week. Captain Andy and the Magruder crew, along with Captain Papo and the Dare crew; have been busy prepping to host our annual diving and emerald sifting.
The plan is to have the Magruder host everyone that is scheduled to dive during Division Week. During our last update we explained that Captain Andy and the Magruder crew are working on a very important project that involves a non-evasive "circle search pattern", to collect data to show that the Atocha debris trail extends well beyond what our current permit allows. In fact our current permitted area ends where we found the northern most gold bar! This is an important project that is critical to the expedition being able to extend our search into new territory. Extending our permitted area means we can continue to search for the missing artifacts associated with the elusive Stern Castle of the Atocha; including the unique and valuable artifacts from wealthy passengers such as gold chains and bars, exquisite jewelry and personal items as well as the remaining lower hull and gun deck sections of the ship that contained the missing bronze cannons and silver/gold bars yet to be found. We need to emphasize how important this project is to our future plans to put treasure on deck! Divers during Division Week will be joining Captain Andy on this project. It may not be as glamorous as diving in a hole excavated by the mailboxes, but the opportunity still exists to be part of a historic find.
Meanwhile the Dare has completed its winter maintenance in the boatyard and will be hosting everyone planning on emerald sifting during Division Week. This maintenance included replacing a worn propeller shaft, polishing up the other two and installing new cutlass bearings and packing glands on all three propeller shafts. We also had to weld up the starboard rudder tube and then reinstalled the rudder. The final touches on the bottom paint are finished and new zincs were put on the hull.
The next project for the Dare is to prepare to host all of our investors that are scheduled for emerald sifting. This means moving the compressor from the Magruder (that should be completed by the time you finish reading this newsletter) over to the Dare. If you have been sifting emeralds with us over the last couple of years, you will recall the huge amount of sand that had to be handled. We are going to redesign the emerald trays in order to make them more efficient to uncover more emeralds and work less sand. Once the emerald trays have been re-designed, the Dare will head out to Emerald City to start prepping some strategically identified areas and get them ready to start airlifting emerald laden material topside. Your emerald searching this year will be slightly north of what we refer to as the dark green area. It is clear, by the way emeralds have been found in the past, that they were sorted in burlap bags from the lighter emeralds to the darker emeralds; hence the name “dark green” area. The Dare will search in the dark green emerald area just north of where the largest 77 carat dark emerald was previously found.
Once Division Week is over the Dare will most likely head up and join the Magruder to search for Atocha material to extend our permitted area, until we have our survey plans in place for the Consolacion project. They will also be taking delivery of our new Mojave ROV and the newest version of the EM detector system which have just been successfully tested in the shop. Once installed, we will once again begin scanning the areas of deep mud along the Atocha trail looking for those deeply buried chests of silver coins and silver bars.
Captain Andy and the crew of the Magruder have been anxiously waiting for a clear weather window to open for them to resume their search. We may have a week of workable weather ahead of us, so the Magruder headed out yesterday morning to take advantage of what Mother Nature has given us. On this trip, Captain Andy's plan is to work a little north of the Northern most part of the Atocha trail. They will be working on the edge of an area where a four (4) pound gold bar was found. Let's send some good thoughts to the crew and believe that "Todays the Day"!
Hello everyone and happy 2019 to all!
We hope each and every one of you enjoyed the holidays and starting up the New Year. This is our first newsletter for the year and as you can imagine the salvage crews continue to be optimistic about getting back to putting treasure on deck this year.
We did wrap up the 2018 expeditions season with a couple of significant accomplishments. The Magruder had a much-needed trip to the boat yard, which allowed the crew to catch up on some overdue maintenance; including new custom mailboxes, replacing and reinforcing a large section of the transom and bottom paint. We narrowed our focus on another 1622 Galleon, the Consolacion. We just completed the translation of hundreds of pages of old Spanish documents that have helped us to identify the details of this ship. The Consolacion has become the fourth project in our operational plan along with the Atocha, Margarita, and the Lost Merchant. We also made a leap forward with our partners in the next generation of the EM detection technology. We have made the decision to move the new EM system from our HAUV 'Dolores', to a commercial "Mojave" ROV (remotely operated vehicle). The Mojave ROV is one of the most powerful ROV's in its class and vastly improves our autonomous search pattern capability.
