Wednesday, May 18, 2005
7 News Features: Sunken Treasures
There's something romantic about searching for lost treasure. But is it a lost art. Not for a group in the Florida Keys which will hunt for millions in gold and silver this summer. The night teams Patrick Fraser has details in his special assignment report: "Sunken Treasure."
WSVN -- From the time we are kids, we dream of finding one.
Treasures lost or hidden for hundreds of years, but it doesn't just happen in the movies.
Treasure finder Craig Boyd: "What these are, are fresh caught silver coins."
Craig Boyd is a South Florida treasure hunter -- a very successful treasure hunter.
Craig: "That's a clump of coins."
Craig made his fortune on a wreck called the El Cazadore. A Spanish vessel filled with silver coins that went down in a Gulf storm in 1784.
Craig: "To find a big mass of coins is unlike anything you've ever ever done."
Craig's crew hauled in tons of silver coins.
This pile, just a small part of what they recovered is worth more than $200,000 dollars.
Craig: "I sell them for a hundred dollars up to a thousand dollars."
And now Craig is ready for possibly his biggest treasure hunt ever.
Craig: "Just head south and get out into about 30-feet of water and then head toward the Marquesas."
Hand written GPS coordinates on a piece of paper; kept secret from everyone but the captain of our boat.
It takes us 50 miles from Key West -- where Craig believes he knows where to find another hidden treasure.
Craig: "We're up in here."
The ship is the "Margarita" -- one of nine treasure ships that went down in a fierce hurricane on September 6th 1622.
Parts of the margarita's treasure have been found; but only parts.
This is the area where they believe the main load of the margarita sits. An estimated $70 million dollars worth of treasure. So why hasn't it been found? Well, you have heard of a needle in a haystack, try finding a silver coin in the middle of the ocean.
Craig: "There’s heavy currents and a lot of sand. So it's ah, it's going to be a difficult one. But, we'll manage."
These charts show where gold and silver and other treasures of the margarita have already been found scattered in a wide path across the ocean floor.
Keith Webb from Blue Water Ventures II, Inc: "We just have to figure out where it went from there."
And if anyone can find it, it just might be Craig Boyd.
Keith: "Craig has a bit of history of finding treasure where other people can't."
Keith Webb bought the rights to salvage the margarita, then he went looking for the best treasure man available -- Craig Boyd.
Keith: "It's a lot of work involved. But, the payoff is usually huge."
Craig has been hunting and finding treasure since his early 20's.
Craig: "Can't think of anything else I'd rather do. To be able to find treasure is everybody's dream."
And Florida is the place to make that dream come true.
Old trade maps show where thousands of ships filled with treasure sailed past Florida on their way back to Spain.
All too often hurricanes drove those ships into Florida's reefs and shallow coasts. Dumping their treasures on the ocean floor for someone to one day find.
Craig: "It doesn't happen everyday but it does occasionally."
Even though others have failed to find the margaritas main treasure these men believe they will succeed because of new technology.
Craig: "Technology has evolved so much in the last four of five years. That it really can help somebody that has a gut feeling like Craig and his team of divers."
In the next few days, they will begin that hunt.
For now -- they start testing some of the equipment.
Craig: "Let the test begin."
Among the devices Craig and his divers will use is an under water metal detector.
It beeps in his ear when it detects metal. It can even find a single coin a foot and a half below the sand.
When he hears that the digging begins -- with divers hoping to find a coin like this one.
Craig: "The Spanish, they left all this gold and silver littered on the bottom of the ocean. I think it's my job to pick it up."
And Craig hopes this $70 million dollar sunken treasure will make him very lucky -- one more time.
Federal and state laws prevent just anyone from collecting treasure off the bottom of the ocean. You have to have specific contracts and there are rules and regulations to follow.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Blue Water Ventures II, Inc.
Captain Craig Boyd's Website: