National Geographic : 1965 Jan
The best way to use it is to straddle the tube, lying face down along its length. One hand helps to guide the tube; the other hand rakes loose material toward the maw, turning away larger stones and filtering smaller objects through the fingers for interesting finds. As you dig, you find you have a curious audience. Formations of small drum and sheepshead hover just at the edge of your vision. When you lift a stone the fish rush to nip at the minute sea animals uncovered. But none of us has found sea life to be a threat. Once Harry Cannon did come up complaining about small fish. "Those little devils! My arms are peeling from sunburn and those fish are driving me crazy try ing to nip off the loose skin-I'm being nibbled alive!" Divers Have Understanding With Sharks Through the years we have observed a curious phenomenon. Fifty or sixty yards to the north of the site there is a spot where sharks gather by the dozens. They swarm along the edge of a shallow reef, where we see them, like rafts of submerged driftwood, or as a formation of dark fin tips cutting the trough of the next wave. Since they have left us strictly alone, we try to disturb them as little as possible. Only at this one spot have any of us ever seen sharks along the coast in such numbers. Could it be that this particular school retains a "tribal memory" of the Great Feast of 1715? We prefer not to think of it that way. With our sand dredge we dug a trench along the length of our first ballast-stone heap, until we reached the hard coquina, or concreted lime-and-shell layer which, we assumed, was here long before the ship wreck. Then we began to transfer ballast stones into this new trench. When the divers had moved the last ballast stone from one section, they exposed timbers of black, rot ting wood. Now we were certain we were "inside" our ship. The remaining wood of the timbers was a frag ile dark substance. Great pieces came away in the divers' hands, dissolving into inky clouds that dis persed like smoke in the surging current, before they realized what it was. Spain's imperial grandeur imprints a golden dlou bloon found by the treasure hunters. About the size of a silver dollar, it is here enlarged to show markings. "Philip V, By the Grace of God, 1714," reads the outer rine of lettering. "M" at left signifies minting in Mex ico C'ity. "J" is the mark of the assayer, Jose Eustaguio (Ie Leon. "VIII" tells the value, eight escudos. The shield combines coats of arms of Spain's prov inces and possessions. Fleur-de-lis of the Bourbons, the King's family, tills the center. Castle tower in upper left symbolizes Castile. Rampant lion at top represents Le6n, those at the bottom the Low Coun tries, then the Spanish Netherlands. Vertical bars at top right denote Aragon; elongated bars with cross beams stand for Naples and Sicily.