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Thread: Belize Shipwrecks

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  1. #1
    bz
    Jul 2009
    16
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    Belize Shipwrecks

    I live in Belize and am a citizen of it and would like to know if there is any interest out there to come to Belize to explore for shipwrecks. The government oversight of things here is not very intense and Belize is a country where one could easily find something and disappear, as seen in this story, taken from this great website ( http://ambergriscaye.com/fieldguide/history2.html) detailing Belizean shipwrecks and what is known to have already been recovered from them------ On the main coast of Belize, there is a rocky promontory named Little Rocky Point. In the 60's a Chilean came to Ambergris Caye and purchased a large tract of beach front property north of Tres Cocos (now the Peter Handcock property). Despite his land holdings on Ambergris Caye, his attentions seemed to be focused on Little Rocky Point on the mainland. He hired quite a few residents of San Pedro to help with excavations in the Little Rocky Point area. One day all of the workers were laid off and apparently then the Chilean went back to Little Rocky Point. He then returned to Ambergris Caye, and about the time a Mexican gunboat appeared off the Caye. Both gunboat and the Chilean left the island. Speculation has it that the Chilean had a treasure map of some kind, and may have recovered a substantial treasure that he spirited elsewhere.

    Today that kind of thing would be harder to do up on Ambergris Caye but very easy to do out on any of our three atolls. Lighthouse Reef, Turneffe, and Glovers are all littered with shipwrecks with one of them being described as follows-----1785 Spanish galleon lost on the northeastern tip of Turneffe carrying $800,000 in specie (unverified reports indicate the remains of an old ship in this area).

    For those trusting souls who like to do things the somewhat legal way, Belize has always been a place where extra cash placed in the right government officials hands can get permits and practically anything you want. But it is also a place still very much inhabited by pirates and where no one takes laws very seriously.

    I have not seen very many threads on here about Belize even though it should be a very interesting spot to treasure hunt and there are a preponderance of sunken English vessels littered about that one could claim to have found whilst grabbing booty from Spanish ones and thereby avoiding the wrath of Spain who was once a thief and always a thief. Having grown up in the Caribbean, I look at governments as just pirates with bigger armies pretending to be legit so I have no problem with not rendering unto them what they think is theirs. It seems that some who post here do not think that way, but they have never spent years of labor at treasure recovery shedding their blood, sweat, and tears at it and doing it in a legal way only to find that when they strike the mother load, some government comes along and reneges on their contract and takes it all from you.

    Most people who post here probably dont have much money for sponsoring missions of recovery but for those who dream of doing it and who have some means, perhaps Belize could be the place. We definitely have never been swamped with treasure hunters here and no one has any big stories about finding the mother lode so it has either been done very circumspectly in the past or it just has not been done yet.
    ridgecrawler likes this.

  2. #2
    au
    made in Madrid

    Jul 2008
    BRISBANE
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    belizeanpirate, Very interesting my Pirate friend, do you have a fast boat? you may need one
    Ossy
    PS. what a beautiful place you live in
    Son of Wolf

  3. #3

    Feb 2007
    U.S.
    Garrett, Minelab, Aqua-Pulse
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    There are a few wrecks in your area... I am being non-plussed... there are many wrecks in your area, and your waters are absolutely stunning. A friend in Cocoa Beach some years back by the name of Jackson Edwards owned Long Caye at Lighthouse Reef and he sent me there to get some pictures. This was almost 30 years ago and I went out there on a sailboat that belonged to an American kid (forgot his name, but he was definitely a forgettable person) and we were accompanied by a Belizian named Hypolito Bevins who came from the north end of Belize. Hypolito aka "Poli" had never been out there before, but he knew his way across Turneffe. He was completely dumbfounded at Lighthouse reef. So was I. You could see hulks on the west side of the atoll. You must have thousands of wrecks there. The whole place (the whole country) was pretty remarkable and the water was fantastic! You're a lucky person to live there.

    On the other hand, I would only expect to find treasure where Spanish ships were taken as prizes and brought to British Honduras by British privateers. You're also in line to receive some errant vessels moving between Porto Bello and Mexico that would be pushed to shore in hurricanes, but, Belize was definitely not of much interest to Spain. In fact, I hear they definitely avoided the coast there.

    Do you have something in mind? It would be twice as interesting to me if it attracts the attention of the treasure federalies here on treasurenet.

  4. #4
    bz
    Jul 2009
    16
    1 times

    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    I have a forty foot Colombian lanchona with twin 250s that goes 60 MPH. But we use it for scuba diving for a local resort that I have some ownership in. I am very familiar with the atolls and they are incredibly beautiful as is the whole barrier reef. I live out on the cayes most of the time and love diving.