Starting out the New Year we find the Magruder waiting for the wind to lie down so they can head out to sea. Captain Andy is taking advantage of this time to put a new engine on their skiff/tender boat. The new engine is a Suzuki 150 that will replace the nearly 20 year old Yamaha 150. We also had our welder make two new fuel tanks for the skiff as well. On this next trip, Captain Andy's mission will be to search north of our Atocha permit area in an effort to define the existing trail across an area of seafloor with patch coral (we cannot use excavation equipment in this area due to sensitive natural marine resources). The plan is to use both linear and circle searches to define a trail through this area and then continue working up the trail with mailboxes and airlifts once it turns back into deep sand. Our goal is to extend our FKNMS permits into this virgin area this year. At the very end of our current permit area is where we have found a 4-pound gold bar and numerous silver coins.
Captain Papo and crew are in the boat yard this week for bottom paint and maintenance. This maintenance is expected to take 3-4 weeks.
On this trip, with only two work days in the weather forecast, the Sea Reaper continued excavation along this newly developing scatter trail. Divers located thirteen olive jar sherds, a ship’s spike, a barrel hoop fragment and two other unique artifacts. One of the unique artifacts was an entire barrel hoop—an iron band that would have held together a wooden barrel. This barrel hoop was twisted beyond imagination and leads one to think about how it got into this shape during the chaotic sinking of the Santa Margarita. The other unique artifact was a large base of an olive jar. The majority of the olive jars recovered from shipwrecks of this period have rounded bottoms, while this rarer artifact has a flat bottom.
The Polly L is back on the Margarita site and stepping up to working the strong currents rushing through. Captain Bozeman and crew spent time on the site finessing their salvage plans and set up to lift the vessel up and out of the water. They are continuing in an area where the Polly L discovered a large rough cut emerald back in 2002. This was a 32-carat emerald.
October Salvage Update
A few of our members came to Key West this week to dive on the Santa Margarita shipwreck trail! They dove alongside the crew of the Magruder and found a great mix of artifact, most of them encrusted. Divers also found 2 musket balls and a glass button. (See below)
One of the most interesting artifacts recovered was a black glass button. According to research from Corey Malcom, "eight black glass buttons were recovered from throughout the lower hull structure site of the Atocha and one from the Margarita. All of them were found loose and not in association with any sort of garment (no clothing was recovered from either wreck). They have a shape best described as "rounded-hemisphere," and all have two holes in the backside where a wire loop was inserted. None of these loops remain, but corrosion products in some of the holes appear to be iron oxide, leading to the conclusion that an iron wire was dipped and twisted in molten glass and then drawn out, and the piece smoothed and allowed to cool."
Malcom, Corey. "Glass from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha." Volume 6, No. 1 - Fall, 1990. Page 8. Print.
We are working on a new remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) and we are developing our next generation EM (electromagnetic) detector system to be mounted on our new Mojave ROV. We have just completed the first round of array design testing with a silver bar and copper ingot. Gary has been finalizing the USBL tracking system, navigation system and magnetometer system on the vehicle.
We used a silver bar and copper ingots while designing and testing the new EM arrays. This ROV will help us recover many more artifacts with this amazing technology!
September Salvage Update
In honor of the Atocha shipwreck which sank September 6, 1622, we annually invite our members to join us for a week of emerald sifting at Emerald City. A tropical storm rolled through the Keys the first part of the scheduled Emerald City week but a stretch of workable weather allowed Captain Andy to get the Magruder set up for the last part of the week. We were sifting for emeralds in the dark green area of Emerald City where the emeralds are harder to find but worth more in value. Unfortunately, no emeralds were recovered during this trip.
Captain Andy and his crew then headed to the Margarita Site to an area that produced an abundance of gold bars, gold coins and gold chains in the early 1980's. The crew recovered iron square spikes that the Santa Margarita was built with, a piece of Chinese Ming Dynasty Porcelain, lead sheathing, encrusted objects and ballast stones.
Captain Josh Fisher and his crew focused on the northern section of the Margarita wreck, working between three known galleon anchors that were found in the past, along with an anchor ring and shank. Divers recovered 40 encrusted objects in the area, two of which appear to be fragments of a barrel hoop, and one that could possibly be ships rigging. Finding new material to the north could expand the collective knowledge of the site and the events surrounding the wreckage. These artifacts are currently in our lab being conserved by John Corcoran. We are excited to find out what treasures will emerge after conservation. Stay tuned for updates from the lab!
