Shipwreck fans, treasure seekers and history enthusiasts can celebrate the 30th anniversary of salvager Mel Fisher’s discovery of the sunken Spanish sailing ship Nuestra Señora de Atocha from 9-12 July 2015.
July 1985 saw the end of Fisher and his crew’s exhaustive 16 year search to find the ship that sank during a 1622 hurricane 35 miles southwest of Key West, resulting in the discovery of a $500 million ‘main pile’ of treasure and artefacts found inside. Now visitors can celebrate this momentous occasion at the exciting, historical event Mel Fisher Days with a plethora of fun activities.
The fun begins with a dock party at 11 a.m. on Thursday, 9 July at the Schooner Wharf Bar. The 100-foot J.B. Magruder, a salvage boat used to search for still-undiscovered Atocha artefacts, will be docked there and open for tours guided by Fisher crewmembers, who will share tales of their work and treasure finds.
Thursday and Friday’s schedule also includes behind-the-scenes tours of the Fisher family’s private conservation laboratory at 200 Greene St., where rare Atocha artefacts and treasures are conserved and studied.
Revellers can even seek their own treasure during the Amazing Mel Fisher Treasure Hunt, where teams follow clues and solve riddles to compete for a chest filled with 5,000 silver dollars. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday 10 July, with the hunt following at 7 p.m.
From noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday 11 July a “rockin’ block party” celebrating Fisher’s legacy will be taking place at the 200 and 300 blocks of Key West’s Duval Street. Attractions include food stands, a classic car show, games for kids and adults and a free concert featuring popular regional bands. VIP passes are available for those who want to join a private party with headlining band Sueñalo, alongside Fisher’s family members and the crew that found the Atocha’s main pile.
Other 30th anniversary events include a pirate ball and a showing of rare archival footage including interviews with the crew that made the historic 1985 discovery.
One hundred percent of net festival proceeds benefit the Florida Keys’ Wesley House Family Services Inc.
For further information on Mel Fisher Days, visit melfisherdays.com