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    December, 2016


  • October, 2016

  • BY MANDY MILES - Key West Citizen Staff

  • Jason Smause, a diver with Mel Fisher’s Treasures, surfaced from a dive last month holding a 46-inch-long metal object that had lain on the ocean floor for exactly 394 years, almost to the day.
  • Before Smause, the last person to have gripped the hilt of the slim sword known as a rapier would have been a Spanish sailor who would have worn the rapier at his hip.

    “That’s what’s so cool about this find is that it’s a genuine weapon, a dueling sword that would have been carried and used by sailors and soldiers in the 1600s,” said Capt. Andy Matroci, captain of the treasure-hunting boat, J.B. Magruder.

    Matroci meticulously maps the areas of the vast ocean that his crew will search with underwater, handheld metal detectors. They’re seeking — and still finding — remaining treasure from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, the Spanish galleon that sank in a hurricane off Key West in September 1622.

    The storm sent the ship and most of her crew and cargo to the ocean floor, and scattered some of it in a miles-long trail over the churning waves.

    Matroci’s crew aboard the Magruder returned to Key West on Sunday, bringing with them the prized rapier, as well as several other ancient artifacts, including square metal spikes such as were used in the construction of the galleon, as well as some pottery pieces. The treasure was found under about 15 feet of sand in an area known as the Quicksands, Matroci said.

    Once on land, the rapier and other artifacts were turned over to John Corcoran, chief conservator for Mel Fisher’s Treasures. Corcoran will carefully and patiently wait for a process known as electrolysis — when an electric current moving through water — is used to remove the rock-like layers of concretion from the rapier and its handle.

    Much of the blade is exposed, but the hilt, or handle, remains covered in concretion and will take months to conserve, Corcoran said.

    Additional pieces of treasure that look the same on the ocean floor are the ancient emeralds from the Atocha. Investors in the continuing treasure hunt were able to participate in the search for Atocha emeralds last month, and retrieved five emeralds from the ocean depths, adding to the coffers of this year’s treasure finds.

    And finally, a subcontractor group of divers has been working the site of the Atocha’s sister ship Santa Margarita, which sank in the same storm in 1622.

    Crews from the Sea Reaper, which includes Mel Fisher’s grandson, Josh Fisher-Abt, have been continuing to excavate the Margarita wreck site and last month returned with something that to an untrained eye looks like an oddly shaped rock. But the skilled eye of a treasure diver knows those rocks are actually clumps of silver coins that have been joined together by centuries of concretion.

    Corcoran will also be busy removing the concretion to expose the coins that haven’t been touched in nearly 400 years. 

    The treasure crews will return to their underwater work once the winds and water calm down following Hurricane Matthew, Matroci said.


  • September, 2016

  • We're excited to announce that another five emeralds were found during the last Emerald City trip of the season! Our members worked alongside the Magruder boat crew in the 'dark emerald area' of the Atocha Trail. Typically when our team is working this area fewer emeralds are discovered, but the ones found are of a significantly higher quality due to the color and clarity. With the exception of Saturday's tropical depression that came in from the south, we had great weather. It has been an exciting week here in the office listening for a radio call every time an emerald was found!
  • Congratulations Mark Long, Mary Baumann and Laurie Coe on recovering your very own piece of history!
  • Emeralds Found Mel Fisher's Treasures

Emeralds Found Mel Fisher's Treasures


  • August, 2016

  • The boats are back in port this week due to the tropical system that passed just to our south. It has moved into the eastern Gulf of Mexico and is strengthening a bit and projected to turn Northeast and head into the Tallahassee area as a tropical storm in a few days. The seas should calm down by early next week and we will be back on site by next Wednesday.

  • “Cocktail Bill” coming up with the adze

  • Captain Andy and crew came in a few days ago with some great finds from the Northwest end of the Atocha trail. They found 5 silver coins, a lead musket ball, spikes, pottery shards and a carpenter's adze which is a tool that is similar to an axe but its cutting edge is perpendicular to the handle and is used by shipwrights to shape wooden timbers and beams on the ship.

    They also found a very interesting artifact that looks like a flat, 4" square piece of stone that could be onyx! We'll have to wait and see what our conservator John Corcoran finds out when he researches this piece. Captain Andy said that he remembers finding a similar but large piece like this back in 1986 from the Main Pile area of the Atocha site. We'll let you know what we find out.
  • Captain "Papo" and the Dare crew are also back in port after locating a number of EM hits, one of which turned out to be a large iron bomb strap that held a 400lb navy bomb on the bottom of an airplane many years ago when this area was used as a live fire bombing range. This work was also captured by a Discovery Channel film crew that was on board the Dare as part of a show that will air in January or February called "Cooper's Treasure".
  • You can find out more about it here!
  • Before the film crew arrived, the Dare crew spent an exhausting few days trying to locate EM target #683 in the deep hard mud using the suction dredge that's temporarily replacing our failed airlift compressor. They excavated a 14ft diameter area centered on the hit coordinates, went down about 4ft and still have no reading on the hand-held detectors. This had us scratching our heads a bit in frustration and we started questioning the target. Was the big hit from the small 3" bomb fragment we found 6" down on the initial circle search we conducted before we started excavation? Was it a false positive target?

