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Salvage Dive with Scuba Wize

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Kellyco is excited to get to work with Scuba Wize! They offer a once-in-a-lifetime sunken treasure workshop, and we are thrilled that we get to share that with our customers.

Kellyco VP of Community Outreach and Sales, Carolyn Yohannes, sat down with the crew at Scuba Wize. Read the following article to learn more about them:

Who is Scuba Wize?

Scuba Wize is a “one of a kind” bucket list adventure where we give people from all over the world the chance to learn about treasure hunting and treasure salvage from real successful treasure hunters including Capt. Carl Fismer “Fizz”, Capt. Bradley Williamson, and Marc Littleton Divemaster. These adventures are in a classroom setting in the morning and in the afternoon. We also visit and dive on two 1733 Spanish Galleon sites in the gin-clear waters of the Florida Keys, weather permitting.

What does Scuba Wize do?

Scuba Wize Treasure Expeditions

Scuba Wize Treasure Expeditions

The goal of Scuba Wize is to make dreams come true. Our motto is Dream It – Dive It- Find It. Ever since the days of Kip Wagner and the Real Eight company and people like Mel Fisher and Commander Robert “Frogfoot” Weller plus many others too numerous to mention here started working hard, planning and finding treasure off the Florida coast it has amazed and captivated people’s hearts and imaginations.

We give people the opportunity to live their dream and join us on an adventure of a lifetime. How many people ever get to learn about and visit a 1733 Spanish Galleon? Very few.

Our Sunken Treasure Workshop starts at 9 AM with a classroom session in the morning learning all sorts of topics including research, equipment we use, funding, the Abandon Shipwreck Act, and how people can get involved with just a metal detector and nothing else and still find treasure both modern and historical.

Then we take our classroom out to sea and visit two locations on the 1733 Fleet. At the end of the day, we arrive back at the dock and have an open question and answer session where we present certificates to those who joined us. We normally finish up after 6 PM or later.

The funny thing is we say this is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, but we have many students come back for a second, third, and more times. They learn something new each time they join us as no one class is the same as any other. Those that want to take this further past our one-day workshop are sometimes offered the opportunity to back us on the 1715 Fleet on the Pandion and possibly visit as a guest diver for a day as long as they have strong diving abilities.

We do require before we allow them back us to join us at a Sunken Treasure Workshop or at the very least an in-person meeting. This way we get to know our potential backers and they get to know us, and we can judge if this is a good fit for both of us.

The History of Pandion: One of the Most Successful and Oldest
Treasure Recovery Vessels (Written by: Bradley Williamson)

Pandion and The Owners

Pandion and The Owners

The story of one of the oldest and most successful treasure recovery vessels begins in 1970 when a shipbuilding company based out of Miami, Florida, called Stapleton, built the Pandion. Initially, she saw service in the Florida Keys as a 6-pack dive boat called, Mrs. Budweiser. Then a successful treasure hunter named John Halas bought her and outfitted her to be a treasure recovery vessel and moved her up the coast to work the famous 1715 Treasure Fleet.

John renamed her from Mrs. Budweiser to Pandion, which is the name from Greek mythology of a legendary king of Athens. More importantly and the real reason he changed the name is that it is also Latin for the genus for birds of prey over the ocean such as the Osprey.

John found a lot of treasure with her including the famous “jewelry patch,” one of the 1715 Spanish treasure galleons, the Nuestra Senora de la Nieves. John actually found so much treasure using the Pandion that when my mentor, also known as “father” Lt. Commander Bob Weller, also known as Bob “Frogfoot” Weller, bought her from John Halas he found several silver coins, Pieces of Eight in the bilge when he cleaned her.

One year after buying her, Bob Weller changed the engine from gas to a diesel engine and that is when I, Bradley Williamson, first started diving with him back in 1987 and when Pandion became a part of my life.

Bob owned and operated Pandion for many years and found numerous fabulous treasures including gold doubloons, silver pieces of eight, gold chains, gold jewelry with emeralds rubies and diamonds, even what has been referred to as the “Queen’s Jewels”. At this point, this little vessel had already had over 7 million dollars of sunken treasure come across her transom.

Unfortunately, many years later, Bob had to sell the Pandio and we were all sad to see her go. A couple of years after selling her, Bob approached me about buying the Pandion and running my own treasure recovery company.

Bob had been both a mentor and father to me but he was beginning to get pretty old and wanted to pass the reigns on to me. I found Pandion and was able to buy her, but unfortunately, she had suffered many years of neglect and was in such bad shape that when I towed her into a marina to rebuild her, everyone who took one look at her felt sorry for me.

All the wood was rotten and infested with termites, the deck was dangerous to walk on and was completely rotted, the engine was rusted and falling apart, etc.

I stripped her down to the bare hull and redid all of the decking with a new strong and lightweight polymer material, replaced the engine with a new Yanmar diesel turbocharged engine, replaced the shaft and propeller, replaced all the electronics, replaced the awing and all the upper structure, basically, I had the entire boat rebuilt.

When I owned Pandion we had some great adventures. I worked with the Pandion on several projects in the Florida Keys, including the 1733 Treasure Fleet. I also worked with her on the famous 1715 Treasure Fleet and even a treasure recovery project 10 miles out at sea off the coast of Georgia. I found a lot of treasure such as silver Pieces of Eight, Gold Doubloons, etc. However, similar to Bob’s situation, I had to sell her.

