Wednesday, November 12, 2008
McLarty Treasure Museum; Vero Beach, Florida
Heading south on Rt.A1A from our park towards Sebastian Inlet, we passed the McLarty Treasure Museum. Noting that there is a geocache hidden on the grounds, we decided to visit.
The museum is part of Sebastian Inlet State Park and is a National Historical Landmark. The Survivor's and Salvaging Camp was located here after the 1715 hurricane that sank the Spanish Plate Fleet. The fleet consisted of a dozen Spanish galleons, loaded with the gold, silver and other treasure, including the Queen's dowry. Less than half of the treasure was salvaged at the time and the rest was forgotten until another hurricane rearranged the coastline in the 1950's. The famed Mel Fisher has been involved in treasure hunting the area during recent years and he has his own museum (which we haven't seen) located in the town of Sebastian. Not all the ships have been found so undoubtedly more treasure still lies on the ocean floor. After storms, amateur treasure hunters armed with metal detectors still comb the shore and unearth gold rings, etc.
The museum displays this cannon, with a hand-made replica of it's wooden mount.
Spanish coins, called "Pieces of Eight", are often found bunched together encased in coral. Each was roughly equivalent to a dollar coin in today's money.
I was amazed to see of piece of English creamware among the recovered items. My sister has some pieces of Leeds creamware that used to belong to our Mom.
Out the back door of the museum, a wooden walkway leads to the observation deck built to resemble the bow of a ship. The ocean was relatively calm today, fortunately, no hurricanes in sight!