Treasure Ship Fleet Wreck Anniversary Event July 25 At Valkaria Airport
By Don Walker, Brevard County // July 24, 2015
will commemorate the 300th Anniversary
BREVARD COUNTY • VALKARIA, FLORIDA — Valkaria Airport will commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the Spanish Plate Fleet Shipwrecks off the coast of Florida near Sebastian with a daylong event put on by the Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew 1715, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at the airport’s Skyman Park Lane.
The 12 treasure-ship fleet was led by Captain Don Juan Esteban de Ubilla and carried gold specie and bullion. The King of Spain had also recently married the Duchess of Palma so a critically important component of the shipment was the new Queen’s dowry that filled 8 treasure chests.
A hurricane smashed the ships, hid the treasures under our waves and washed some to our shores. Now, 300 years later, treasure hunters have only recovered a small fraction of the treasure and the location of the Queen’s Jewels remain a mystery.
Boy Scouts of American Venture Crew 1715, located in South Brevard County, is a Crew that is interested in water sports and the lure of the missing treasure.
They have created this Tri-Centennial Commemoration event at Valkaria Airport to commemorate the anniversary of these shipwrecks.
Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. The teens of Venture Crew 1715 who organized this event hope to raise money for a rack of kayaks and other water sports equipment.
The Tri-Centennial Commemoration theme is “We find our treasure were our heart is: History, Adventure, and Service.”
History: 3 famous treasure hunters will give “Treasure Talks” in the “Treasure Room.”
Sir Robert Marx, 10 a.m. to noon, will highlight the 1715 Fleet history. Marx is a pioneering American scuba diver who began his career as a diving specialist in the Marine Corps in 1953. Since 1960, he has researched and treasure hunted his way around the world, scouring archives and libraries of more than 40 countries and has led him to vast treasures. Marx has been knighted in 3 countries and has received 7 honorary doctorates, he is the author of 64 books about diving and shipwrecks around the world.
Taffi Fisher Abt, 2 p.m. to 3 pm.: Fisher is the daughter of the famous Mel Fisher, famed Brevard and Indian River treasure hunter. Mel Fisher was known for his dedication and perseverance and his slogan, “Today’s the day!” His dreams of treasure hunting began in childhood after reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and continued over many years, beginning with finding part of the 1715 treasures in 1963 and culminating in his greatest effort, the Atocha, found in 1985 in the Florida Keys.
Captain Bonnie Schubert, time to be determined: Gold Hawg Treasure of Vero Beach, currently subcontracts for the Mel Fisher Center, salvaging the 1715 Fleet. Schubert has found amazing treasures of exquisite craftsmanship in 22K gold: Reliquary locket with chain, Pelican of Piety, and an unique filigree frame pendant. Schubert grew up in the Bahamas diving and boating and her love for the water started her treasure hunting in 1991 and will keep her in the water for the rest of her life.
Venture Crew 1715 will re-enact the history, presenting skit that they have written themselves. Several people will attend dressed in period clothing selling period items, and pirates will attend perhaps shooting canons, sword-fighting and creating all sorts of mayhem.
In terms of adventure, Michelle Mulak, will preside on the “Water Stage.” Throughout the day, Mulak will conduct interviews with world-famous water athletes and water sports business owners about how they have followed their passions for water sports and created careers from them. In addition, several local water sports companies will have booths describing opportunities for water sports adventures.
Keep Brevard Beautiful, the Marine Resource Council and Live Blue will have tents in which they will provide environmental education. These organizations will also share with attendees how they may serve in upcoming clean-ups and improvements of our water environments.
Lots of other fun stuff will happen all day. Valkaria Airport hosts a BMX race track around the Skyman Park lake. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other youth organizations will collect pledges for their own groups for the number of laps they race around the track. Venture Crew 1715 has also organized a Bathtub race in which anyone can race any man-made boat in a figure 8 fashion around 2 islands in the lake. There will be also lots of other fun and games. Food Trucks will be available for your dining pleasures.
Valkaria Airport is located in South Brevard, right in the middle of Valkaria Road, about 15 or 20 minutes north of Sebastian or south of Melbourne. (2865 Greenbrooke St, Malabar.)