Christmas Story by Kim Fisher
What I did on my Christmas Vacation
by Kim Fisher
Back in the 1980s, like many companies, my parents would shut down operations from just before Christmas until just after New Years Day. Of course, the gift shop would have to stay open so people could come to buy a piece of history for Christmas. Other than that, we let everyone have that time off to be with their family and loved ones. Usually, at that time of year, we have one cold front after the other and it is just too dangerous to work in the high seas and wind that accompany the cold fronts, so we didn’t miss out on workable weather.
1986 was a little different. Most of the boat crews had gone home for vacation and then five days before Christmas, like a Christmas present to us, the weather laid down flat calm. We were still bringing up substantial quantities of treasure from the “Main Pile” area of the Atocha, so we had five boats operating that year. Dad didn’t want to pass up the window of good weather, so he had me gather up all the crew that was still in town from the various boats and make a short trip with the Magruder just before Christmas. We headed out to the “Main Pile” and what a trip it turned out to be!
I set up the Magruder with a four-point anchorage just on the East edge of the main ballast pile. On the first dive of the day Vince Trotta came up with a beautiful, and really big, gold and emerald brooch. Gold and emeralds are not affected by the corrosive action of saltwater, so it was just as shiny as the day it sank. It had one of the largest cut emeralds ever recovered from the Atocha and there was saltwater trapped behind the emerald. The emerald was so high quality and clear that if you laid the brooch flat in the palm of your hand and gently rocked it back and forth you could see the saltwater sloshing back and forth behind the emerald. Soon after and on the same dive Vincent Trotta came up with a magnificent gold and emerald cross. It was actually a rosary and on the cross were some of the most beautiful dark clear emeralds I have ever seen. There were also two teardrop-shaped emeralds hanging from each end of the cross, so we nick-named it the “Tear Drop” cross. We found a lot of other artifacts that trip but what a Christmas present that Rosary was and how appropriate.
A beautiful gold and emerald cross for Christmas!
Merry Christmas to all!
Today’s the day!