The Passing of another Dive Icon!
This week brings an end of a dreamer’s life story. Treasure hunter Mel Fisher died Saturday after a long battle with bladder Cancer. Our condolences go out to the Family for thier loss.
Mel Fisher, a onetime chicken farmer whose discovery of sunken treasure made him a millionaire, was a person who dreamed of finding Spanish galleons filled with Gold, silver and jewels. His discovery and the documentation on CBS Today Show, changed the world of Archeology and the process of sharing the wealth of discovery. His approached brought the search into every household worldwide and stimulated others to make films and adventure deeper into other Wrecks like the Titanic.
His 76-year-old voyage in life had both glory and anguish. His triumph came in 1985 when his son, Kane, discovered the wreck of Nuestra Senora de Atocha. The Spanish galleon sank in September 1622 off the Marquesas Keys, small islands west of Key West. The find contained an estimated $400 million worth of gold, silver and jewels. The Atocha was a gamble that paid off at the bank but had a costly effect on the family. Fisher lost a son and daughter-in-law when the search boat they were on capsized in 1975.
Fisher combated public opinion and government to pursue his lifelong dream of combing the ocean floor for buried treasure. Mel found the first silver coin from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha in 1971 to the site of the main pile in ’85. Florida officials maintained that wrecks discovered within Florida’s three-mile territorial waters belonged to the state. Fisher took his fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which awarded him all the artifacts from the Atocha.
His storybook life was sullied in recent years with accusations of fraud. Fisher, whose mantra was “Today’s the day,” did not always get what he set out for. Last year, a judge ordered Fisher’s company to hand over booty from a sunken Spanish galleon for ruining more than an acre of protected sea grass off the Florida Keys while looking for shipwrecks. In addition, in November, Fisher’s company pleaded no contest to charges it sold counterfeit coins and paid a fine of $67,000.
Dreams are what have changed the view of Diving around the world. Adventure underwater started with an engineers dream. What does the future have in store for US!