Need an adventure? How about searching for a sunken treasure that has been missing for five hundred years? It sounds like the stuff of legend, or the plot for a Hollywood movie, but believe it or not, there are all kinds of opportunities out there for a scuba diver to discover a lost fortune. You just have to look. And you have to know what you’re looking for. Maybe reading this will be your inspiration.
The United Nations says there are over three million shipwrecks on the ocean floors. Many of them have never been found, and many still contain untold caches of riches. Gold. Silver. Fine China. The list of treasures is nearly endless. And that is why these lost wrecks are intriguing to divers, archaeologists, and treasure seekers. Here are some of the most famous, or infamous:
The Asiatic Prince. in 1928, after embarking from Seattle, only a few weeks into her maiden voyage, the ship vanished in the Pacific Somewhere between Yokohama and Shanghai. It wasn’t reported until later that the ship was carrying over $250,000 in gold bullion intended for a Chinese bank in Shanghai. Though vessels from both the US and Japanese military searched tirelessly for the ship, she was never found. The last distress call from the Asiatic Prince was one inauspicious word, “Pirates.” Was she plundered or did she sink with her treasure intact?
The Flor do Mar. Hailing from Portugal, this 400 ton ship was returning to Europe after the conquest of Malacca in 1511, transporting a prodigious treasure trove for the Portuguese king. When the Flor do Mar cruised alongside the northeast Sumatran coast, she was caught in bad weather and was dashed on some shoals. The ship sank in the night and the cargo was lost. Today the Flor do Mar lies in the seabed just waiting for some intrepid adventurer to discover.
Galleon San Jose. Dubbed “Holy Grail of Ship Wrecks” It was June, 1708. The War of the Spanish Succession was raging, and a British squadron of four ships under the command of Captain Charles Wager endeavored to seize a Spanish treasure fleet of three Spanish warships and 14 merchant vessels. The biggest warship, the San José, had 7 to 11 million pesos on board. In the combat with the British, the ship exploded, bringing the loot and crew to the seafloor. The treasure is valued today somewhere between $4 billion to $17 billion. After almost three hundred years, in 1980, the wreck of the San José may have been found. Or maybe not. Due to a lengthy and bitter court battle between the Colombian government and a group called Sea Search Armada, we may never know. Sea Search Armada is the only group who even says the ship still exists, making it one tantalizing sunken treasure story.
Want to know more about the world’s famous lost treasure? Read “Galleons and Sunken Treasure” by Claudio Bonifacio. Read “Historic Shipwrecks of the Dominican Republic and Haiti” by Lubos Kordac. Between them you will find at least a hundred. “Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure in Southeast Asia” by Bronze Cannons is chock full of listings too. So what are you waiting for? Get out there, because all kinds of sunken booty is still waiting, undiscovered, ready to make all your treasure hunting dreams come true. Just be sure to get the proper permits and declare your findings to the proper authorities. Don’t be a plunderer like these guys.
Sources: listverse.com | theshipslist.com | treasurenet.com | wikipedia.org | sedwickcoins.com | trove.nla.gov.au