Winged Victory

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Henry Jones and Tracy Newman are geared up for another day of diving for sunken treasure aboard the Perfect Day.


In July 1715, a fleet of 11 Spanish ships and one French frigate set sail for Spain, overloaded with passengers, goods, livestock — and tons of silver, gold, jewelry and other riches. Less than 400 miles out of the port of Havana, a raging hurricane hit the eastern coast of Florida, sending all but the French ship to the bottom. 

More than 1,000 souls were lost. But others survived, and when word about the disaster was relayed to the Spanish strongholds in Havana and St. Augustine, a recovery operation was organized. A large amount of the treasure was brought up soon after, and more was discovered beginning in the 1960s, but there’s still plenty that remains buried in the ocean bottom just off the beaches of Sebastian, Vero Beach and Fort Pierce.

That’s what attracts people like Capt. Henry Jones, First Mate Tracy Newman and the rest of their crew on their boat the Perfect Day. They’re one of a dozen or so crews that head out in their boats each summer to search for sunken Spanish treasure. They all do it as subcontractors for 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC, which owns the exclusive salvage rights to the wrecks through the U.S. District Admiralty Court and under permanent contract with the state of Florida.

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