Gold Chains of the 1622 Fleet
By James Sinclair
Perhaps one of the most unanticipated finds from the 1622 Fleet shipwrecks is the gold chains. This was a class of item that while expected turned up in numbers that were truly staggering. The first of the gold chains to be found came from the area where the first galleon anchor was found in the area of the Quicksands that was dubbed the Bank of Spain.
The first of the chains to be found was a small example but it none-the-less brought much excitement. Brought to the surface by photographer Don Kincaid, it was a thrilling moment for those involved. While some silver coins had been found, along with the galleon anchor, the presence of gold made the find that much more real and exciting.
This is the story of Mel and his family's search through the years.
Originally written by Bleth McHaley & Wendy Tucker
July 20, 1985 was "the day" at last when Mel Fisher, the world's greatest treasure hunter, found his dream of dreams, the priceless treasure cargo of the fabled lost Spanish galleon Atocha.
The following account detailing the ill-fated voyage of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and her sister ship the Santa Margarita from Havana to their final resting place at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Key West, Florida was written by archeologist R. Duncan Mathewson III and can be found in his book, Treasure of the Atocha. An exciting adventure story of the search and discovery of what is proving to be the most fabulous treasure wreck of all time can be found in the book section of this site.
The Ghost Galleon
The Ghost Galleon In the century following Columbus' dramatic voyage of discovery in 1492, the riches of her New World colonies helped make Spain the most powerful nation in Europe. Taxes on goods shipped from Central and South America by Spanish merchants enabled Spain to defend its Western Hemisphere claims against the English, French, and Dutch, and to extend its empire halfway around the world into the South Pacific.
The Atocha and its sister ship, Santa Margarita, are tragic milestones along this broad commercial highway (called Carrera de Indias by the Spanish) that carried
The Poison Cup Story
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.
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.
✞ Whether you wear it as a symbol of religious faith or a fashion statement, our Amethyst Cross is truly beautiful. This museum quality re-creation piece was made to resemble a cross recovered by Jack Haskins in 1989 while sub-contracting with Mel Fisher Center, Inc. The shipwreck which some researchers believe to be the Nuestra Señora de la Regla (nicknamed the Cabin Wreck) was part of the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet.
August 4, 2012 a beautiful gold box ring with a 2.75 carat emerald was found on the Atocha site by the Magruder crew. This was not the first box ring found on the Atocha and Margarita site. As you can see from portrait below the box ring was very popular in this time period. Queen Elizabeth I painted by unknown English Artist, oil on panel, circa 1600, shows several examples of this style.
Treasure Hunter, Syd Jones, former Capt. of Mel Fisher's salvage vessel J.B. Magruder and Operations Manager
Treasure Hunter, Syd Jones, former captain of Mel Fisher's salvage vessel J.B. Magruder and Operations Manager, shares his favorite Today's the Day moment on the Margarita shipwreck site. Tune in and here about a BIG find!
Treasure Hunter, Andy Matroci, the captain of the JB Magruder, brings to life the first time he found GOLD! Mel famously said, "Once you have seen the ocean bottom paved with gold, you'll never forget it!" When did you first catch gold fever?
Today's the Day!
Did you know our Taffi Fisher Collection pieces are museum quality re-creations made with 100% Atocha Silver?
This jewelry line is made from silver bar #85A-S948 recovered from the motherload of the Spanish shipwreck, Nuestra Senora de Atocha, in July of 1985.
Watch and learn more about this jewelry line from our Virtual Treasure Specialist, Taffi Fisher Aby herself!
Southernmost Atocha Anchor Found
Report by James J. Sinclair, MA
On August 20, 2005, the survey vessel “Huntress” captained by Gary Randolph and diver and conservator John Corcoran were checking their mag hits (magnetometer anomalies) that had been located during one of their recent surveys. The area that they were searching is located between the outer reef line and the “Main Pile” or primary cultural deposit (PCD) of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, 1622. This area is logically the area that the Atocha passed over while sinking on that fateful day in September of 1622 and the goal of the survey was to determine if any material from the sinking was present in this area.