1715 Fleet Shipwreck
Mel Fisher’s First Treasure Find
On July 24th, 1715, Spain’s treasure-rich “New Spain” Fleet sailed from Havana, Cuba with a cargo valued at fourteen million pesos in silver, gold and jewels. One week into the voyage near present day Vero Beach, Florida they were met by a furious hurricane resulting in the loss of eleven of the fleet’s twelve ships and 700 lives. Only one ship, a chartered French vessel, survived. Fourteen million pesos in registered treasure were lost in one of the worst maritime disasters of all time. The wreckage of 11 ships was strewn over a forty mile area from Ft. Pierce to Cape Canaveral on Florida’s east coast.
For nearly 250 years the sea would hold the precious cargo secret, only occasionally tossing a blackened silver coin or other object to the shores as if to taunt would-be discovers. Not until the 1960’s would these shipwrecks begin to give up their treasures.
To this day, the 1715 Fleet continues to reward those who possess the knowledge, fortitude and courage to explore the often turbulent and treacherous waters just offshore of what has consequently become known as Florida’s “Treasure Coast.”