Monthly Archives: July 2015

Treasure Hunting: Documenting the Continuing Odyssey of the World’s Most Famous Treasure Hunters

Love&Treasure Cover_07-1   Adventure seekers have a different genome than most of their fellow human beings. They are programmed “to go where no one has gone before,” as Gene Roddenberry recognized in his Star Trek explorers. Human history celebrates the great risk takers among us who demonstrate an irrepressible drive to explore and to discover the limits of our endurance and our imaginations. Each one is a determined treasure hunter although the goals may be as diverse as a scientific breakthrough, a new direction in classical music, art, or literature, or even the gymnastic miracle of a quadruple spinning jump. There are those among us who dare the impossible and achieve amazing results. For Love and Treasure documents the continuing odyssey of the world’s most famous treasure hunters.

The recovery of the $400 million Atocha treasure in 1985 made Mel Fisher and his family worldwide celebrities, but this was not the end of the quest. For 25 years Kim Fisher (President of Mel Fisher’s Treasures) and wife Lee Fisher (Vice President) have continued the search for the missing Atocha sterncastle, which is believed to contain a chest of Muzo emeralds worth hundreds of millions of dollars. With advanced technology of treasure hunting into the space age; and with additional undersea treasure targets, an underwater trail of emeralds, silver pieces-of-eight, gold bars, and important archaeological artifacts is still productive dive season after dive season off the Florida Keys.

Author Monty Joynes in Key West. Photo by Shawn Cowles.

Author Monty Joynes in Key West. Photo by Shawn Cowles.

Serious discussions about writing the Kim and Lee Fisher biography began early in 2014, and I began a month-long residency in the Fisher home where I shadowed them daily through their personal and business lives. In their corporate executive office, I sat at a desk across from their administrative director, dove into their company archives, and began to interact with and interview the key individuals of the company that included department heads, archaeologists, artifact conservators, boat captains, and the certified diver crews.

I attended the adjudication of treasure artifacts (found in 2013) by the Federal Court and then joined the festivities of Division Week when expedition members came to Key West to receive their share of the treasure itself. With this unique access, I was able to talk to scores of expedition members about their dive adventures and get to the heart of their motivations. Along the way, I made friendships with some of the most significant individuals in treasure hunting history, and there are individual chapters in the book that tell their exciting stories.

In all, For Love and Treasure took more than a year to research and write. The final month was devoted mostly to editing the nearly 100 photos that appear in the book from more than 1,000 that were found and evaluated. My intention in writing For Love and Treasure was to provide a historically authentic reference to the field of modern treasure hunting while honoring the Fisher family’s contributions to this still challenging and dangerous adventure.

These explorers are not like us. They possess an indomitable drive to search and discover. In essence, their quest is not for either wealth or fame. They rather pursue the thrill of discovery itself. For Love and Treasure is their story, and I trust that meeting these unique individuals on the page will provide a kind of treasure for you, too.

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Filed under Famous People, Writing