Some people log onto Google Earth and spy men sitting on the toilet. Others find buried treasures of a different kind.
At least that is the claim of Nathan Smith, a Los Angeles musician. Mr. Smith was noodling around on Google Earth one day, randomly examining parts of the Aransas Pass in Texas. Suddenly, his eyes darted to a shoeprint-shaped outline near Barketine Creek.
His suspicions and, presumably, his vast knowledge of history, were sufficiently aroused for him to believe that what he had found was the wreckage of a Spanish barquentine (think large boat with three or more masts) that supposedly met its final resting place south of Refugio, Texas, in 1822.
Mr. Smith scuttled off to consult a few experts and concluded the ship and its treasure was worth $3 billion. With all due promptness, he grabbed hold of a metal detector and drove all the way to the site.
One small problem: the land appears to be part of a ranch owned by the late Morgan Dunn O'Connor.
You will feel palpitations in the deeper part of your throat to discover that this has all ended up in court. Mr. Smith's lawyers believe that the land beneath which the ship is submerged is navigable waterway.
If they're right, U.S. law says the first person to find abandoned treasure gets first dibs on the spoils.