Blue Water Ventures International
Welcome to Blue Water Ventures International
Few adventures are more enticing to the imagination than the search for and discovery of sunken shipwrecks filled with lost treasures and tales of history and human drama. This is the work that the exploration team of Blue Water Ventures does every day, on some of the most important and exciting shipwreck sites in the world.
Through the application of historic research, advanced technology, and the combined skills of a world-class team of professionals, Blue Waters’ mission is to locate and recover historic sunken ships whose cargos offer material, intellectual, and social rewards. Our goal is to be the best in the field.
Blue Water Ventures is committed to the mission of responsible and cooperative exploration of our shared marine environment through industry best practices and standards, open dissemination of knowledge, transparency of intent, and international cooperation.
Global ExplorationWe have projects under development in many parts of the world with active projects off North America and in the Caribbean.
Marine SurveysWe use the latest state of the art technology to perform high precision studies of the ocean environment.
Marine ArchaeologyMarine archaeology is a cornerstone of our business. We utilize a stringent set of techniques and procedures during excavations.
Scientific StudyOur work permits us to engage in detailed scientific studies of shipwrecks and the overall ocean environment.
Research and DevelopmentOur R&D program is constantly searching for new technologies for use during the course of our operations.
Environmental ResponsibilityPreservation of the environment is of the highest priority. We maintain strict policies during active field operations.
Our business combines a diverse range of knowledge and skills, skilled professionals in a wide range of disciplines are required to operate effectively. Administrators, historians, archivists, divers, mechanics, technicians and sailors and just some of the specialists that make up the Blue Water team.
This beautiful artifact was recovered by BWVI from the wreck the Santa Margarita a Spanish galleon that sank in 1622. The Golden Chalice remains one of the most beautiful and exquisite treasures ever discovered.
The saga of the Santa Margarita begins in 1622. Namesake of the patron saint of homeless people, midwives and reformed prostitutes, Santa Margarita was a Spanish galleon of 600 tons, armed with twenty-five cannon. One of a fleet of 28 ships, she was voyaging to Spain with an enormous cargo of plundered New World treasures. In registered wealth, the Santa Margarita carried 166,574 silver “pieces of eight” treasure coins, more than 550 ingots of silver weighing some 10,000 pounds, and over 9,000 ounces of gold in the form of bars, discs and bits. Additionally, there was contraband — a fortune in “unregistered” treasure having been smuggled on board to avoid paying a 20 percent tax to the Spanish king. The Santa Margarita also carried riches in the form of copper, silverware, indigo, and personal possessions of officers, passengers, and crew, including medical tools, navigational instruments, gold coins, and precious jewelry of almost unimaginable opulence.
Salvage crews operating out of Havana recovered much treasure shortly after her sinking. Nearly 400 years later BWVI found some of the treasure they left behind.
Many beautiful artifacts were recovered from the wreck of the Santa Margarita. Among them was a lead box containing over 16,000 natural pearls. This is likely the largest and oldest collection of natural pearls in the world.
During the reign of Spain in colonial America pearls from the rich fisheries at Margarita Island were highly prized. Indian divers were forced to harvest the mollusks that produced these beautiful gems. These pearls were shipped around the world and are found in crown jewels, historic jewelry and museum collections around the world.
BWVI through it's wholly owned subsidiary Blue Water Treasures has begun creating an exclusive line of jewelry using Margarita Pearls as the centerpiece of each design.
Let our designers create a one of a kind ensemble especially for you!
After the discovery of the pearls BWVI sent the collection to the prestigious Gemological Institute of America. Their report is available at this link or by clicking on the photo to the left.
Pendant and chain weighs 14.3grams of 14kt rose gold and contain approx. 193 diamonds with a combined weight of approx. 1.89ctw and the chain contains another .53ctw.
Ring weighs 7.8grams of 14kt rose gold and contain approx. 161 diamonds with a combined weight of approx. 1.57ctw.
Earrings weigh 8.6grams of 14kt rose gold and contain approx. 158 diamonds with a combined weight of approx. 1.54ctw.