  5. #5
    Cappy Z.

    Re: Belize Shipwrecks



    I saw a show once on this tiny country. I believe 98% has Mayan ruins. I bet there is gold all over the place down there. My friend honeymooned there last year. He said it is very humid and lots of bugs.

  6. #6
    bz
    Jul 2009
    16
    1 times

    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    I am not a treasure hunter yet so I dont have any good recommendations. I am a divemaster though and have access to several boats, tanks, dive compressors, and an island base and I know many people who operate out on the atolls. Beyond that, it would definitely take someone far more skilled than I in reading old maps and histories to determine probable locations. It would also require some technical insturments for spotting the ferrous anchor signatures and other anomalies. I am just trying to focus a few good minds on the idea and that way perhaps some hardy soul will actually make a go of it. Regulations are very lax out on our atolls, especially if you look touristy and as if you were diving or fishing, so exploratory missions would be very easy and possibly even some more labor intensive activities could be very easy as well.

    I am a very firm believer in the loose lips sinking ships motto, though, so I would not want to get involved with blabbermouths, drunks, and people not at peace with their own selves. Military type people who are not binge drinkers would be helpful for a good expedition. People with good focus and intellect and not just couch potato dreamers.

    The company that found commercial deposits of oil here a couple years ago were all very focused and they found a geyser of oil in less than six months after the British tried finding oil here for over a hundred years and kept coming up with dry wells. They then found several more geysers after their first one. Probably some of it was technology and their use of it and some was luck, but a large part of it was focus. These guys really believed that there was oil here and that they would be the ones to find it. They came from Ireland and without ever having set foot in Belize, they put all of us and the British to shame by saying that they would find oil here and then by actually doing it so quickly.

    There are also many rivers here in Belize with placer deposits and that is something else that someone will eventually show up with some focus and just do. There was recently a report of a fellow finding six pounds of gold in one of our more remote rivers in just a couple of months with very rudimentary equipment. I would actually be more worried about finding gold that way than from the sea, however, since Guatemalan bandidos are a frequent sight deep in the jungles here. They take from unexcavated archaelogical sites, rob tourists, hunt game, cut a plant called xate which is used in many floral arrangements and is quite expensive, and they also do illegal logging in many parts of Belize. The seas are much safer than the jungles here for treasure seeking. But both are options.

    There are many Mayan sites here that have never been uncovered as well, and jade carvings are often found on new sites.

    Belize is a treasure trove in so many ways. I think her natural and cultural diversity is her greatest treasure but it would be nice to find other ones as well.

  7. #7
    Charter Member
    us
    Pirate of the Martires

    Feb 2005
    Pinellas Park, Florida
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    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    Hello Belizeanpirate. Is it possible to take your boat up to Chinchorro Banks for a day? I hear there are shipwrecks on top of shipwrecks and cannons stacked like cord wood.

  8. #8
    bz
    Jul 2009
    16
    1 times

    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    We have been planning to do some diving up at Chinchorro and it certainly is possible. The only snag is that the Mexican Navy does make frequent patrols of that area and does not like unaccompanied tourists (without a known local dive company from Xcalac or Akuhmal guiding them). But, once again, if you act like a dumb tourist, they certainly wont be harsh on you. The seas are usually dreadfully rough going out there as well, so we would need to spend at least a few nights out there to really get an idea of what is going on. Just finding little cuts and entries through the reef out there will be a challenge as well. Getting into our atolls took me several times to learn and get down pat, so Chinchorro would be a challenge. There are charts for it though, so I would be willing to try.

    That would definitely have to be a low key type operation since Spain and Mexico would both want to lay claim to anything found out there and as funny as the idea of the Mexican Navy may sound to gringoes, they are a real trained navy and they do know what they are doing. Lately they have gotten lots of practice chasing drug boats and confiscating other types of treasure from them, so I would be very cautious about just going to Chinchorro and grabbing loot. There are resident fishermen out there as well, and although they would be a great resource, they would also be drunken blabbermouths when they got back to the mainland to spend their catch money.

    Chinchorro would be an adventure like something out of a novel. Belize is a lot more low key and a lot easier to do things in. I am not saying no to Chinchorro and I will dive it sooner rather than later, but to mount a full scale operation there would be near impossible to keep clandestine and no one will be giving out permits for there in the near future I would assume. The place is certainly littered with shipwrecks though. But if you look at Belize, it is not too shabby either.

    Here is a quick list for Belize and Chinchorro------
    LIST OF SHIPWRECKS REPORTED BY MARX

    Sir Robert Marx, a noted marine historian, has compiled lists of known shipwrecks in his book "Shipwrecks of the Western Hemisphere". The following list, specific to Belize and Yucatan (Chinchorro Atoll), is partially excerpted from his publication.

