Spanish galleon Concepción

Treasure hunter to set out from Miami, seeking $100 million in gold

By Mike Clary

The treasure is out there: a fortune in shipwrecked silver, gold bullion and centuries-old artifacts, in the crystalline waters of the Caribbean, just waiting to be found.

And Burt Webber Jr. is confident he'll find it.

"It's not just about getting rich," said Webber, referring to at least $100 million in riches that went to the bottom after the Spanish galleon Concepción foundered on the Silver Bank, about 80 miles north of the Dominican Republic, in 1641.

"It is also history, the mystique of it all. It is just fascinating."

Now 65, Webber won renown as a treasure hunter in 1978 when he first located the Concepción and recovered booty then valued at $14 million.

But more remains, and when Webber and his 13-member crew head down the Miami River aboard the Ocean Lady next week, they will take with them an unprecedented array of high-tech hunting gear.