Mel Fisher Days raised $21,890!
The Mel Fisher's Treasures team presented a check for $18,000 to Wesley House Family Services and a check for $3,890 to Michael Abt Jr. Have a Heart Foundation on behalf of the Fisher Family from Mel Fisher Days 2018. To date the Fisher Family has donated $125,000 to Wesley House Family Services. This year's $18,000 donation will go directly to Healthy Families Monroe which promotes positive parenting, promotes child health and development, encourages stable and nurturing homes and helps ensure that the medical and social needs of families are met.
From Left to Right: Bryan Green, Jan Stauch, Taffi Fisher, Megan McDowell, Kim Fisher, Lee Fisher and Julio Torrado.
THANK YOU SPONSORS!
Scuba Nation airing this Saturday at 12pm FOX Sports SUN
Saturday 09/08 12:00 PM
Monday 09/10 8:00 AM
Friday 09/14 8:30 AM
The Magruder has been working a virgin area along the Northern Margarita main trail, just east of an area where we found a gold chalice. They've been finding a good amount of encrusted objects (which we call EO's) and pottery shards in this area but Captain Andy wanted to also hit one of the old "honey hole" areas of the site just north of the cannonball clump area to try and put some treasure on the deck.
he old saying that "Nothing Glitters Like Gold" came true for the crew when long time salvage diver, Bill Reighard surfaced with a glittering gold artifact in his hand. With a smile Bill shouted "…We are back on the trail". This very unique gold artifact is called a Palmander.
The Magruder crew recovered two gold pieces on this trip. The second is called a gold garment mount piece that looks similar to a small broach or button and unfortunately is missing the jewel that once sat in the center of the piece. Keep looking guys! According to our conservationist, John Corcoran, the missing jewel could have been an emerald or quartz crystal.
The crew also found an interesting piece of faceted crystal. It has a hole down the center so it was attached to a larger piece at one time. Along with the gold and crystal, Captain Andy's crew also brought back several silver coins and a few EO's from this area. The Dare crew was not to be outdone, and also made an outstanding contribution to putting treasure on deck. They are working in a new area off the Atocha debris trail this summer and had been meticulously following a trail of pottery and EO's until coming upon a silver plate and numerous silver coins. The Dare also returned with quite a few large encrusted objects and pottery shards.
Congratulations to both Captain Andy and Captain Papo for an outstanding week of treasure finding!
Last week we finally managed to get eyes on the target that we believed to be a very old wreck and ultimately be identified as the Consolacion. As you can see from the following images of the wreck, it is clearly modern and certainly not a Spanish Galleon. We cannot express the emotional letdown on Friday when we realized that the wreck was not what we had hoped it to be. The ride back to Key West on Friday had all of us feeling very disappointed, who wouldn't be?
But to remain a treasure hunter means to remain forever optimistic and continue forward, on to the next target! We still have documentation from the Spanish archives in Seville that speaks to eye witness accounts of the Consolacion sinking in deep water outside the reef off Key West. The Consolation is still out there and we will continue to search for her.
Since discovery of the new target last year, the first order of business was to obtain visual proof that we have the shipwreck we are searching for and next to retrieve an artifact in order to arrest the vessel with an Admiralty claim. As you recall, we made several attempts to use our HAUV (Dolores) to get real time identification video. With consistently bad weather, the lack of good visibility and the strong Gulf Stream currents, these issues quickly became our primary adversaries. It became very clear that we needed to wait for the calm summertime weather that Key West is known for and along with it, much better visibility on the bottom.
In moving forward with our operational plan laid out by Kim Fisher in his letter to all members back in May, we are extremely happy to announce that our underwater vehicle development team has just acquired a Sub-Atlantic Mojave ROV!
The MOJAVE ROV system is one of the most powerful observation and lite recovery ROV's for its size. Its compact, ergonomic design and light weight construction allow for rapid set up and deployment using any standard 240v power supply. The MOJAVE can be operated from a wide range of platforms and will be integrated into the Dare's underwater vehicle command center.
TODAY'S THE DAY! 33rd Anniversary of the Atocha Motherlode find
Mel Fisher's crew heads out to treasure hunt on this Anniversary.
33 years later we are still finding treasure. See latest July finds in video.
