Underwater riches: sunken treasures around the world
It would take over 400 years to excavate all of the wrecked ships currently unclaimed on the oceans floors. But just think of all the treasure you might find.
Flor de la Mar – Sumatra, Malaysia
Among the richest shipwrecks never recovered, the 16th Century Portuguese vessel, Flor De La Mar was lost around 1511 in a storm off the northern coast of Sumatra. Containing the stolen treasures of the Melaka kingdom in modern day Malaysia, the Flor de la Mar’s cargo, including 60 tons of gold remains undiscovered despite lying in some of the best diving waters of the world.
Merchant Royal – Dartmouth, UK
Britain’s largest unrecovered treasure haul lies just 21 miles (34 km) from Land’s End in Cornwall. The Merchant Royal, returning to England with a cargo of Spanish treasure sank in bad weather on 23 September 1641, containing 500 bars of gold, silver and precious stones. Bring a dry suit and a torch.
San Jose – Baru Peninsula, Colombia
In 1708, during the War of Spanish Succession, English Commodore, Charles Wagner captured and sank Spanish treasure ship, The San Jose in less than 1000 feet (305 metres) of crystal blue water, between the Isla del Tesoro (known as treasure island) and Baru Peninsula. The San Jose’s cargo is estimated today at a value of more than $1 billion.
Nuestra Senora de Atocha – Key West, Florida, USA
In 1985, Florida treasure hunter Mel Fischer hit the mother lode when, after 16 years of dedicated hunting, he located the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha about 35 miles (56 km) off the coast of Key West, Florida. Carrying a haul that included over 40 tonnes of silver and gold, 100,000 Spanish coins and Columbian emeralds, Fischer’s family now run diving holidays around the Atocha where artefacts continue to be uncovered.