Yes, I was there in 1994 as the Captain of the search/salvage vessel
I was hired by Ted Janes of Ocean Mar to locate, lease, outfit, and operate a suitable vessel for the season. We based out of Seattle.
We leased an '85 steel vessel, twin 8V71 detroits (loud as ****). It was originally a gulf shrimper but had the outriggers removed for use as a salmon tender. It was suitable for our needs because it had a large open deck for equipment (ROV with scanning sonar, a crane, winches, hard hat dive compressor and HP air bank of T bottles, etc) as well as sufficient space in the hold for provisions and other equipment along with the "command center" for ROV and dive operations.
There were 6 of us on board. Besides Ted and myself, there were 2 experienced commercial divers, a second skipper, and a kid that I will generously call a deck hand.
It was an exciting trip and we were very close to where it was eventually found, but we came up short that season.
5 days non-stop up the inside passage from Seattle to Douglas Island, then the real fun began.
Actually, it was expected to be a real challenge and it was! The tides run hard, the water is deep and rocky. It is no easy task to get properly moored close alongside a rocky shore in 150'-200' of water. A three point mooring no less!
We had a DOE HD2+2 ROV (for anyone who is familiar with ROVs of that era) that was powerful enough to drag a person overboard with its umbilical. It was a pretty high end work ROV and was equipped with a Reson SeaBat multi-beam scanning sonar for navigating the murky water and locating targets. And of course powerful lights and video camera.
It was pretty hairy work and we worked several days at a stretch, only breaking off to seek shelter in a nearby cove when the weather got too bad for the anchors to hold.
Week after week and the stress took a toll on everyone, especially Ted who was a pretty pompous ass to start with. By the time we got to the end of the vessel lease period, Ted was coming unglued. He was convinced that everyone was plotting against him, even a long time friend who was one of the divers. Privately, the two divers and second skipper and I agreed to make every effort to keep him calm and focused on the project. We tiptoed on eggshells just to try and avoid serious conflict.
We came up empty and had to return to Seattle. Ted never really recovered his attitude and made enemies of everyone. As far as I know, I was the only person being paid and even though I had a written contract, he failed to deliver my pay as agreed. I tried unsuccessfully to get him to honor the contract for a couple years and eventually had to file a lawsuit to get paid. I also had a signed contract pledge of 1% of any treasure eventually recovered but Ted had the only copy so that was gone like dust.
Honestly, I don't think he every really recovered. Treasure hunting and gold fever can turn people into obsessed lunatics, that has been known for generations. Now I have seen it in person and it ain't pretty!
There are days where I wonder what I could do with $40K from my 1% share. Then again, I got us all back safely and have great memories of the good parts and with stories to tell about the bad parts. Can't put a dollar value on that.
Glad I ran into the stories of the gold that was recovered by the latest team (that only includes Ted as a footnote), it brings back some interesting and vivid memories, some good, some not.
On a slow bell, that's how I take life now
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