Treasure Hunting: 6 Dive Expeditions that Hit the Jack Pot

Arrgh mateys, think that childhood dream of a big wooden chest heaped with gold coins, rubies and strings of pearls is the stuff of make believe? You better think twice, because crucial sunken treasure is out there, swallowed up by the big blue sea just waiting to be discovered. Here’s a list of 6 recovered deep sea treasure troves.

Black Swan Spanish shipwreck discovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration
In 2007 underwater robots made a spectacular discovery in the Atlantic Ocean- 595,000 silver and gold coins dating back to the 18th century. The estimated worth- a whopping $500 million. Taking the treasure wasn’t an easy feat though, and an excruciatingly 5 yearlong legal battle ensued between the Florida based treasure hunters and Spanish government. In the end, Spain won big time, and one of the greatest treasures ever discovered can now be viewed in several national museums.

S.S. Gairsoppa discovered by Odyssesy Marine Exploration
Odyssey did it again; this time with their discovery of the 412-foot British cargo steamship that went down off the coast of Ireland in 1941 due to a German U-boat strike. But, she didn’t go down without a stab to the heart- taking over 48 tons of valuable silver with her. The mystery of her resting place was solved in 2011 and excavations are set to begin in 2013.

Nuestra Senora de Atocha, discovered by Mel Fisher
The infamous Nuestra Senora de Atocha went down near Key West, FL in 1622 after a hurricane blew her and 40 tonnes of silver and gold, 10,000 Spanish coins and Columbian emeralds to the briny bottom for centuries. In 1969 treasure hunter Mel Fisher began a 16-year quest to find the illustrious ship and her cargo, which him and his team accomplished in 1985. Just goes to show you- perseverance pays off!

S.S. Port Nicholson discovered by the Sub Sea Research Company
This massive British freighter went down in 1942 due to enemy attack during WWII off the coast of Cape Cod. The bad boy held the mother load- an estimated  $3 billion in platinum bars, gold bullion and diamonds; payment from the Soviet Union to the U.S. for war supplies. The jaw dropping cargo of precious metals has yet to make it to the surface.

San Pedro Shipwreck discovered by Teddy Tucker
The world-renowned treasure hunter discovered this great 1596 wreck in 1951 while searching for some fishing traps in the turquoise waters of Bermuda. It would become the first greatest sunken treasure to ever be found in the 20th century. Amongst the wreck were numerous gold pieces, bronze, tools, ceramics and silver coins. The ultimate prize though, was a breath taking emerald studded gold crucifix, dubbed the “Tucker Cross.” Unfortunately, the cross was stolen while on display in a maritime museum in Bermuda, and to this day its whereabouts are unknown. Can you say Ocean’s Eleven?

The Java Treasure Trove discovered by Cosmix Underwater Research Ltd and Paradigma Putra Sejathera PT
Discovered in 2004 by Luc Heymans and his team of divers off the coast of Indonesia, pearls, rubies, red sapphires, garnets along with beautifully preserved perfume flasks, glassware and decorated dishes lay piled beneath the salty waves, thought to be part of the Fatimid Dynasty around 976 AD.  A team of 30 divers and 22,000 dives recovered the enormous booty. Estimated at $80 million, 50% of proceeds went to the Indonesian Government while the rest went to the lucky dive team.