Emerald City & Salvage Update
The crew of the Magruder wrapped up our July Emerald City trips last Friday. While working the 'dark emerald area' we uncovered a hexagon shaped,very dark 2 carat emerald. It is typical when we are searching in this area to recover emeralds of significantly higher value due to the color and clarity.
The Magruder will be heading back out to the Margarita site today to continue digging a virgin area of the northern trail just to the east of where the gold challis was found a few years back. This area has many deep solution holes that typically catch treasure & artifacts as they settle down through the sand and the crew will be using the portable airlift to excavate these holes in the bedrock looking for the glint of GOLD!
While the Magruder was working Emerald City, the Dare worked just to the northwest of the Bank of Spain area of the Atocha site, digging in the deep Quicksands where we have some large magnetometer targets. They have been finding some modern material on these targets but they have also found some very nice artifacts in this area, including some Ming Dynasty blue and white porcelain and large olive jar shards. Our investor diver, John Curran, found this during their dive.
With Division Week, Mel Fisher Days and many investor dives behind us, we are gearing up to get back out to the new deep water target with Dolores with the goal of getting a positive ID on this old wreckage. The key will be timing things with the tides and the currents so that we have some good visibility and low current. Stay tuned for the latest news on this very exciting trip!
Mel Fisher Days!
Mel Fisher's Treasures, along with Wesley House Family Services, thank all our sponsors, Key Westers, Mel's Golden Crew, friends, family, volunteers, visitors and all of the treasure-hunting enthusiasts for making this Mel Fisher Days an enormous success. Throughout this past week, attendees learned about conservation in the Fisher Family Laboratory, explored our treasure-hunting boat with guided tours by the Mel Fisher's Treasures crew members and Captain Andy Matroci just outside one of Mel Fisher's favorite haunts - Schooner Wharf Bar.
Marylynne Lewis - Winner of a Margarita Shipwreck Pearl in the Cupcake Contest
Jimmy Parker - Winner of the Authentic Coin Drawing
Dianne Meisner - Winner of the 50/50 Raffle
Crowds took to the backroom of Schooner Wharf Bar 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 donations are being tallied and 100% of net proceeds from all Mel Fisher Days events will benefit Wesley House Family Services.
Mel Fisher Days!
Mel Fisher Days July 12-14
Today's the Day to Register!
Drain the Oceans: Sunken Treasures National Geographic Premieres Monday, June 18th at 9:00PM
Thank you to all Mel Fisher's Expeditions members who traveled to Key West last week! We were so happy to host you and we hope you had a great time.
You can view and download Division Week event pictures HERE!
Congratulations to Heidi and Richard Grabowski for winnig the "Pin the Stern Castle on then Trail 2017" game. A 1/8th share contract has just been added to their account!
Bertha Debaugh won the costume contest at the Casa Marina Costume Gala.
Last week the Magruder welders finished up the installation of our new mailboxes. The crew put the last few coats of paint on in between the rain and she went into the water this week. They still have to reinstall the mast and antennas and load the anchors and anchor lines back on board as well as finish checking all of the ships systems to make sure everything is running properly. She will soon be ready for the upcoming summer salvage season so stay tuned!
The Dare headed out last week on Friday to prepare to take investors a day early on Saturday. Unfortunately, the weather turned bad and the divers were only able to do some maintenance work on the emerald airlift until the weather calmed down enough for members to come outon Tuesday for some sifting.
They then had to quickly shift gears and setup for diving days in the Quicksands. The crew handled it well and where setup and digging just north of the “Bank of Spain” area of the trail so our members could get a chance to dive the site and look for that elusive glint of gold. The conditions where very challenging with strong currents making it very difficult to get on and off the Dare. All in all it was a good week and we’re looking forward to the calm summer seas and a successful treasure finding season.
Last week, The Dare explored some new ground in the Quicksands where the Atocha trail splits into two major parts. It was pretty rough most of this trip and they sat in the Marquesas a few days when it was too bad to work. They did recover a nice olive jar neck and a pottery shard amongst quite a few empty holes, indicating there is shipwreck material in this area.
John Corcoran and Gary Randolph went out on the Huntress with our deep towed side scan sonar system to acquire better sonar images of our new target. Again, the weather was too rough to get really good images but we gave it a shot. Once the wind came down a bit late in the afternoon we were able get a few more images and will use them to get better positioning on the target for our next dive with Dolores.
