Treasure hunter to set out from Miami, seeking $100 million in gold
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  1. #1

    Aug 2007
    Anywhere there's treasure
    9 times

    Treasure hunter to set out from Miami, seeking $100 million in gold

    Treasure hunter to set out from Miami, seeking $100 million in gold

    By Mike Clary | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
    March 19, 2008

    Miami - The treasure is out there: a fortune in shipwrecked silver, gold bullion and centuries-old artifacts, in the crystalline waters of the Caribbean, just waiting to be found.

    And Burt Webber Jr. is confident he'll find it.

    "It's not just about getting rich," said Webber, referring to at least $100 million in riches that went to the bottom after the Spanish galleon Concepción foundered on the Silver Bank, about 80 miles north of the Dominican Republic, in 1641. "It is also history, the mystique of it all. It is just fascinating."

    Related links

    Treasure hunter searches for Concepcion gold Treasure hunter searches for Concepcion gold Photos

    Now 65, Webber won renown as a treasure hunter in 1978 when he first located the Concepción and recovered booty then valued at $14 million. But more remains, and when Webber and his 13-member crew head down the Miami River aboard the Ocean Lady next week, they will take with them an unprecedented array of high-tech hunting gear.

    Webber, who learned to dive in stone quarries of his native Pennsylvania, custom-designed some of the equipment aboard the chartered 128-foot Ocean Lady: battery-powered jet boots for the divers, and super-sensitive, hand-held metal detectors capable of locating cannons or anchors hidden beneath ranges of coral, for example.

    As an expedition leader, Webber is driven and encyclopedic in his knowledge of shipwrecks and maritime history. Through literature and lore, he caught the fever of sunken treasure at an early age, and he recounts the history of shipwrecks with boyish excitement.

    Nuestra Señora de la Concepción left Havana at the peak of hurricane season in 1641 laden with gold bullion, pieces of eight, silk, even Chinese Ming Dynasty porcelain. After running aground, the crew piled treasure on the reef, and from there it was picked up by an English pirate ship.

    Overloaded, that vessel is thought to have hit another reef 14 miles south of the original wreck site, again spilling the cargo to the sea.

    "It is one of the richest wrecks in the history of sunken treasure," Webber said.

    Indeed, Webber is not the first to salvage the wreck of the Concepción. In 1687, American seaman William Phips hauled 32 tons of silver from the watery trove and gave a fifth of his find to King James II of England. In appreciation, the king knighted Phips and named him governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    If Webber does find more of the treasure, he and his crew will rely on six assault rifles, two 12-gauge shotguns and a 50-caliber sniper rifle to make sure no would-be pirates take it away.

    "There would be no excuse for being out there on a project like this, given what we're looking for, and then get caught with our pants down," said Webber of the weapons. "It's an insurance policy."

    In charge of the arsenal is Coral Springs resident Greg Erkes, 39, a diver and Army veteran.

    "I've been on search and recovery operations before," said Erkes, "but nothing like this."

    Webber said he has an agreement with the Dominican Republic that gives him exclusive rights to search a 25-square-mile portion of the Silver Bank in return for a 50-50 split with the government. He had a similar deal during his search 30 years ago.

    To finance the operation, Webber has partnered with a pair of Denver-based venture capitalists, Robert Stevens and Paul Enright, who set up a publicly traded company to raise up to $2.4 million. Stock in Marine Explorations Inc. (MEXP) was selling for 10 cents a share on Monday. "This is a high-risk venture, of course, but with good potential," said Stevens, who with Enright last week paid a visit to the Ocean Lady, at Jones Boat Yard, to meet Webber in person for the first time "And it sure is a lot sexier than investing in a gold mine.
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  2. #2

    Apr 2007
    Clearwater, FL
    1129 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Treasure hunter to set out from Miami, seeking $100 million in gold

    where is the jpeg from?
    the site?
    Sorry but I'm a bit of a sceptic.

  3. #3

    Sep 2005
    495 times

    Re: Treasure hunter to set out from Miami, seeking $100 million in gold

    BradyBoy... I think the pic is from a display of treasures already found from the Concepcion by Burt years ago... I think they are on display in the Dominican Republic. Burt is a very accomplished th'er and definately has his act together! If i had some green to invest, I would probably put some down on his latest trip to the Concepcion site... knowing him, he has done his homework and they will meet with success... wishing best of luck to them and a safe expedition! It is a tough & dangerous place to work... wish I was going with 'em!! Phips



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