10:30 am We all met at Mo's house in Ft. Pierce. Ernie and Tom drove together from Orlando, Jim came in from Vero Beach where he is staying and the film crew from Great Britain, Victoria, Wayne and Steve from their hotel in Ft. Pierce. Mo was happy to see everyone and get things underway. First line of business, after introductions were made, was to determine the best area for filming. After looking at several areas, it was decided that the conference table in Mo's side room, would be the place. It was just as well, as this table is where most meetings are held and has had more than its share of Spanish treasure laid upon it. After setting everything up and deciding that instead of a staged meeting, an actual meeting would be held, the camera began to role. It was 11:15am. Running through the course of a regular meeting, and learning several new interesting items in relationship to our E-110 and E-132, we concluded around 1pm. Afterwards, Ernie, Tom, Mo and Jim went over to the Marina to check with the crew, Wes, Rena and Dave, as well as on the Virg to make sure everything was in order for thursday. By 3pm, Tom and Ernie were on their way back to Orlando and Jim to the emergency room with his son. Little did anyone know, it was the last "free time" anyone would have until the filming was complete.
Jim meet Wes, Rena and Dave on the Virg at 8am. Arriving at the same time was Jim Whitaker, a professional underwater surveyor and magnetometer operator. Basically, through the use of Jim's computers and equipment, Jim can find just about anything lost underwater, anywhere. Working with HRD, Inc. for several years, Jim produces our magnetometer readings and our "hit list" for our E-110/E-132 site as well as others as needed. Mo arrived about 8:10am and we were on our way to sea by 8:30am. Going through the inlet we were greeted by 4-6 foot seas and an easterly wind averaging 19 mph. It was not going to be an easy day and shortly after hitting open water, we returned to the Intercoastal waterway. We began doing some work in this area and until the heavy rain for the day came down we were being somewhat successful. By 9:45am, we had to call it a day, as with the rain and high winds, the camera crew could not tape. The film headed pack up and headed over to Jim Whitaker's home for some filming and an interview. Although we were done, Tom, was not as lucky. Tom had driven down from Orlando and brought his boat. The idea was to have Tom meet us on site (at sea) and we would utilize his boat for various shots and runs, as well as the diver that Tom would be. As Tom's vessel is much quicker than the Virg, he arrived later at the marina and put to sea. As Tom headed through the inlet, he was unaware, but due to the high seas, we had already made it back into the Intercoastal waterway and were doing some work. Tom, hit the sea's bow first and fought his way north along 14 miles of treacherous and growing sea's. Unable to utilize his radio, he had no way to contact the Virg and headed out. About 11am, Jim was back at his motel room in Vero Beach and walked down to the beach. He was taken back by what he saw. The seas had increased to 6+ feet strong and out about 250 yards was Tom, still in his boat. He was headed south, back towards the inlet, and safety, nearly 14 miles away. The seas were so high and Tom was taking on water that he was constantly shifting from steering to restarting his engine, as every large wave that overtook him and swamped his vessel, also killed his engine. Tom's bow was nearly 45 degrees to the sky and it wasn't looking good. Jim tried yelling to him and wave, but he wasn't even seen on the beach. Tom had more important things at hand -such as saving his life and getting in. Tom, did make it safely back to the inlet around noon and waited for the Virg to pass. Not realizing the Virg had already gone in. It was a bad day for all, but mostly for Tom. Treasure Hunting....what dreams are made of.
Jim was at the McLarty Museum in Sebastian at 9:30am. The film crew arrived around 10am was going to be interviewing State Field Representative Tom Gore and researcher/conservationist Doug Armstrong. After interviewing Tom Gore from 10:50am till nearly 12:30pm and a much needed break for lunch. It was then decided that Doug Armstrong's interview would be with Jim, and take place at Doug's home. Arriving there around 3:15pm, Jim was meet by the film crew and Doug. Once set up inside, filming of Jim and Doug started around 4pm and ended at 5:30pm. Doug was then interviewed until nearly 6:30pm. It was another full day. After an evening on phone attempting to make arrangements for saturday, it was decided that the film footage had to be
done on saturday, as the weatherman predicted worsening seas and the film crew would be leaving for Miami sunday night and then back to London first thing monday morning.
Jim was at the marina by 7:40am. Jim Whitaker arrived with all his equipment around 7:45am and the camera crew was hot on his heels. Mo was there by 8am and we headed out to sea by 8:10am. We headed out to sea and were greeted by 6-8 foot seas. Still attempting to get the footage, we made it to the site. Setting up on bow and stern anchors, Wes and Dave suited up and walked into a wave that came up to them. The blowers were lowered and and a bottom check
showed we were in 24 feet of water with nearly 2 feet of visibility (at times -other times it was like diving in chocolate milk. YUCK!!) The Virg blew 3 holes and each was carefully checked. No one is sure how he did it, but Wes managed to recover a piece of a slighted encrusted pottery shard.
After a few more holes and some shots of the blowers and their workings, the Virg headed back in. But not before Dave went out in the little 12 foot whaler to retrieve our stern anchors. While pulling on one of the anchor lines a nice wave washed over Dave and the whaler, dumping nearly 200 gallons of salt water into the boat. Knowing what to do, Dave was able to return to the Virg, do a little hand bailing and then run out the rest and let the bilge pump finish it up. With a little additional work in the Intercoastal Waterway, the Virg and crew were safely back in port by 4:30pm. It was decided that everyone would meet at a local restaurant/bar around 7pm for dinner and much needed drink, soda pop of course ;-) Sunday's final filming was discussed and plans were made.
Mo meet the film crew at the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum in Sebastian at 9am. Mo was interviewed and many shots were taken of Mo, and the many priceless artifacts and treasures, currently on display within the museum, that he has recovered over the years. By 11:30am the filming was complete and they broke for lunch. As this going on, Tom was with the underwater diver filming the much needed underwater scene's. They had some great visibility were they
were (lucky guys) and where able to accomplish what the regular filming crew could not in 4 days of trying. Tom and Mike spent the day filming these scenes. The film crew meet up with Mo, Jim and the Virgalona crew around 3:30pm at the marina and everyone was on their way out to sea again for some last minute footage. The filming was done and the Virg returned to port by 4:45pm. A final, end of the day, gathering was filmed and a closing interview was completed.
It was dark, and time to say good bye to our new friends from across the pond. It was truly a NEW experience for everyone, Mo, Ernie, Jim, Tom, Wes, Rena, Dave, Victoria, Wayne and Steve. Even their underwater photographer, Mike, who was with us only a short time, had many first's.
Jim and his family are getting ready to return to Detroit. For one last glimpse at the unforgiving ocean, Jim walked to the beach on HRD, Inc's very own E-110 site. DANG BLASTED!!!! The sea's are forgiving. Waves were 3 feet or less at the shore line, even smoother out to sea, a face mask showed visibility in excess of 3 feet and winds were great. PERFECT diving and filming weather. The british had come a week to early and mother nature was rubbing it in.
It is only now, now that endeavor is complete, that we can look back on it as a whole, and realize that there are many instances when this should have ended. Rough sea's, plans falling through, rescheduling, communication glitch's, life in general, that we realized that making this documentary was much like treasure hunting in its own way. It was/is a way to touch many, to educate them and allow them a chance, through video, to experience what we experience. The reawakening of time through research, determination, perseverance and hard (sometimes DANGEROUS) work the chance to see/hold a piece of history that no one has seen or held in nearly 300 years and, more importantly, to learn of it's secret's, it's story.