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Top 5 Strike It Rich Vacation Spots for the Sunken Treasure Seeker

Updated on June 5, 2012

For the Sunken Treasure Seeker

Are you a water lover? Do you love to dive, or want to learn? Have you ever imagined yourself gliding gracefully through an underwater wonderland, searching for sunken treasure? Well, I live in South Florida and have access to some of the most beautiful beaches in our great United States of America. I can also tell you that there is a rich maritime history of Spanish fleets meeting with uncompromising weather conditions or battle or piracy and some of those floundered ships have come to their final resting places in the waters around the southern tip of Florida, the Florida Keys and the Cayman and Bahamian Islands. Some of those ships contained some pretty impressive weaponry for the era of their creation, for those of you who are interested in cannon and other armaments. And…many of those ships contained items not declared in their manifests…treasures like gold coins, jewels, gold and silver bars and many gold artifacts! And, some of this sunken treasure is just waiting to be discovered by…yes…you and me!

Why do I talk about sunken treasure?

Well…you take summer vacations don’t you? Whether you’re married with a family or single, if you love the water as I do, I seriously doubt that you haven’t fantasized about diving for sunken treasure! Why not consider some of the top 5 strike it rich vacation spots for your next vacation? Let’s talk briefly about some of the more interesting ones I have discovered in my research…

Nuestra Senora de Atocha, Key West, Florida

This is likely one of the most, if not the most, interesting of the top 5 strike it rich vacation diving spots you’ll encounter. Most of us know the history surrounding the discovery of the American continents by Christopher Columbus. As most of us also know, Spain and Italy financed his trip. But, did you realize that, in the century following the discovery of the Americas, Spain profited hugely from her new world colonies and became perhaps the most powerful nation at that time in Europe? They profited from taxes on goods being shipped from Central and South America by their own Spanish merchants. This enabled them to afford the protection needed from the English, French and Dutch and to become the richest and strongest nation in Europe. The Atocha and its sister ship, Santa Margarita, were part of this “commercial water highway”.

The fateful voyage of 1622 of these two ships and the other treasure and merchant vessels in their convoy is a very interesting story about which an entire article could be written…if this were a history article. But, since it is an article about top 5 strike it rich vacation spots and diving for sunken treasure, we will forego any more historical discussion. The important facts that we are concerned with now are that these ships floundered in a hurricane in the area of the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Straits and their pieces and parts are scattered for miles. Gold, silver, jewels, gold coins and other precious pieces are being washed along the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico with each passing storm. The ships have been broken apart and continue to be battered by stormy seas. The estimated worth in today’s economy of just what was loaded into the holds of the Santa Margarita alone is over $400 million. What could you do with the discovery of precious jewels, gold and silver today? Wouldn’t be nice to find out? This top 5 strike it rich vacation spot might well be worth a trip to Florida!

San Jose, off the coast of Marathon, Florida

This Spanish galleon was shipwrecked in 1733 when it encountered a hurricane as it labored up the coast of Florida. It is said that she carried close to 7 million pesos in gold when she lost her battle with that hurricane. In today’s economy, 7 million pesos is equal to $506, 191 in US dollars. The wreck was found in relatively shallow waters so your dive wouldn’t be a deep one. They are still finding artifacts south of the wreck but it is suggested that more interesting finds could be located in the area to the north due to the direction of the hurricane’s path.

Angustias, off the coast of Long Key

This Spanish Galleon perished in the same hurricane as the San Jose and is said to have carried 20 million pesos of gold and silver. In today’s economy, 20 million pesos is over $1.4 million in US dollars. It is felt, by divers in general, that by searching the waters between the wreck and Long Key could yield treasures that could have been carried by survivors who tried to swim to the closest land. Conjecture from those who research these things indicates that these treasures may have been deposited along the way, either by the death of the person or by the need to lighten their load, in an attempt to get to a safe haven. This could definitely be something worth checking out!

Other East Coast Sites

The southern tip of Florida is not the only place along the eastern United States coast where you will find sunken treasure diving sites. Off the coast of Vero Beach, Florida you will find the sunken remains of the 1715 Spanish fleet that perished in yet another of our famous Atlantic hurricanes. There are precious coins washing up on the beaches along a 10 mile stretch of Sea Grape trail in Vero Beach. The wrecks are resting in fairly shallow waters and contain a wealth of interesting treasures, both precious metal types and those marine life treasures. These wrecks are being salvaged by Mel Fisher and his subcontractors and are covered by the Admiralty laws. This means that you are prohibited from using a metal detector in the waters around these wrecks.

Dive the Carolinas

The waters off the coasts of the Carolinas also offer some pretty interesting diving sites. These sites provide recovery opportunities for artifacts of all types as well as some really amazing marine life scenarios. Many of these sites have been given the “historic” designation so be sure to check out the guidelines and restrictions if you dive them.

To Summarize

Diving shipwrecks can provide you with some pretty diversified discoveries. You might find jewels or gold and silver coins or just some really cool history of our great country. The riches that lie at the bottom of the ocean will amaze you! Why not give it a try! Try the top 5 strike it rich vacation spot of your choice.


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