Total Aggregate: Over 500 diamonds set with a total diamond weight of 5.53 carats / 30.7 grams of 14 karat rose gold.
Each piece is engraved with the ships name and BWVI.
Every year, two fleets traveled between Spain and the Americas; the Escuadrón de Tierra Firme from Spain to South America, and the Flota de Nueva España toward Veracruz. Sometimes, these two fleets would travel together all the way to the Caribbean. The return voyage was more dangerous. The galleons were fully loaded with precious cargoes of gold, silver, jewelry, tobacco, spices, indigo, cochineal etc.…
The Squadron of Tierra Firme was under the command of Captain General Don Antonio de Echeverz y Zubiza, and consisted of six vessels. The Captain-General was in direct command of the capitana, the flagship, a captured English ship formerly named the Hampton Court, laden with a great number of chests of silver coins, gold coins, gold bars, gold dust, and jewelry, as well as tropical organic products. The flagship of the admiral, the almiranta, was equally richly laden. The Nuestra Señora de la Concepción carried gold coins and gold bars, as well as a number of chests of silver coins. The frigate San Miguel, the El Ciervo, and a patache, a smaller merchant vessel, completed the squadron.
The five ships of the New Spain Flota were under the general command of Captain General Don Juan Esteban de Ubilla. Juan Estebán de Ubilla was himself on the capitana, which carried some thirteen hundred chests containing 3,000,000 silver coins. There were also gold coins, gold bars, silver bars, and jewelry, as well as emeralds, pearls, and precious Kangxi Chinese export porcelain which had been brought to Mexico by the Manila Galleons. The almiranta carried nearly a thousand chests of silver coins, each individual chest containing some 3,000 coins. The refuerzo carried eighty-one chests of silver coins and over fifty chests of worked silver. Another ship, a patache, carried some 44,000 pieces of eight.
One frigate helped complete the flotilla. The French warship Griffon, commanded by Captain Antoine d’Aire, was forced to sail with the fleet; the Spaniards, although allied with the French, mistrusted them and feared that word of the fleet’s departure would leak out, thus compromising the safety of the richly laden galleons. In his 1975 book, “The Funnel of Gold”, historian Mendel Peterson estimated the value of the registered cargo of the combined fleet at 7,000,000 pieces of eight. Captain Antoine d’Aire reported that the fleet’s entire cargo was estimated at 15 million silver piastres (pieces of eight).
Slowly and smoothly the ships of Ubilla’s fleet gently followed the East coast of Florida, staying far enough away from the shore to take advantage of the Gulf Stream, staying clear of the treacherous shoals and reef formations which fringed the Florida coast. For the first five days the voyage was uneventful with the weather remaining good and giving no indication whatsoever of the rapidly approaching killer storm..........
Read the complete story on the website of the 1715 Fleet Society.
The Spanish Treasure Fleet of 1715 was an assembly of some of the richest ships ever to sail. Their loss was an economic catastrophe for Spain and resulted in a recession for all of Europe.
Their loss scattered untold amounts of treasure along the coast of Florida. Today this 50 mile long stretch of coast if famously known as The Treasure Coast. Explorers continue to search these sites and each year results in more amazing treasures being recovered.
Enjoy this slideshow produced by the 1715 Fleet Society.
The Wreck of the San Jose
Panama - 1631
An assortment of treasure recovered from the San Jose, the "Almiranta" of the South Seas Armada, consisting of pieces of eight, gold jewelry, document seals, musket balls and pottery.
At the top left corner is a reference that allowed modern day explorers to locate the wreckage of this richly laden Spanish galleon. The passages reads;
"On this should was lost the Admiral of the King of Spain in 1631 - with aboundance of riches."
This is a clear refernce to one of the galleons of the South Seas Armada which transported all of the gold and silver from the mines and mints of South America up to Panama. Once there the treasure was taken by mule train across Panama to the Atlantic side where ships picked up the treasure and took it back to Spain.
Image of one of BWVI's ships, the Blue Water Rose. This is a marine research vessel equipped with the latest state of the art technology and can support multiple dive teams during operations.