The Magruder crew has been working very hard in the boat yard. Both mailboxes are on the Magruder. The project should be finished shortly! The crew is ready and anxious to get out to sea and put some treasure on the freshly painted deck.
Captained by Josh Fisher-Abt, the Sea Reaper continued excavations along the main trail of the Santa Margarita wreck site and recovered treasure. The crew members diligently executed methodical prop wash and air lift excavations, concentrating on the central area of this fascinating and culturally-rich site. Their diligence was rewarded with seven silver coins and a scattering of other artifacts such as encrusted objects and lead sheathing from the widely scattered remains of the Margarita.
Phillippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of the renowned Jacques Cousteau, and his wife, Ashlan, are sharing an exclusive first look at what could be one of the largest discoveries of sunken treasure in 30 years. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports for TODAY from Key West, Florida.
We are excited to announce The Cousteaus are in Key West searching for lost treasure and adventure with Mel Fisher's Treasures! Philippe and Ashlan Cousteau are filming season 2 of 'Caribbean Pirate Treasure' that will air on the Travel Channel (Air Date TBA). This week they traveled to the Atocha and Margarita wreck sites with us to learn more about our shipwreck salvage operation and to take part in recovering 400 years old artifacts alongside our crew.
Kerry Sanders, an NBC News Correspondent, joined in on the treasure hunting adventure with our crew and the Cousteaus. Tune in to the TODAY Show on Thursday, February 8th at 8:00am to eyewitness this week's adventures!
Day 1 Historic tour day - Atocha museum, Morro Castle, etc.
Day 2 Seminars at the Hemmingway Marina ending in a gala hosted by the Commodore featuring special guest along with Cuban cuisine and music!
Day 3 Old town Havana tour – (Tropicana show in the evening)
Travel options will be a flight from Miami to Havana or Sailing across the Gulf Stream on an historic Schooner, Atocha style. We are working with a local group that has done this before, has a good grasp of the current visitor's policy between the United States and Cuba, and also has excellent contacts in Havana. This will only accommodate a limited group of people so finding out who would be interested in participating in July is crucial at this stage. We are not sure about the cost breakdown until we get a firm grasp on the number of people and a proposed agenda. The current estimate is between $3,000 - $5,000 per person. This is still in the early planning stage. At this point we would love to hear from each of you that have a serious interest in being a part of this event. Please contact Megan at 305-296-6533 to have her pencil you name in on our list or call Onett 305-294-5266 if you need more detailed information.
The Magruder went out last week to the Quicksands area on the Atocha site. The crew recovered 1 silver coin, 2 encrusted objects and a good sized pottery sherd. The weather was great until the wind picked up and a high pressure system started Friday, causing the crew to come back to the docks earlier than expected.
"For years, people have asked me if I have any exciting shark stories. After all my time working the Atocha site, I've never had a good shark story until this week's trip. We set up our anchor lines and we were getting ready to tighten them. I was in the wheelhouse and I saw something splashing about 100ft off the bow. I saw a shark and realized he had a porpoise in his mouth! We believe it was a tiger shark about 8-10 feet long. The porpoise was able to escape at first, but the shark caught him again and they continued to struggle. We think that the porpoise was able to escape in the end. It was amazing to see something so fierce, yet natural, and to have a front row seat to witness it. After this sighting, the crew was a little nervous to go in the water because the visibility was still low." Andy Matroci
So what's happening moving forward with our salvage operations?
Now that the worst is over, we're hoping that hurricane Irma may have uncovered a few prizes for us on the Atocha and Margarita trails! To give you an idea how much a hurricane as powerful as Irma can change the seafloor, consider this; the Cayman Salvager is a 137 foot vessel that was sunk in Key West as an artificial reef. It sits in about 96 feet of water and during Irma it was moved over 300 feet across the ocean floor! Most of the area surrounding the Atocha and Margarita debris trail is known as the Quicksands and if you are diving in this area it looks like a desert with rolling sand dunes. During normal weather patterns these underwater sand dunes shift and change. Maybe it's time for Mother Nature to uncover some of the treasure that has been resting undisturbed on the ocean floor since 1622!
This week while the wind and seas are still too rough to work on the site we have been discussing plans to fly a plane over this area of both wreck sites and take digital photos of any anomaly's that stand out and mark their position with a handheld GPS for the boats to check out. We're looking at doing this sometime next week so stay tuned for more information on this.
