A diver just found gold at a shipwreck off the Florida Keys. His parents paved the way

Zach Moore knows what it's like to discover underwater treasures.
But he recently landed a valuable chunk when searching the wreckage of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha, which went down in a hurricane 35 miles off Key West in 1622.
Moore - a diver and engineer at Mel Fisher’s Treasures in Key West and the son of two of the original treasure hunters more than three decades ago - found a rare Atocha gold coin 9 meters under water on July 16 while he was working on the JB Magruder recovery boat.
“There's nothing like finding treasure, but there's nothing better than finding gold,” said Moore, 28. “Gold shines forever. It looks and feels the same as the day it went down 400 years ago. "
The coin is worth at least $ 98,000, the company said.
"It's an incredible find," said Kim Fisher, 65, President and CEO of Mel Fisher's Treasures, of the Atocha gold coin Moore found. "It's the first gold coin in 20 years."
Zach Moore, diver and engineer for Mel Fisher’s Treasures in Key West, shows the rare gold coin he found on July 16, 2021 while searching for the wreckage of a Spanish galleon that sank in 1622.
"We only found 120 gold coins," said Fisher, who was 12 when his father started looking for the Atocha treasure. "We found gold in jewelry and gold bars."
Moore's coin increases the number of gold coins to 121. The newest coin will be on display at Mel Fisher's Treasures Store, 613 Duval St., until at least May 2022, Fisher said.
Moore found the Atocha gold coin at a time when the treasure hunt team was about to celebrate the 36th anniversary of the spectacular discovery off Key West.
Mel Fisher and his crew discovered gold - and silver, emeralds and more - on July 20, 1985, after spending 16 years searching for the Spanish galleon's fortune. Fisher's divers, known as "the golden crew," found $ 400 million worth of sunken treasure held by the Atocha.
Fisher's motto was: "Today is the day!"
For Mel Fisher's Treasures, finding the wreck site is a full-time job, especially during the summer months.
"Whenever it's quiet enough," said Fisher. “I have two 90-foot boats. This is the best time. There is calm water most of the summer. "
The dive crews often go out for a week to 10 days at a time.
"We just come in, get gas and groceries, and then go back out," said Fisher.
On July 16, Moore was searching underwater with a metal detector when he heard a ping. He had come across something special.
"Throw out a silver coin and I'm just thrilled," he said.
Moore continued. But he kept moving. About three feet from where he found the silver coin, he discovered gold.
It was wedged in a hole in the rock just big enough to hold it in, he said.
As Moore got closer, he found that it was also a coin. It has a cross on one side.
"There's this beautiful gold coin with a cross on it that is staring right at me," said Moore. “Image like a choir of angels with rays of the sun shining downwards, somehow a feeling. It was a little glitter and a splash of that yellow gold. "
Moore called some of the other divers over to join the excitement. They had a five minute underwater celebration with hugs and high fives.
This silver and gold coin was discovered on July 16, 2021 by divers with Mel Fisher’s Treasures at a historic shipwreck off Key West. It was the first gold coin to be pulled from the shipwreck in 20 years.
Then it went back to the hunt for more.
"Okay, I have to go back to work," said Moore as his next thought. “I have to cover a lot of areas with the metal detector. I went straight back to work. "
Originally from Vero Beach, Moore is a second generation treasure diver. His parents, Bill and Julie, were both part of the "golden crew" that found the Atocha treasure 36 years ago. That's how they met.
"Diving for gold," said Moore. “It's in the blood. I just have to get out again so I can find more. "
Bill Moore, who worked for Mel Fisher for five years, said it was hard to explain what it was like to help find the Atocha treasure.
"We mined 165 pounds of gold," he said. "To know that you are part of it, 30 years later."
His son Zach called him ASAP after finding his first gold. He was on board the Magruder.
When asked what he said to his son, Bill Moore laughed and said, "Don't beat my record."
In this article:
Mel Fisher
American treasure hunter

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