  • While the tropical winds are blowing, we decided to go back and try to analyze the data once again but in much more detail this time. We called on our EM engineers, the guys that developed this EM system and came to some very positive conclusions.
  • - The target is not the shallow 3" bomb fragment we found, way too big for that.
  • - It is not a false-positive, we saw the same target on two different runs in the same spot, and raw data looks good.
  • - The target appears to be NON-FERROUS!!! (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Copper) See our results below.
  • - We must have just missed it and need to widen the 14' diameter excavation area.

  • From our EM/Geophysical experts:

    “I looked at the raw data and by comparing the “I” and “Q” values of this anomaly it appears NON-Ferrous (I and Q values are correlated).  I have attached a zoom-in of the I/Q values for this anomaly in all three coils.  Also attached is a slide that we've briefed in the past showing I/Q values over various non-ferrous and ferrous items.  If you look at the data in this slide you can see “I” and “Q” are correlated for non-ferrous items and anti-correlated for ferrous items.”

    This image shows hit #683’s signature in the 3 receiver coils with the plot for the I & Q values matching up on top of one another which is a very good indicator that this target is NON-Ferrous!

    This image shows the EM signature of a few ferrous and non-ferrous test targets. You can see on the aluminum and brass pipe targets that the “I” (in-phase) positive red and negative blue signals line up in the same order as the “Q” (quad-phase) signals below indicating a non-ferrous target.

    This is very exciting and we can't wait to take delivery of our new Kaiser M57 Offshore air compressor next Tuesday and head out to the site to relocate and identify this great target!!!
    Stay tuned…


  • August, 2016
    Check presentation to Wesley House Family Services

  • Mel Fisher's Treasures Wesley House
  • August our Mel Fisher's Treasures team presented a check to Wesley House Family Services for $15,500 as a result of Mel Fisher Days 2016! A big thank you goes out to everyone who came to our events and supported the charity! See you at Mel Fisher Days 2017!

  • August, 2016
    See Mel Fisher's Treasures on Channel 10

  • Watch Mel Fisher's Treasures tonight on 10News WTSP’s ‘On The Road’. Last week reporter Bobby Lewis joined us here in Key West to explore our Treasure Store and our conservation lab!

  • July 20, 2016

    Thirty-one years ago today, Mel Fisher and his golden crew were the first to lay eyes on the Atocha's Motherlode since it was lost in 1622. From that momentous day forward, many lives have been touched with this inspirational story of hard work and perseverance. July 20, 1985 will always be a monumental day in Mel Fisher's Treasures' history and we continue to add more "Today's the day" moments as we search for the rest of the Atocha and Margarita treasure. Our continued success wouldn't be possible without our brave crews, our investors, and the community of Key West!

  • Thank you to everyone who attended Mel Fisher Days events and supported the Wesley House. We greatly appreciate all the businesses that donated to our annual silent auction and all of our volunteers who gave a helping hand at our events. Congratulations to all of our contest winners! We are still totaling up the proceeds we raised for Wesley House Family Services, stay tuned for the final count!

  • July, 2016

    Mel Fisher Days t-shirts are going fast, don't miss out on our first ever $2,500 T-Shirt Lottery! Purchase your Mel Fisher Days T-Shirt at either of the Mel Fisher Locations in Key West or at the Mel Fisher Days events for your chance to win! T-Shirts are on sale now until Saturday, July 16th at the "Party Like a Local" Block Party. There will be one winning T-Shirt! The winner will be announced at the Block Party at 9:30 pm. Winner must be present with the winning T-Shirt to claim the treasure chest filled with $2,500 in gold Dollars! Key West store locations: 200 Greene St. & 613 Duval St.

  • May, 2016

    Unfortunately tropical storm Colin has kept us at the dock for the last week but the skies are clearing and we are heading back out to the wreck site tomorrow!

    Captain Andy and the Magruder crew will be heading back up the trail to the Quicksand's in search of the Stern Castle. The Dare will be heading back to the deep mud to uncover the "hits" they recorded on the last trip. Stay tuned for updates!

    Click the image below to watch the Dare setting anchors.

  • May, 2016

    It was a great week out on the Dare!

    We began checking our most recent EM targets in an area at the north end of Emerald City and located a number of bomb fragments and modern material but also found a crushed cup of some sort. It is a very utilitarian looking cup with a flat, metal strap handle and looks to be made of silver, lead or tin. It will take a little time for John in our conservation lab to determine what it's actually made of so stay tuned!

