Photos from space that pointed to ‘treasure wreck’

Photos from space that pointed to ‘treasure wreck’

A chart drawn up by the late US astronaut Gordon Cooper led underwater treasure-hunter Darrell Miklos to the Caribbean wreck-site of one of the earliest European ships to explore the Americas.

That was the conclusion drawn in the final episode of Discovery Channel’s documentary series Cooper’s Treasure, which has just been broadcast.

Miklos and fellow-diver Eric Schmitt found a large anchor off the Turks & Caicos Islands that they believe comes from one of the late-15th century ships of Vicente Pinzon.

The Spanish explorer had reached Brazil and the Amazon in 1499 but in July of 1500 two of his vessels sank during a hurricane while anchored off TCI.

Pinzon had found fame after he captained the caravel Nina, one of Christopher Columbus‘ squadron of vessels that had claimed discovery of the Americas in 1492.

The Cooper’s Treasure series described how a “treasure map” was produced in the 1960s by the pioneering Mercury astronaut Cooper, a friend of Miklos.

While taking part in a record-breaking 122-hour space mission to detect nuclear sites from low Earth orbit, Cooper had photographed more than 100 anomalies in the southern Caribbean that he believed represented sunken ships, and secretly created the chart based on these images.

Before his death in 2004 Gordon shared his secret with Miklos, who later set out with a team of researchers and a camera crew to uncover what he hoped would be treasure.

“This validates everything – where there’s an anchor there’s a shipwreck. Where there’s a shipwreck there’s treasure,” said Miklos when he returned to the dive-site with archaeologist Jim Sinclair.

Sinclair confirmed that the 2-ton bower anchor was typical of early Spanish shipbuilding and would have come from a 300-ton vessel. It was raised and shown to have been forged by hand.

The anchor’s location was said to match the reports of the sinking of Pinzon’s ships, as did the damage it had sustained. Broken Majorcan pottery found alongside the anchor was also dated to the period.

Miklos now plans to search the area further using Cooper’s charts.

Divernet – The Biggest Online Resource for Scuba Divers



Get a weekly roundup of all Divernet news and articles 🤿

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Divernet Posts

Diver Magazine Relaunch

Diver magazine needs YOU!

Are you still lamenting the demise of Diver magazine? Well now you can help resurrect an icon as we seek to bring back the magazine

Octopuses are booming in Cornwall

Octopuses are booming in Cornwall

Scuba divers, snorkellers and fishers have reported seeing “huge” numbers of octopuses along the Cornish coast in June, in what Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) reports

The Iolanthe Wreck Tour

Wreck Tour 101: The Iolanthe

This WW1 victim provides a deeper wreck than some off Dorset, so you’re less likely to have to share it with the masses. It’s well worth a visit, says JOHN LIDDIARD.

Follow Divernet on Social Media

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x