    BEACHCOMBERS TIP:
    The three major wrecks off Ambergris Caye have already been covered in the text.

    1749 A hurricane of Sept. 18:at least 20 English merchantmen were totally lost on coast and off cayes and reefs.

    1751 English merchantman, the "Monmouth", Capt. Wydham, on his way to London, wrecked on Glovers Key: crew was saved.

    1751 Two Rhode Island sloops and a Jamaican snow lost on the north keys (Lighthouse Reef

    1764 English merchantman, "Mary Oxford", coming from Jamaica lost on Turneffe Island.

    1774 Two ships wrecked on Glover's Reef: English merchantman, "Argyle", Capt. Fisher, about 5 leagues (a league is about 3 nautical miles) from the southwestern end of the reef: the American ship "Polly", Capt Waid, going to New York, on the Northeastern end of the reef, crews and part of cargo saved.

    1780 The English ship "Live Oak", sailing to Jamaica, wrecked on the coast at Black River (Sittee River), crew was saved.

    1786 English merchantman, "Assisstance", Capt Galt, coming from Jamaica, lost crossing the bar at Black River

    1786 Unidentified Scottish ship, Capt Carr, wrecked on Glovers reef, the crew saved.

    1787 On Sept. 2, (a hurricane), 30 plus English merchantmen were on coast and off-lying areas; 15 were lost in the port of Belize. The only ship identified by name was the "HMS Triumvirate" lost at St. George's Caye which was carrying a large amount of silver specie. The large ballast pile off St George's Caye may be from this ship.

    1793 English gunship, "HMS Advice", with 4 cannon, Capt Edward Tyrell, lost to leeward of Rey Bokell (southern tip of the Turneffe Atoll), her crew saved.

    1793 English merchantman "Chance", Capt. Reed, coming from Jamaica, wrecked on Glover's Reef.

    1803 English merchantman "Fishburn", Capt Leake, sailing to London lost on a reef near Belize, Feb. 19.

    1804 A ship of unknown registry, "Mentor", Capt. Simpson, coming from Jamaica, lost on "the main reef" near Belize, part of cargo saved.

    1807 English ship "General Don", Capt Messeroy, coming from France lost on Glovers Reef.

    1808 English merchantmen, "Perseverance", Capt. M'Nutt, coming from Jamaica, lost near Belize on Dec. 20, but the crew was saved.

    1814 Ship of unknown registry, "Pompey", Capt Cowlan wrecked on "the main reef", March 31, cargo of wine saved.

    1815 Scottish merchantman, "Lord Blandtyre", Capt M'Lea, coming from Jamaica, wrecked in August on the "Southern Four Keys" (Lighthouse Reef).

    1818 American ship, "Enterprise", Capt Wayne, sailing from the Bahamas to New Orleans, lost on March 9, near Belize, the crew saved.

    1818 English merchantman, "John Winslow", Capt Hodges, coming from Liverpool, lost July 26 on the "main reef", cargo and crew saved.

    1819 English merchantman, "Vestol", Capt Hutchinson sailing to London wrecked on Corker Key (Caye Caulker), in August, crew and part of cargo saved. See wreck list. One of the two wrecks described off Caye Caulker-Caye Chapel may be from this vessel.

    1821 English merchantman, "Barrrosa", Capt. Anderson, coming from London totally lost on Nov. 8 on the "Southern Fourth Reef" (Lighthouse Reef), crew and most of cargo saved.

    1822 American ship "Phoebe Ann" sailing to New York wrecked near Belize about April 11.

    Chinchorro Wrecks, (The Triangles, immediately north of Belize and included here due to their proximity)

    1769 An English merchantman, "Liberty", Capt. Beard, coming from Jamaica, wrecked on the southern end of Chinchorro Reef, but her crew was saved.

    1771 American ship, "Andrew", Capt. Passgrove, sailing from Honduras to Philadelphia, wrecked Oct 22.

    1773 American merchantman, "Industry", Capt. Glenn, sailing from Honduras, with a cargo of-indigo (logwood) and mahogany.

    1776 An Irish merchantman, "Hercules", Capt. Norwood, sailing from Honduras to Dublin.

    1821 French ship, "Ceres", Capt. Mourant coming from France was wrecked on July 18, only the crew saved.

    The following information is taken from Potter's Treasure Diving Guide.

    1792 English ship, "Water Witch", lost offshore Ambergris Caye carrying $1,200,000 in specie.

    1785 Spanish galleon lost on the northeastern tip of Turneffe carrying $800,000 in specie (unverified reports indicate the remains of an old ship in this area).


