A Trip To Davy Jones Locker

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Me and Sponge Bob <g>

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about a trip so I thought it would be fun to share another adventure of mine. This time it’s Key West. I love the Keys and was fortunate enough to make port in America’s southern most city during a cruise in 2003. Key West is famous for many things; Jimmy Buffet, Ernest Hemingway, its sunsets, and the beginning or the end of Highway 1 depending which side of the street your on. But I’m not going to blog about any of that because for one, they’ve been written about so much there’s nothing more I could add, and two, I have something much better to waste your time reading. Let’s just say, I saw all that other stuff and it was neat and interesting blah, blah.

Okay drum roll please…ratty-tat-tat. Today’s blog is about the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum.

 

Key West is situated at the corner of Here Comes Another Hurricane North and There Goes My Spanish Galleon West. Those poor Spaniards. Let’s just say it’s an understatement to say they lost several hundred to Davy Jones locker over the years. With such a treasure diver’s paradise I had to visit at least one maritime museum. Key West has some great ones too like the Pirate Soul, and Shipwrecks Maritime museums. But I-always lead to the tune of my own drum – headed towards the closest one within bladder walking distance. I had to use the bathroom so bad I paid $10 to get in.  Besides it was a good excuse to get my pal Lore, not a museum fan, into one of those things. <g> I can’t remember why I had to go potty so bad since the humidity was 200% but for some reason I was my own cistern.Anyway I digress- Mel Fisher was a diver who came across a couple of shipwrecks, the Nuestra  Senora de Atocha and the Santa Margarita. In 1622 these two galleons loaded with gold and silver, probably from the local retirement community at the time, headed off to Spain planning a brief stop in Cuba along the way. Well I don’t know what they were thinking, maybe the captain and crew were drunk but they sure as hell sank in a storm just several miles off shore.So you might be asking what was on these ships? Well the Atocha alone was loaded up with 24 tons of silver bullion in 1,038 ingots – -an ingot is metal cast into a bar, 180,00 pesos of silver coins, 582 copper ingots, 125 gold bars and discs, 350 chests of indigo, 525 bales of tobacco, 20 bronze cannons and 1,200 pounds of worked silverware. This does not include items being smuggled to avoid taxation, or the unregistered jewelry and personal goods found aboard such as a 77 carat emerald.  The ship sank with 265 people onboard and only five people survived by holding on to the mainmast.As I pursued through the museum I also saw a solid gold belt, gold chalice, and a gold chain that weighed more than 7lbs. That was in addition to personal affects like hairpins, jewelry boxes, and quill holders. There was so much information to read I could have stayed there all day. The Spanish first took the gold and silver from the new world to Cuba via a fleet of twenty ships, from there the bounty was separated and transported to Spain, Peru, and Columbia. Key West also is filled with stories about Ship wreckers and how they made their living off salvaging wrecked ships. Mel Fisher spent sixteen years searching for the mother load of all shipwrecks and with persistence and patience it paid off. If you are ever in Key West it’s worth the time to check out this museum which displays the King Tut of sunken treasure.carib-trip-2003-021.jpgGold ingots

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Quill holder

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Gold chain weighs 7lbs

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Captains Desk

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Gold necklace

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Quills   

      

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2 Responses to “A Trip To Davy Jones Locker”

  1. Loved the Travel Blog today! So glad you decided to “waste my time reading it” as you said! I’ve only been to the Keys once and that was early in my career with AA. I’ll have to see about going back someday!

    DL

    PS/ Did Sponge Bob have Squarepants? Or… No Pants since he had the sponges covering him? 😉

  2. Sounds like a great time and cool pics!!

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