An Atlantic Tale

by: Davis Yancy Clegg


Some dreams are meant to be washed away by the hurricane like paces of adolescence. Many dream of being a fireman, a marine biologist, or the ever-popular President of the United States of America. Then there all the “salts” of us who dream of treasure! The only kind of treasure I can think of that would be better than buried treasure would be sunken treasure. Preferably encased by an ocean bottomed vessel. Just from doing some light diving in the Bahamas, I can attest that treasure hunting in the ocean carries with it a certain sense of purpose. From an entire ship, all the way to a banister from a staircase to every piece of wreckage – small or large – takes on a “booty-full” meaning for the explorer. One treasure that has been the voice of the eccentrically thrilling hobby is the treasure of the San Miguel. In this instance, the hunter I speak of is a one Doug Pope. In a seemingly never-ending stretch of nature’s fineSan Miguelst manipulation, the sun sets as Doug first acknowledges there might be something more to the Nassau Sound than meets the eye. With many visuals to distract like Bird Island, Big Talbot Island, and the Sound, he holds strong to a vision that there is much more than aesthetic riches to hold captive. To discover the riches beneath the deep blue surface is an entirely life-consuming undertaking.

In the early 18th century,
there was a Hurricane of terrifying proportion. Imagine a time with no television, no radio, and not knowledge of how to safely whether such an event. The best guess is that it escaped while other ships in the fleet were outright sunk. Or more likely, the San Miguel crashed and sank somewhere along the some 40 miles of coast between Amelia Island and St. Augustine. Fortunately, there are some very convincing bits of evidence that lead us to be near certain of the San Miguel’s whereabouts. This was derived from many remnants discovered near the southern point of Amelia Island. There were several items of significant historical value brought up in this location. One item I find particularly interesting is called a jewelry furnace. All jewelers keep them to be used in melting down precious metal scraps. Very valuable scraps though – to elaborate. Also amongst the wreckage were gold coins and cannons. Imagine stumbling upon items of such historical significance and value. They were able to deduct this to be the San Miguel because of all the items being trademarks that indicate a Spanish ship nearby. A true “Indiana Jones” moment if there ever was one. Along with the fore mentioned booty, there was much more discovered from the San Miguel’s unceremonious end. There was so much more that the estimated total of the find was upwards of 2 Billion dollars. That is one fat stack of cash my friends. To give you a visual idea of how much 2 billion dollars actually is, let’s considered it in weight. One million dollars in the highest denomination of U.S. circulated currency – the $100 bill – weighs right at 22 pounds. I’ll assume I’m not in 8th grade math and spare “showing my work,” but that amounts to 2 Billion dollars equaling over 44,000 lbs/22 tons. Insane right!

Treasures of San MiguelTreasure Hunters are a breed of adventurers and researchers. It takes an incredibly bold amount of faith to stick to your guns in believing what you seek is – in fact – there. The puzzle to solve here is complicated but not without a solution to be found. Only time and technology along with some good ole fashion sand-sifting will tell the tale. Unfortunately, the state of Florida has had their craft grounded for several years at this point. But that doesn’t take anything away from the heart and diligence of those like Pope who are able to conjure up to pursue their dream of unearthing the greatest of treasures known to date. We can take a page from their book in our own pursuits. Whether they be making it to work on time, or attaining the nickname “POTUS,” our self worth comes down to accomplishing what we set out to achieve or going down in flames honorably in the effort. Treasure hunting isn’t only for the wealthy and equipped though. You can ignite such a passion within yourself as well as your children with little effort that brings great reward. Simply taking a walk through the shifting beach tide hunting for shark teeth can be as enthralling as boarding a creaky-planked ship headed into the unknown.


How about going on a visual treasure hunt with the Amelia River Cruises?  

Take the Cumberland Island Tour and see wildlife along the way.  Remember kids cruise free in November.


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