The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. It was the one place in Key West Jason really wanted to see & the one indoor activity we couldn't resist. Have you heard of Mel Fisher? He's likely the most famous treasure hunter of all time. The man who dedicated his life to finding the Atocha and succeeded!
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
The First Search
Items for Everyday Living
The Atocha carried 14 tons of provisions to feed 260 men for 8 weeks. Daily rations included 1-1/2 biscuit, 2 pints wine, 1 pint water, salted meat and cheese, beans or rice depending on the day of week.
A Fortune In Treasure
She also carried a fortune in treasure worth millions of dollars in the 1600's. The Nuestra Señora de Atocha (translation Our Lady of Atocha) was named after a holy shrine in Madrid, Spain. She was loaded with copper, silver, gold, tobacco & indigo bound for Spain. The Atocha was also heavily armed as she was the Almirante or Rear Guard of the fleet.
With Treasure Comes Pirates
We were awestruck by the history & treasures on exhibit at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. But if you thought you'd be leaving without a tear in your eye and a lump in your throat you would be mistaken. The museum also shows the horrors of the slave trade and the plight of Cuban refugees seeking freedom in America.
Slavery & The Slave Trade
Voyage to Freedom - Cuban Chugs
Chugs are the boats Cuban refugees crafted (out of almost anything) to make the 90 mile journey from Cuba to Freedom in the United States of America.
We took a lot of pictures but none match the experience of touring the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. It's something one should see for themselves. If you find yourself in Key West, don't miss this museum. It was a truly amazing, highly informative and extremely moving experience.
We have one more stop on our walking tour of Key West.
And two more weeks of exploring to do.
Following us for more adventure!
Greetings! My name is Julie. I'm a bookkeeper by trade, an artisan by choice & the author of this blog by default. :)