  9. #9
    Charter Member
    us
    Underwater Heritage Rescue Diver

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    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    Been there, done that. Ambergris Caye is my chosen location for a permanent life once I finish things here in the Dominican Republic. I know of several wrecks there, one right beside TackleBox Canyon, another within a short swim of Esmerelda that has Spanish Coins laying around. I've never excavated anything there, but have done a lot of study and diving there. Do you know Tulu? He's a local lobster diver there who can certainly shed some light on several things for you...tell him Jason Nowell from Texas sent you.

    I'll be there in a few years...but I have 100 miles of legally permitted coast in the DR right now, so I gotta finish here first. My opinion...stay away from Chinchorro....it would be better to keep your nose clean and work near Turneffe and lighthouse than risk raising suspicion about your activities out there....it is a well watched area and I know what you mean about the Mexican Navy...firsthand.

    Keep in touch...someday I will be back in Belize for sure.

    Jason

  10. #10
    bz
    Jul 2009
    16
    1 times

    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    Hi Jason,

    You are actually one of the guys who I wanted to interest since I see that you are experienced and for real. I have been to the DR several times and I worked with a construction crew from there for over ten years in the Virgin Islands and they were the hardest working people I have ever met in my life (some of the hardest drinking ones as well when they did not have to work). I would be very keen to work with you here and I also have interests in exploring Providencia and the Serranilla and Serrano Banks one day. I know how to work hard and I actually do understand that treasure hunting is 98 percent hard work and only a smattering of luck and exact science.

    Are you working with Burt Webber over there? Or are you doing another operation?

  11. #11
    Charter Member
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    Underwater Heritage Rescue Diver

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    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    I'm working with North Caribbean Research, not sure what is going on with Burt but I hear he hasn't been in the water much for a long time. He does have an incredible boat and crew here though!

    Our lease covers the north coast from the Haitian border on the west to the east point of Puerto Plata. It keeps us very busy right now, we already have several wrecks that we are digging on, and a group of fishermen who have brought us coins from other locations. Like Belize, there are too many wrecks here....we have located and inspected almost 50 wrecksites and so far only one of them was a treasure bearing ship. We hope to have another one shortly with the new info from the fishermen. I likely still have several years left here, but who knows where I'll be after that. By doing things correctly here, we have developed a reputation in the Caribbean and have already been invited to go places where thunters have not yet been allowed. I work with a great crew here and will likely stick with them into the immediate future. I do plan to vacation in Belize for a few weeks later this year though.

    You'll have an email shortly...

    Cheers,

    Jason

  12. #12
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    10,668
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    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    Scuba finder, your dependable, good, reputation is the most important thing possible if you are a serious treasure hunter or salvor. With it, doors open for you, from information to permits.

    I guard mine with a jealous dedication. Without it, I would never have found Tayopa.

    Don Jose de La Mancha
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  13. #13
    Charter Member
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    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    Words of wisdom Don Jose....the only thing I would add is a healthy dose of knowing when (and how) to keep your mouth shut.... LOL

    For those of you who aren't familiar, here's a few pics of Belize...the best kept secret in the Caribbean if you ask me.

    The water is phenomenal!
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    The food is not bad either...LOL
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    This is my front yard where I stay.
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    And the house I stay in
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    The diving is OK too I guess
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    Even the sharks are nice!
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    Lots of photo ops.
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    Sometimes you have to work hard to find what you seek.
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    Just a taste...Belize is my favorite place in the world.

    Jason
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  14. #14
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    10,668
    1435 times

    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    HI Jason, true, it is beautiful, but then so is it's north Eastern neighbor, Quintana Roo. Actually we also have excellent diving on the west coast, in the Sea of Cortez area.

    I can take you to areas where no human foot print or diving gear has touched for perhaps 100;s of years. Complete with pirate ships.

    While we have ships to dive on, we don't have the quantity of your area.

    Even have our own bandits also. hehehehehh

    Don Jose de La Mancha

    p.s. Will I have a separate bathroom in the Casa Plata (Silver House) as your free loading guest?
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  15. #15
    bz
    Jul 2009
    16
    1 times

    Re: Belize Shipwrecks

    Beautiful pictures of what I see every day. I live out at Thatch Caye (some pics are on www.thatchcayebelize.com) and the diving here is spectacular. I know that I have a treasure here just in my surroundings but it would definitely be nice to go on an adventure for shipwreck treasure. That fuels the imagination and is a healthy and necessary component for being human, I believe. I have read so much about shipwrecks and treasures being found everywhere but some wise person once told me that everything is right where you are for those who are wise enough to see it, and when I started looking into Belizes history, it confirmed that there are plenty of shipwrecks here and there is certainly not a problematic government here hampering recovery efforts. It is just a matter of time.

 

 
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