Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
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It was the shipwreck of the century. Twenty-eight ships set off from Havana in 1622, bound for Spain and carrying the wealth of an empire; silver from Peru and Mexico, gold and emeralds from Colombia, and pearls from Venezuela. As they entered the Florida straits, a violent hurricane struck the fleet. It left eight vessels broken on the ocean floor, their treasures scattered from the Marquesas Keys to the Dry Tortugas.
In 1969, Mel Fisher and his Treasure Salvors began their quest to find the ship Atocha. They spent long years following the wreck's elusive trail, sometimes finding nothing for months, then recovering bits of treasure that teasingly indicated they were close to the ship and its cargo. Their persistence paid off in 1973, when they discovered three silver bars matching the weights and tally numbers found on Atocha's manifest, which had been found in Seville. Fisher knew the major wreck site was near.
In 1975, his son Dirk unearthed five bronze cannons whose markings clinched identification of the Atocha. But only days later, Dirk, his wife, and a diver died when a salvage boat capsized. Yet Fisher and his intrepid crew persevered. By 1980, they had found a portion of the Santa Margarita and her fortune. Then in 1985, Fisher's son Kane sent a jubilant message: "Put away the charts; we've found the main pile!" At long last, the Atocha's "mother lode" had been found.
Top archaeologists and conservators teamed up to excavate and preserve the find a task that took many more patient years. Today, treasures from the Atocha and Margarita; artifacts that had lain on the ocean floor for three and a half centuries are the cornerstone of this museum's collection. And a tribute to the vision of a man and his sons.
A historical gold mine
The English merchant-slaver Henrietta Marie sank off Key West in 1700, shortly after delivering 190 captive Africans in Jamaica. The wreck, found in the 1970s, has yielded shackles and rare artifacts its valuable "treasure" is the wealth of information about the maritime slave trade and roots of racial inequality. Today, a bronze marker facing the African shore commemorates the courage and suffering of enslaved African people.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.