[meteorite-list] Buried Treasure - OT
From: Greg Hupe <gmhupe_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon Oct 4 20:36:54 2004
Dear list members,
I found buried treasure!
I know that many of you enjoy treasure hunting as much as I do. In fact,
meteorite hunting is one of many forms of treasure hunting so I thought I
would share one of my latest adventures with you.
After 23 years of serious thought and planning of treasure hunting the
Florida coast, I finally found some. While in high school, I had dreams of
traveling to the Florida "Treasure Coast" in search of lost riches from the
ill-fated Spanish 1715 Plate Fleet. It is called the "Plate" fleet due to
the abundance of silver (Plata in Spanish, hence the name, 'Plate'). The
fleet of 12 Spanish galleons sank off of the east coast near Vero Beach and
Ft. Pierce, Florida after a violent hurricane over took the unsuspecting
After high school I had planned to fly to the Florida east coast after a
hurricane in search of gold and silver, which washes up onto the beach after
serious storms and hurricanes. Much is buried under several feet of sand,
which is stripped away after such acts of Mother Nature. I suppose it is her
way of giving some back after taking it nearly 300 years ago. I would plan
to use a metal detector for the task.
I had waited over 20 years without any hurricanes hitting the area directly.
Who would have thought that after moving to Florida a few months before that
a succession of hurricanes would devastate Florida, two of which hit Vero
Beach and the surrounding areas dead on within weeks of each other! I now
had two occasions to drive the 2-hours it would take to get to one of the
richest galleon wrecks sites known.
During the wait for a hurricane to hit the area, I did extensive research on
the Internet about where the wreck sites where. I settled with directions
and coordinates from a web site that looked good.
The first trip was a few days after Hurricane Frances tore through the area.
I went three times during a 2-week period and found many modern U.S. coins
and a few artifacts from the site, mostly bronze rivets and possibly one
very weathered Silver Half Real. I will have to take that one to the local
museum to verify.
Click here to see damage created by Hurricane Frances
That's me on the right holding metal detector
Click here for picture of artifacts
The second hurricane, Jeanne, would do even more damage and expose more of
the older layers of beach. I made two trips to the coast and didn't find
anything, not even a penny, during six hours of searching the first day. The
night before my second outing, I decided to compare coordinates and
landmarks from the web site and from a book written by one of the original
finders of these wrecks. I discovered that the web site missed a large
southern area of one of the wrecks closest to the beach. I decided I would
try the area from the web site first and then go to the southern area
overlooked by his notes.
Click here to see up to 8-feet of sand removed by hurricane
After my research for the night was over, I decided to watch the movie,
"Pirates of the Caribbean" for good luck, or as the saying goes, "Good Luck
equals Preparation plus Opportunity". I would find out the next day just how
true that is.
The next morning, after 2-hours of detecting the well-searched area of the
web site location, I went to the southern area I wanted to investigate.
After approximately 30 minutes, I found my first Spanish Silver Real in
excellent condition. I couldn't believe it, here in my hand was a 300-year
old piece of Spanish treasure! I was elated and looked around me to see if
there was anyone who saw my body motions or heard my voice exclaiming in
delight. No one was around so I felt confident nobody realized I had found a
Click here for a picture of the Silver Real at the beach
Notice damaged dock in background
Click here for a picture of the Silver Real
I jotted down notes and made a detailed map for future searching. I
continued in a grid pattern to search the site very carefully and was
rewarded with a small caliber musket ball from an old pistol. This, too, was
from the 1715 fleet. Another few minutes and I found my second coin, which
was not in as good of condition.
Click here for image of musket ball
Click here for picture of encrusted coin
I continued my search, when after another hour, my metal detector blared out
the alert of another find. This time I found a gold ring in very good
condition. It was still in its perfect circle-shape but the outside was
dulled from the many years of abuse from sand abrasion. The inside had some
coral growth but revealed brilliant gold along the areas of encrustation.
Click here for picture of gold ring at the beach
Notice damaged dock in background
Click here for picture of gold ring
I feel very fortunate to have found such pieces of history. It is amazing to
hold these objects after being lost for nearly 300 years. I will continue to
search the area in the upcoming weeks. I hope you enjoyed reading about my
adventure as much as I have doing it.
The Hupe Collection
Received on Mon 04 Oct 2004 09:36:48 PM PDT