    We then moved the Dare up the trail to an area of deep mud that no one has worked since the 80's, if at all. We had a few magnetometer hits in the area from past surveys so we picked an area and began our survey with Dolores and the EM system. After generating more targets we began the process of locating and identifying them to help build our target profile library and fine tune our new EM file processing software. During one of our excavations with the mailboxes, John had a small hit on the hand held metal detector. After digging through approximately 3 feet of hard mud, the dive crew said the hit was making the metal detector scream! After more digging, the divers started to reveal what looked like part of a barrel hoop from the Atocha. The excitement soared as the deeper they dug they recovered a fully intact barrel hoop and still had the detector screaming in the bottom of the airlift hole. The digging continued and more parts of barrel hoops where recovered. We hit this area with the mailboxes again hoping to get further down into the hard packed mud to see if there was anything else hiding there. We found a small E.O. (encrusted object) which looks like silver, but again, we'll have to wait for it to be cleaned up in the lab to be sure.

    As our trip was coming to an end the weather forecast was calling for small craft warnings, so we decided to do more survey work in the northwest direction. We flew Dolores and the EM system for a good part of the day covering as much ground as possible before Mother Nature forced us back to port but not without new targets for our next trip!

    The initial results of this survey look very promising! Check out the "Latest Finds" video below to watch the guys uncover the fully intact barrel hoop.

  • May, 2016

    After crunching some of last week's EM data Vice President, Gary Randolph, is excited to announce that it looks like he has an interesting target!

  • Mel Fisher's Treasures Historic Shipwreck Recovery
  • One of the reasons he is excited about this target is because when we surveyed this area with a magnetometer in the past we didn't get any hits close to this spot. This suggests that this new EM target may not be ferrous (iron) in nature. If it is a true non-ferrous target (i.e. gold, silver, copper, bronze) we may have something very interesting from the Atocha here.

    Stay tuned as the Dare is underway now heading to the Atocha site to dig out this "hit".

    Mel Fisher's Treasures Historic Shipwreck Recovery

  • March, 2016

    The wind has let up and the Dare is underway to the Margarita site!

    Captain Andy and his crew are still working on the Magruder. The main objective has shifted from the mail boxes to making sure the hull is sound and seaworthy. During their hull inspection process they identified quite a few areas in the hull that need to be patched so this is the priority at the moment.

    The Dare will work the Margarita site as long as this calm weather holds. The crew will be working a spot just to the west of the "Cannon Ball Clump" area which in years past, produced a significant amount of gold chains and gold coins indicated by the yellow marks on the chart below.

    Mel Fisher's Treasures Mag Hits Shipwreck Atocha Margarita

    They will also be checking a number of large magnetometer hits just to the south of the Margarita Main Pile area. These hits are along the incoming track (green line) of the Margarita and will hopefully lead to some new areas for us to work. Here is an example of one of these hits.

    Mel Fisher's Treasure

    On March 28th the engineers for Dolores are scheduled to come to town and update the inertial navigational system for Dolores, our HAUV to eliminate the position error we've been experiencing. Shortly after that she should be heading to the Atocha site to begin the survey of the deep mud area south of the main pile. We have a few clusters of magnetometer hits down this line and need to investigate them with the EM detection system to see if there are any non-ferrous (silver, gold, bronze) targets mixed in with the iron mag hits.

    "If it were easy everybody would be doing it!" - Mel Fisher

  • Once the Dare is back in service, we're planning to haul the Magruder out for a similar job. We have a few small keel cooler leaks that need repair and we're in the process of considering some new mailboxes as they are starting to get a bit tired.

  • The weather's been lousy so far this month with the Magruder only getting in one short trip so it's a good time to get this much needed maintenance work done and be ready to hit it hard this season!

  • January, 2016

    We hope everyone had a great holiday season and we wanted to give you all an update on what's happening here in Key West this month. The Dare has been hauled out of the water and the crew is currently working hard to clean the bottom after two years of growth in preparation for some fresh bottom paint. During this process, we also inspect all the thru-hull water valves, zincs, transducers and do a full inspection of the hull for any cracks or damage. We are happy to report that the hull and all fittings are in great shape and the crew is almost finished with cleaning and sanding the bottom. If the rain lets up early next week she will have two coats of bottom paint put on, the new zincs installed and a new grounding plate is being installed to give all of our sensitive electrons a good ground path.

  • Once the Dare is back in service, we're planning to haul the Magruder out for a similar job. We have a few small keel cooler leaks that need repair and we're in the process of considering some new mailboxes as they are starting to get a bit tired.

  • Mel Fisher's Treasures

    The weather's been lousy so far this month with the Magruder only getting in one short trip so it's a good time to get this much needed maintenance work done and be ready to hit it hard this season!

  • Archive 2015
    Click here to see more 2015 stories

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