It’s November 2015, and a research team is awaiting the results of a very important survey. As the images come back from a camera nearly 2,000 feet below the surface of the Caribbean sea, they know they’ve found something special. You see, the “Holy Grail” of sunken treasure ships lies beneath them – just off the coast of Colombia. Welcome to the final resting place of San José.
A few months earlier, in June 2015, the same team – consisting of experts from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Maritime Archaeology Consultants – had examined the area and come up empty-handed. Searching for centuries-old shipwrecks isn’t easy, after all. And despite all of the scientists’ hi-tech equipment, on this occasion the ocean had refused to give up its secrets.
Undeterred, however, the team scheduled a second survey for November, and this one would turn out to be rather more successful. But they weren’t the first treasure hunters to go looking for this particular wreck. In fact, more than three decades earlier, another group believed that it had found the location of San José – a Spanish galleon that had sunk in the 18th century. And with her had gone a cargo that was worth a fortune.