Polly L

Amelia Island Treasure and the San Miguel

Here is an internal memo I received about the long-rumored treasure said to be off of Amelia Island in Florida from the long-lost San Miguel. It comes from Lucas Caine, co-owner of Big Treasure Finders, LTD out of Morehead City, NC, I thought I would pass this along to you. Every now and then, he sends me some bits of info about lost treasures along the Atlantic Coast that he thinks might interest me. I think they could interest you as well.

Lucas Caine Adventures, Caleb Wygal

Hey Gang,

You know I’ve been talking about this Amelia Island Treasure for a while, so I thought I would give you some background on it.

The San Miguel set sail from Havana in July of 1715, along with 12 other ships bound for Spain as part of the Plate Fleet. The 1715 War of Succession had drained the nation’s funds and needed what was basically a stimulus package from their outlying lands in the Caribbean.

The fleet got caught in a bad hurricane near Vero Beach, FL. Eleven of the ships sunk, killing over 1,000 people. Some treasure was salvaged, but roughly half of it is still out there somewhere.

One ship, the San Miguel, was one of the 11 ships lost in the storm, but there’s reason to believe that it escaped and made it north before eventually sinking. The San Miguel was the fastest ship in the fleet. Logic dictates that it would have been given the most treasure since it could have escaped possible attacks from pirates. Blackbeard anyone?

Following the storm, the ship was last seen without a mast floating past St. Augustine (who can forget the last time we were in that city?) in a northerly direction.

The reason the San Miguel is so sought after is that it was the register ship of the fleet, meaning it had permission to carry important cargo and passengers. It likely carried the Queen’s Dowry full of silver, gold, gemstones, spices, tobacco, and indigo.

Polly L
Amelia Research & Recovery, The Polly-L, Fernandina Harbor, via AmeliaIslandLiving.com

Over the years, coins dated to the time of what would have been carried on the San Miguel have been found on Amelia Island.

Captain Doug Pope has spent years looking for the treasure aboard his 3-legged Polly-L research vessel. You should see this thing. It’s state-of-the-art and gives Pope and his crew the ability to stay over a site for days at a time. He’s spearheading the search for the San Miguel. Hopefully, he’ll find it.

Anyway, I just thought I’d let you guys know what’s piqued my interest this week.

You know I love sharing what I’m reading with you all, especially Lisa. This week I’m going all the way back to 1984 with Pirates, Planters, and Patriots: Historical Tales from the South Carolina Grand Strand by Rob Gragg. You know, in case we ever hunt for treasure down that way. You never know.

See ya,

Lucas Caine

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