Search on for sunken treasure ship off Jupiter coast

By John Bachman - bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - The hunt is on right off the Jupiter Inlet: Treasure hunters expect to head underwater Monday and look for artifacts from a Spanish ship, packed with treasure, that sank more than 350 years ago.

The Polly L, a treasure hunting ship, has taken up a prominent position right off the Jupiter Inlet. If you've been to the beach there, you've certainly noticed it.

"It's a love. You just love it, being a little kid again, and the thrill of the hunt. It's great fun," said Scott Thompson,

Thompson is one of the investors on the aquatic archeological dig. They've know about the remains of the Spanish ship, the San Miguel Archangel, a galleon for about 20 years.

It was a courier ship, hauling coins and other items from South America back to Spain before it sank during a winter storm in 1659. They've recovered treasure off the Jupiter coast before, like silver coins, about 350 found at the sight just this last year. But, this year, they are hoping to find what Thompson calls the 'mother load'.

"We found the gun deck the captains cabin, the cannons and anchors, but, somewhere out there, the hulls laying out there. And that's going to have a lot more in it we are hoping," said Thompson.

This not so motely crew consists of treasure addicts, like Thompson, archeologists, volunteers, deck hands and divers, plus Doug Pope, who captains the Polly L.

"We're pretty excited about it. It's going to be a lot of archeology uncovered here at this site," said Pope of Amelia Research & Recovery out of Middleburg.

He says his vessel is the only one of it's kind with this special device to blast away the 20 feet of sand that covers the wreck. And once things get started, he says, his crew will hop in the water for some long hard days.

"We can excavate for 14 hours a day, pretty much every day, as long as weather is less than, say six foot seas, we can work," Pope said.

But the pay-off they are looking for is more than just coins or other treasure. They say the greatest treasure would be finding the actual remains of the vessel and the important historical knowledge that will come with it.