The next time you visit the beaches of Martin County, St. Lucie County, or Indian River County, be sure to pay attention to what you step on the sand or see in the water.
That’s because Florida’s “Treasure Coast” isn’t just a catchy nickname. It’s also a little lesson in hurricane history dating back over 300 years.
In July of 1715 a fleet of ships sailing from Cuba to Spain sank in a hurricane off the coasts of what are now Martin, St. Lucia, and Indian River counties. With the fleet went a fortune of gold and treasure, some of which remains underwater to this day, more than 307 years later. Because the ships that sank in the storm weren’t far from shore, their riches aren’t far offshore or in terribly deep water. In fact, just last year, a Vero Beach teen found a sunken fleet gold coin with an estimated value of around $10,000!
There are many underwater shipwrecks surrounding Florida dating back hundreds of years. According to University of South FloridaNuestra Espana’s fleet carrying gold bound for Spain sank in another hurricane in 1733 in the Florida Keys.
Hurricanes have the ability to hide or reveal things on the seabed. It is not uncommon for new discoveries to be discovered after a hurricane hits the beach or water. Although Hurricane Nicole was not as strong as Ian, its footprint was large. Time will tell what it has buried or revealed under the surface of the water
You can learn more about the Spanish fleets that sailed off the coast of Florida and the hurricanes that caused them problems from the Florida Department of State. here.