In Nassau Sound, you would most likely find tricky waters to navigate, shark infestations and a narrow, remote pass where the Nassau River meets the Atlantic Ocean, but that does not stop Doug Pope in his treasure hunt. As president of Amelia Research & Recovery LLC in Fernandina Beach, it has been his lifelong quest to find the Spanish Galleon “San Miguel.” The season to start salvaging will begin in two weeks, when the surrounding waters are most calm. What is the total value of the entire loot aboard the San Miguel? Everything aboard the ship, including gold and silver bars along with coins and jewels to have a value of up to 2 billion dollars.
Despite Pope and his employees’ excitement, they have endured through years of persistence, optimism and struggle. The treasure salvaging business is a tough one because you have to meet government regulations and with that in mind, a treasure hunter cannot just start searching on his/her boat and drag the ocean floor. The article states, “Treasure hunters have to submit permit applications to the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, while there are also historical and archaeological regulations that stipulate what’s to be done with relics when they are found”. Pope believed that the attitude directed towards the treasure industry has improved. Pope says, “We were treated like stepchildren before. Now we are treated like business people.”
Taffi Fisher-Abt, daughter of Mel Fisher, the most famous treasure hunter of the past half century states, “We are enriching the environment by pulling out a lot of trash that’s in the ocean. We find a lot of trash that we do not want to find again so we clean the ocean up.” The tools used by Pope include a magnetometer to pick up iron or steel clusters from the ocean floor and a excavator that is lowered into the water to remove sediment. When a hole is created from the excavator, the divers then enter and search for treasure. Pope has worked with the government regulators and the entities involved that give back to the Florida economy have a huge impact on the state. All those involved in the treasure salvage business really amp up our economy. Through all the regulations and complications, the persistence of Pope and other treasure hunters continues to live on.