Treasure hunting can be as dull as finding a penny in the sand at the beach, or as rewarding as $300,000 off the coast of Florida. Luckily for Rick Schmitt and his family, it’s the latter. Schmitt, his wife, and their two (adult) children recently unearthed portions of an almost 300-year-old treasure. The family discovered a gold ring, five gold coins, and most impressively, 64 feet of gold chains in water just six feet deep.
This prized treasure originates from a convoy of 11 ships that were traveling from Havana, Cuba to Spain in 1715. The unit, often referred to as “The 1715 Treasure Fleet,” was bringing treasures from the New World back to Spain.
The fleet was destroyed in a hurricane of the coast of Florida near present day Vero Beach, leaving most of its treasure on the ocean floor. This devastating shipwreck inspired one of Florida’s many nicknames, “The Treasure Coast.”
The Treasure Fleet allegedly carried over $400 million of treasure yet, centuries later, only $175 million has been found. The spoils are said to have included silver, gold, indigo, tobacco, exotic spices, and gemstones. The legendary wreckage even inspired two films: “Fool’s Gold” and “The Deep.”
Schmitt’s treasure-hunting family was fortunate enough to find a portion of the infamous treasure about 150 yards off of the Florida coast. The family is no stranger to finding riches in their travels. In 2002, they uncovered a $25,000 silver platter. This time however, after years of endless searching and anticipation, Schmitt feels that “this is like the end of a dream.”