Treasure Hunters

Brent Brisben displays an encrusted swivel gun found by the treasure hunters. Source Queens Jewels.
Brent Brisben displays an encrusted swivel gun found by the treasure hunters. Source Queens Jewels.

SEBASTIAN, FL (WFLX) - There's no better way to immerse yourself into the riches of the deep than right here on the Treasure Coast than throttling out of Sebastian Inlet for another shot at finding gold.

"It's really been an amazing adventure. It's really exciting to think of all the vast treasure that lays just beneath our feet," said Brent Brisben.

Everyday during the summer, Brisben, co-founder of Queen's Jewels of Jupiter and Sebastian, takes that adventure to a new level. He gave us a rare look at the life of treasure hunter. He and his company have the sole salvage rights to hunt for treasure in this area.

There's treasure all over, like a canon that remains in tact. It took awhile to find because it blends in with the coral reef.

For three months, when the weather is calm over the summer, they go to work out here, and it's all business. "He might find something modern. He might find shipwreck. We don't know until he brings it up," said Brisben.

The equipment is cumbersome. It's more than just metal detectors and scuba gear. Vessels are used to blow out craters in the sand sometimes from a depth of two feet deep right on the beach.

Just to give you an idea of how big this search area is, the crew operates all the way up to the shoreline then a mile offshore. They cover 50 square miles of Florida's east coast. "We really have a comprehensive mapping system that shows us where every artifact that has been found since 1983, so we can tell you with the latitude and longitude lines out here exactly where these artifacts were recovered," he said.

When they do find artifacts, the excitement ripples through the boats.

One day, last year, they dropped in a hole and found a canon full of coins; $250,000 in treasure came up that day alone. They were the first to touch it in 300 years. "It's exciting 'cause you never know what the day's going to bring," he said.

This is a Herculean effort that to date has netted them more than a $1 million in gold and silver coins, cannons, musket balls, swords and pottery.

The excitement builds every minute knowing there's a scatter pattern from 11 Spanish galleons that broke apart during a hurricane in July of 1715 and left a fortune buried in the sand yet to be discovered. "We wake up everyday believing that today is the day."

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