Wednesday 23 June 2010

Day 3, Martime history, Gold and African-American history


Another early start and a busy day ahead. Today we are off to visit a marine heritage museum. As you know I am fascinated by maritime history. My home town back in Shoreham in the UK, has a lot of connections to maritime history. It has been a very important port town for hundreds of years. It has also been important as a ship building town, for hundreds of tears until recent history. Ships built here were for many uses such as trade, Man O War ships which fought in many famous sea battles and vessels that protected the south coast from pirates. These are some of the last vessels made in the town, back in the late 18.00's
So as you can imagine, I was really pleased to find out where today’s destination would be.

We departed Florida City for the 3 hour ride down to Key West , which I visited last time very quickly on my last day. (The Southern most point of the US.90 miles south of Key West is the island of Cuba). However this time I would get to visit the Mel Fisher Museum.
Mel Fisher was a treasure hunter who spent most of his adult life looking for the Spanish galleon Atocha. This is the most famous of a fleet of Spanish ships that sank in 1622 off the Florida Keys while carrying copper, silver, gold, tobacco, gems, jewels, jewelry and indigo from Spanish ports at Cartagena, Colombia.
Here I am with Lisa next to a replica of the Atocha.
Tim Runyon, Jerald Jones, Lisa and me with a cannon from the Atocha

Mel Fisher finally locates the ship in the nineteen eighties. He then establishes a museum to house some of the artifacts from the wreck.
A gold spoon from the Atocha. To date they have recovered almost four hundred million dollars in silver, gold, and other precious metals.

Mel Fisher divided the bounty up between the state of Florida and his investors. The rest is in the Museum.

He also started the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society, a not-for-profit organisation set up with the aim of accumulating and disseminating information; providing educational services to the public on maritime and colonial activity in the New World and preserving maritime culture resources.

I toured the museum with the NABS/YES and we also got to see what the public doesn't see. A behind the scenes tour of the Heritage Society with archaeologist Corey Malcom.
Corey showed me a page out of his daily log. He told us about how the artifacts are treated when they are recovered form the ocean floor.
This is the electrostatic process used to remove debris from artifacts. Metals like iron and copper take many years to remove the debris from them, precious metals like gold and silver only take a few days.

We left Mel Fisher and walked over to NOAA welcome center called Eco-Discovery center. I had been here before, but I did not tell anyone and enjoyed my second visit here too.
Me and Lisa (you may have noticed that Lisa has been giving me a lot of extra special care).
Jessica studying some fish

We toured the center then we went over to an African Cemetery located on Higgs Beach in KW. The cemetery has a story all by itself. We were very fortunate to have Ms Norma Jean Sawyer give us the history of the cemetery.
We left the cemetery and went shopping and we ended our evening at Mallory Square.

Some of my friends wrote up some of my blog entry for me, I hope you enjoy what they have written.

Chanel McFollins- Ed the Bear with Team Le-mon

Today was my third day with the NABS/YES program. Luckily, it was dry day because my fur takes long to dry! It was a beautiful day, the weather was great: strong winds, no rain, and mild temperatures. After eating breakfast, we started off on the journey to Key Largo, passing several other keys long the way, such as Key Conch, Key Torch, and Key Pigeon.
Our destination, the Mel Fisher Museum, was reached finally and we received a special behind the scenes tour from archaeologist Corey Malcolm.
He showed us the art of salvaging artifacts from the ocean on land, and how to carefully preserve them, and appreciate their value.
This process can take several years, for example, two cannons he believes may have been Christopher Columbus’ has taken nine years to completely clean. After presenting him with a certificate of appreciation, we continued on to the Eco Discovery Center where we ate delicious sandwiches and watched an interesting film showing how the ocean is not only valuable for its beauty and food, but also helps a young woman to mature with the environment.

We then went to the Memorial Ceremony on Higgs beach to learn and appreciate the African who were abducted and tried to be forced into slavery, but were saved ad brought to Florida for protection. It taught us to be grateful for their trials and tribulations, and make your life the best it can be. Next came shopping!! We were able to walk around and experience life on Key West before meeting at Hard Rock Café for dinner, which was yummy.
After eating, we needed to work off that food somehow… I sure did, so we walked around Mallory Square, browsing and listening to the talented musicians, while also viewing the Disney Wonder. What a great day! I can’t wait to hit the cave for some sleep.

Ashley Hilbert Yellow Group Le-moon

Hello everyone it’s Ed the bear here and today we took a long road trip on the bus down to the southern most point of Florida. We saw a lot of things while in the keys!

We first went to the Mel Fisher Museum we got a behind the seen tour and we also toured the actual museum.
More gold from the Atocha, this time a gold cup.
Gold bars
Here I am lifting a gold bar
Once we left there we had our tasty subs for lunch. We then headed over to a memorial sight for African Americans that were almost slaves but were intercepted before that occurred.
We learned a lot about Africa American history while there. Once we were done with that we went shopping in the keys everyone got some cool souvenirs to take home with them. We then eat at he Hard Rock Café. We also got cookies for desert while there. It general it was a very eventful and fun filled day. I really enjoyed my self!

Well to start it off, my name is Jeremiah, I’m with the lemon group and I’m blogging about what we did today (June 23,2010). Today I learned a little more about African-American history. One thing that stuck out to me was how the African-Americans were treated differently in Florida than in other parts of America during the 1900’s.
I learned that our ancestors were treated with care and giving shelter and hospitalized in Florida while in other states, we were being shipped to the United States to be slaves and treated harshly.

I also learned about shipwrecks. At first I was skeptical about shipwrecks and their importance in our history. Shipwrecks are like missing pieces of a puzzle. When we find them, we can connect them to a story that would make us have a better understanding of our history. I didn’t think that shipwrecks were interesting until today at the museum. What really got me interesting in shipwrecks were pirates and what they left for us to discover underwater. What really astonished me were the weapons and treasures left behind by pirates. A lot of pirate ships had large canons that varied sizes from eight feet to about eleven feet. Well I’m keeping this short and brief. Those were the main focuses of my interest today.

Wow what an amazing day. We did not get back to Florida City till well after midnight , so we were all very tired. Ed

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