Editor’s Note: Under Florida law, people who wish to explore or recover artifacts on state-owned land underwater must obtain a permit.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – A small film crew of around 12 remained silent about their operation during their visit to the Treasure Coast, but the secret is now out.
History Channel’s “Beyond Oak Island” recorded an episode about the 1715 Treasure Fleet a few months ago in Indian River County, staying and filming at Captain Hiram’s Resort in Sebastian featured in Season opening episode Tuesday.
Staff at the resort were kept in the dark about the shoot for the most part, said marketing coordinator Johnny Desimone, and there was an unspoken nondisclosure agreement not to spread the fuse on residents.
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Management coordinated the shoot, meals and the crew’s stay at the resort, Desimone added, but there wasn’t much interaction between the crew and resort staff. Overall it was an unforgettable experience.
“It was really great,” Desimone said. “Being able to be a part of the History Channel on your own is amazing, but being featured was even more of an honor.”
1715 Fleet of Spanish wrecks
“Beyond Oak Island” follows brothers Rick and Marty Lagina who spotlight the best scavenger hunt sites in the world.
The last episode brought the two to the Treasure Coast, where Gary Drayton, an Indian River County resident and professional treasure hunter, joined the brothers on a metal-detecting expedition along local beaches in search of artifacts of 1715 Fleet.
The fleet of 1715 consists of 11 Spanish ships that sank in a hurricane, later inspiring the name of the Treasure Coast. Ships laden with treasure now litter the ocean floor from Sebastian to the Saint Lucia nuclear power plant.
Drayton amassed a whole collection of artifacts from the 1715 fleet, as shown in the episode, including his most impressive find: an emerald ring believed to have belonged to Queen Isabel.
The group searched near the Corrigan Wreck, estimated just south of what is now Turtle Trail Beach. No treasure was found, but Drayton found what he believed to be a piece of aluminum from the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1983.
Everyone then gathered for lunch at Captain Hiram’s Blackfin Restaurant, where they were joined by Captain John Brandon of 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC, a Sebastian-based wreck recovery operation.
The next day the group again hiked the beaches about a mile south near the 1715 salvage camp and had better luck – discovering a rare copper bridge spike from the 1715 fleet, verified by experts from the McLarty Treasure Museum in Vero Beach.
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