Fisher and his crew uncovered a $450 million cache of Atocha treasure and artifacts in July 1985 after a 16-year search. The galleon sank about 35 miles southwest of Key West during a 1622 hurricane. Today, Fisher’s son Kim Fisher leads the ongoing search for Atocha artifacts and treasures that still remain undiscovered.
Festival attendees can explore the Fisher family’s 90-foot working salvage boat J.B. Magruder, take behind-the-scenes tours of the family’s private artifact conservation lab, meet some of the crew that found the Atocha’s riches, and rock at a waterfront party that recalls Mel’s exuberant spirit.
Thursday and Friday’s schedule features exclusive guided tours of the conservation laboratory at Mel Fisher’s Treasures, 200 Greene St. (side entrance). The one-of-a-kind tours show attendees how priceless recovered artifacts and treasures are conserved utilizing the highest professional standards. Tour cost is $12 per person in advance or $15 at the door. For registration, visit melfisherdays.com.
Saturday’s highlights include a 3-9 p.m. dock party with the Atocha’s “golden crew” at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St. in the Key West Historic Seaport.
The Magruder will be docked behind the bar and open for tours from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Guided by Fisher crew members, attendees can view the equipment used in shipwreck search and salvage, learn how a wrecksite is mapped and hear tales of salvage adventures from those immersed in the work. Cost is $10 per person in advance or $12 on the day of the event. For tour registration, visit melfisherdays.com.
Among the dock party’s other attractions are a huge silent auction, live auctions, 50/50 raffles, the presentation of the annual Mel Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award and treasure prizes including an authentic Santa Margarita shipwreck pearl for the famous cupcake contest.
All net proceeds from Mel Fisher Days festivities benefit the Florida Keys’ Wesley House Family Services, Inc.
Event information: melfisherdays.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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