Mel Fisher Days to Celebrate Key West Shipwreck Salvager July 15-19
By: Bob Nesoff
Thoughts of hunting…and finding…sunken treasure makes the heart beat faster. The thrill of diving into the ocean and spotting a long lost galleon filled with gold, jewels and artifacts is the dream of virtually every scuba diver. But it’s not that easy. Mel Fisher, who discovered the legendary Atocha, the Spanish galleon that sank some 400 years ago loaded to the gunnels with treasure paid an enormous price. He lost his son and daughter-in-law while on the hunt. He spent countless hours researching old Spanish documents and separating fact from fiction and then, when he did find the Atocha, he had to deal with governments who never gave a thought to locating the treasure, but now that it was on the radar, wanted not a share, but all of it. Fisher fought off the modern day pirates and managed to hold on to most of what he had found. Today visitors to Key West can belly-up and ogle the amazing treasure he pulled from the depths and fulfilled the dream of thousands.
Exclusive guided tours of the conservation laboratory at Mel Fisher’s Treasures, 200 Greene St., will be offered all day. For tour registration, visit www.melfisherdays.com.
The adventure moves to the 200 block of Key West’s Front Street for Saturday’s 6-10 p.m. Mel Fisher Days “Party Like a Local” Block Party. The fun includes a free concert, food and drink vendors, dancing and a silent auction with “bounty” ranging from treasure to travel. One partygoer wearing a 2016 Mel Fisher Days T-shirt will win a treasure chest filled with $2,500 in silver dollars. T-shirts can be purchased starting July 11 at Mel Fisher’s 200 Greene St. or 613 Duval St. locations, or during the Friday and Saturday events.All net proceeds from Mel Fisher Days festivities benefit the Florida Keys’ Wesley House Family Service.
Event schedule, costs and registration: www.melfisherdays.com
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Note: Resident Insider, Bob Nesoff, has been an avid scuba diver since the early 1960s and, like so many others, dreamed of sunken treasure. He never found any, but courtesy of his wife, Sandy, he now is the proud owner of a silver coin brought to the surface by Mel Fisher. The coin, purchased as an anniversary gift in St. Thomas, is mounted with a gold min-scuba diver. Bob and Sandy will give the artifact an opportunity to visit the rest of the treasure on display at the Fisher Museum this fall.