Monday, December 7, 2015


7 December 2015: Before we get to today's topic, it is appropriate, given the date, and the special anniversary it represents, to observe a moment of silence for our fallen comrades who were among the 2,400 who gave their lives in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
USS Arizona sinks following attack on Pearl Harbor

And now, on to our program for today! It has been in the news repeatedly over the past week that the government of Columbia has discovered the wreckage of the "San Jose" galleon, sunk by the British off Cartagena in June 1708.

While called the "holy grail of shipwrecks" no human eyes have seen it in over 300 years, but it is reported to be carrying a cargo worth in excess of $1 billion in gold, silver, gems, and jewelry taken in South America. The ship, part of the annual "treasure fleet" was en route to Spain to add to the King's coffers to finance his war against the British... some irony, there, I think!

The find has an interesting history - modern, that is - in that the Columbian Government, in 1982, hired a firm, Sea Search Armada, to find treasure wrecks off their coast. Interestingly, the company was owned by the late Michael Landon, John Ehrlichman, and other American investors. They found the wreck, more or less identified it, and that's when things got interesting. The Columbian government overturned the traditional 50-50 split rules and offered Sea Search a 5% "finder's fee". Of course, this precipitated a law suit in the US, which failed in 2011. And the Columbian Supreme Court ordered the wreck to be recovered before any international dispute over the prize can be settled. Of course, Sea Search did not offer the location of the find, so the government started over. In November, they claimed success. And Sea Search has basically said, "told you so!" but it would appear they are out of it now.

The government has indicated a long recovery process but has offered pictures and video of the site showing cannons, jewels, and containers on the ocean floor.

There is sure to be more on this amazing find as the recovery process gets underway, and we will try to keep you posted on new developments. It is exciting and the Columbian government is sure enough about the veracity of the discovery that they have announced the construction of a new museum to house the plunder from the wreck.

Until next time,
                              Fair Winds,
                                     Old Salt

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