Currently the Dare is being kept at our hurricane hole in Jacksonville due to the unsafe condition off the east coast of Florida. If you've been watching the Weather Channel at all you've seen them reporting on the 10-13 foot seas off of New Smyrna Beach just south of Jacksonville! This strong on-shore wind has been building the seas since hurricane Maria passed by last week and we haven't been able to get a window of calm weather to get the Dare back offshore for her return to Key West. We're hoping to get them underway by early next week before another tropical system has a chance to spin up.
It was a very productive season on the Lost Merchant project in terms of the amount of search area we covered before the hurricanes started rolling through. We had three hurricanes that kept us moving the Dare to avoid their wrath. Once Irma passed, we had tropical force winds from Jose, and then Maria.
As you know, we have a small window of opportunity to search for the Lost Merchant each year and this season was a battle all the way but we did generate some good targets and will be processing all of the side scan and magnetometer data over the next few months.
The Magruder made it through the Hurricane with flying colors, but after a mechanical inspection we found that the power of Irma's winds forced rain water up the exhaust pipe on one of the generator motors preventing it from starting. The crew got on it right away and the problem has been resolved. At this time the Magruder is fueled, provisioned and ready to resume the search along the Atocha Trail. We expect the weather to keep us at the dock for at least another week, but we are ready to go!
The Sea Reaper evacuated to Mexico and after Irma passed, the crew went out to the Saint Margarita site. The Sea Reaper is working toward our quest to recover the missing section of the Santa Margarita. Work started along the Eastern side of the main wreck scatter in an area that had no previous excavation. Material was light for the most part. On the very first excavation, the team recovered a lead musket ball, which was the first of 49 recovered throughout the day. We always get excited finding musket balls in a new area because more often than not, divers tend to find gold artifacts in the vicinity. Mel used to always say that "lead leads to GOLD!" The next day, musket balls continued coming up, totaling 76 for the trip! Aside from the occasional olive jar sherd or encrusted object, very little material was being recovered. The following day, Captain Dan Porter decided to move to an area along the main trail that had light excavation. From there, they concentrated on the Western section of the site, finding lite material including lead sheathing, olive jar sherds and ballast. Then, on the last excavation of the day, a diver surfaced with a silver coin and an encrusted object.
Stay tuned for more exciting news as the weather calms down and things heat up on the sites!
Watch the Magruder crew's reaction to the gold find! We recovered a similar artifact in 1985. We are excited for the boats to come in and bring the new find to the lab for our experts to examine! Stay tuned for more information from this week's trip.
Katie Dirkes found a beautiful dark emerald while emerald sifting on the Magruder.
The Sea Reaper crew found a silver coin and a cannon ball on the Margarita site.
Thanks to our members for submitting their Diving and Emerald City photos taken during Division Week! We'll be announcing the upcoming July and September Emerald City dates soon. 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, thank you for your encouragement, support and participation in Mel Fisher's Treasures' Expeditions.
Captain Andy and crew are finishing up installation of the Magruder's new 50 KVA generator. We also have a pair of new mailboxes for the Magruder that need to be installed. This installation will require pulling the Magruder out the water to build frames to hold the mail boxes in place.
As soon as we get a break in the weather our boats will head back out to the sites!
In the News 2012
In the News 2011
In the News 2010
January, 2010 -- Sharon Wiley
November, 2009 -- Sharon Wiley
September, 2009 -- Sharon Wiley
July, 2009 -- Sharon Wiley
November, 2008 -- Sharon Wiley
November, 2008 -- Sharon Wiley
October, 2008 -- Sharon Wiley
June, 2008 -- Ron Pierson
June, 2008 -- Sharon Wiley
February, 2008 -- Sharon Wiley
January, 2008 -- Sharon Wiley
December 2, 2007 -- Sharon Wiley
October 25, 2007 -- Sharon Wiley
October 10, 2007 -- Sharon Wiley
August 15, 2007 -- Sharon Wiley
July 12, 2007 -- Sharon Wiley
June 15, 2007 -- Sharon Wiley
December 13, 2006 -- Gary Randolph
July 10, 2006 -- Ron Pierson
June 7, 2006 -- Sharon Wiley
May 17, 2006 -- Sharon Wiley
April 28, 2006 -- Sharon Wiley