On this day (July 20) in 1985, diver and treasure hunter,
Mel Fisher found what he had been looking for for 16 years.
The Spanish galleon, Nuestra Senora de Atocha sank some 34 miles west-southwest off the coast of Key West during a hurricane in 1622.
On it's annual return sail from Havana, Cuba to Cadiz, Spain the Atocha went down in the storm along with 260 passengers and crew, more than 40 tons of silver and gold, 100,000 "pieces of eight" (Spanish coins), Columbian emeralds, silver and gold artifacts and over 1000 silver bars.
A combined treasure estimated at $450 million dollars.
That, after all those years of searching, "The Atocha Motherlode," is some of what Mel Fisher found. And still, it was only half of what went down with the Atocha.
The wealthiest part of the ship, the stern castle, still hasn't been found.
The ginormity of the Atocha's treasure was staggering and the Fisher crew named the site of the wreck, "The Bank of Spain".
Still, those rich rewards did not come without a price.
Those 16 years of diving excursions cost Mel over $20 million dollars and the life of his eldest son.
That had to hurt. (parents are not supposed to outlive their children).
Still, Mel Fisher soldiered on somehow, starting every day with his now famous rallying cry,
"Today's the Day!"
Then finally on July 20, 1985 Mel got the call from another of his sons on marine radio,
"Dad, put away the charts. We've got the Mother Lode!"
Had Mel Fisher's dream come true and had he just become a very wealthy man?
Not so much. . .
Just after the Atocha find, the governments of the United States and State of Florida laid claim to the wreck (the pricks) and it was looking like the treasure Mel and his family had hoped and dreamed and worked so hard to find would never be theirs.
And so began another 8 years and $4 million in legal battles until the U.S. Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, finally granted Mel and his family complete ownership of the Atocha wreck and its treasures.
Mel Fisher became known as the "World's Greatest
Mel Fisher (Aug. 21, 1922 – Dec. 19, 1998)
Mel Fisher had a dream that took him damned near 25 years to realize.
Somehow we've got to admire his perseverance and optimism.
We all have dreams.
Sometimes they're cloudy, sometimes they're crystal clear.
Sometimes they seem just within reach and sometimes they seem hopeless.
The thing to do is take a page from Mel Fisher's book.
Keep an eye on the prize, soldier on and wake up every morning thinking, "Today's the Day".