Spanish Galleon ‘Holy Grail of Shipwrecks’ Found

Some details have finally been revealed around the discovery, in 2015, of the 62-gun, treasure-loaded Spanish galleon long known as the “holy grail of shipwrecks.”

The San José went down with hundreds of sailors and chests of gold, silver and emeralds mined in Peru and worth up to $17 billion in today’s dollars during a 1708 battle with British ships in the Caribbean Sea off the South American coast.

The legendary wreck was discovered off Cartagena, Colombia, on Nov. 27, 2015, launching questions about a potentially testy private-public resolution of who would collect on the glory, and, possibly, the bounty. As such, secrecy has shrouded the project for years before a few new details of that discovery were released this week.

To hunt for the San José, researchers used an unmanned underwater vehicle called REMUS 6000, owned by the Dalio Foundation, created by the head of the world’s largest hedge fund, Ray Dalio, and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). It’s the same vessel that helped find the wreckage of Air France 447 in 2011 and helped map and photograph the Titanic wreck site in 2010.

To confirm the identity of the San José, REMUS, celebrated for its ability to conduct long-duration missions over wide areas, descended near the suspected wreck, found about 2,000 feet underwater, capturing photos of a key distinguishing feature of the San José: bronze cannons engraved with dolphins, the WHOI said in its release. WHOI said it…

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