I always wanted to buy her back and a couple of years later I began my search to find her and buy her back. Eventually, I did find her, but once again she was in awful shape and basically had to be completely rebuilt, including a new engine.

My friend Carl Fismer and I bought her and began to rebuild her. We got a new engine, electronics, hookah, etc., and started working the 1715 treasure fleet again. All the treasure salvors were happy to see Pandion back at sea and working again. I was lucky to meet another successful treasure salvor, Marc Littleton.

Carl and I were happy to have Marc Littleton on board with us and Marc has also done his share of work on Pandion, repainting her, replacing the wood on the dive platforms, new metal dive ladder, new radio, etc.

So now the Pandion, to the delight of all of us in the treasure recovery community, is still out at sea and still recovering treasure. She is now the oldest vessel with the most treasure recovery history of any vessel at sea and has had easily over 7 million dollars in sunken treasure come across her transom.

You can find pictures of her in several books, see her on newsreels when she was returning to port with lots of recovered sunken treasure aboard, and you will continue to see her in the news returning to port with recovered sunken treasure.


The Crew

Bradley Williamson

Bradley Williamson

Bradley Williamson

Bradley Williamson is an explorer, scientist, and treasure hunter. Bradley has traveled the globe from the Great Wall of China to the Pyramids of Egypt. He has also searched for, located, and recovered sunken treasure from numerous shipwrecks. Bradley has explored the legends of pirate treasure and even lost gold mines in the Superstition Mountains. Bradley and his successful treasure expeditions have been included in popular TV shows, books, magazines, and films.

Some of the TV shows his expeditions and adventures have been the subject matter of are Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates which appears during prime time on both the Travel Channel and The Discovery Channel. Bradley has appeared on numerous episodes over the years.

Some of the episodes are the Pirate Captain Kidd’s treasure, the Pirate Jean Lafitte and his Lost Treasure, the Pirate Jose Gaspar, etc. He also was the successful treasure “finder” on the TV show Caribbean Pirate Treasure with Phillippe Cousteau who shared with Phillippe Cousteau and his wife about pirates and pirate treasure, including showing them some of his treasure recoveries.

Bradley is also an advisor for major motion pictures and recently worked with Warner Brothers on the extremely successful motion picture “Fool’s Gold” which included the cast of Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, and Donald Sutherland.

Bradley has also appeared in numerous books such as Shipwrecks of Florida by Steve Singer, Galleon Alley by Bob Weller, and Treasures of the Spanish Main by John Fine, and numerous other books. Brad’s company and website TreasureExpeditions.com were included in the New York Times Best Seller, Deep Blue by Kate Martin.

Bradley and his adventures have also been featured in numerous, magazines, periodicals, and newspapers such as Treasure Quest Magazine, Lost Treasures Magazine, Plus Ultra, Scuba News, Scuba Magazine, PalmBeach Post and he has also worked with National Geographic Magazine. Brad has even been followed internationally in periodicals such as the national newspaper of Spain.

Bradley apprenticed, dove, and worked with Bob “Frogfoot” Weller who is recognized as one of the highest regarded and extremely successful treasure hunters. Bob was also a Commander in the Navy and a member of the Famous UDT Team 1, which was the forerunner for today’s Navy SEALs.

Bob is also the author of several successful books on treasure hunting and sunken treasure numerous books and the magazine, Treasure Quest. Bradley Williamson worked with Bob for over 20 years on many projects and recovered a multitude of treasures and valuable artifacts.

Bradley received his Bachelor of Arts and his areas of study were business and languages and linguistics. Bradley studied French, German, Spanish, and his primary language-Japanese. He is also familiar with Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. During his college years, Brad earned Honors and was awarded The National Deans List, and was also a member of the National Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa. Bradley then went to Washington D.C. and attended George Washington University to work on his MBA in international business, where he maintained a 4.0.

However, he realized his true passion was in medical research and he is currently in the graduate program at Johns Hopkins University and Medicine and is a 4.0 honor student focusing on human genetic bioengineering and working towards his MD/Ph.D., along with studying archaeology through Harvard.

Carl Fismer “Fizz”

Carl Fismer aka "Fizz"

Carl Fismer aka “Fizz”

Carl Fismer lives the life of an adventurer. The type of life that they make books, movies, and video games about. Carl Fismer, affectionately dubbed “Fizz”, is a treasure hunter that has dived on some of the world’s most famous shipwrecks. He is often described as a real-life underwater Indiana Jones.

Carl is an active treasure hunter who travels the world looking for treasure and artifacts. He has worked with Mel Fisher on the world-famous treasure ship, the Atocha. Carl Fismer is often called in as an expert on shipwrecks and treasures of the Spanish Main when producers and writers want to add realism to their productions.

When Carl isn’t diving shipwrecks, he tours around the world as a motivational speaker. Imagine your next conference with an inspirational speaker as electrifying as Carl as your keynote speaker.

The excitement of the crowd when they hear that a world-famous treasure diver is going to be featured. Carl’s story is fascinating and will motivate and inspire the room. Carl delights his audience with stories of shipwrecks, lost treasure, the Spanish Main, and treasure hunting.

Carl is a motivational speaker like no other. Unlike usual speakers who are business people or politicians, your audience will be intrigued and inspired by Carl’s unique story.

Carl is a motivational speaker who left an ordinary job to lead the life of a treasure hunter. Carl has weathered hurricanes, starred in his own television series “Treasure Divers”, looked for lost treasure, and found millions of dollars of sunken treasure.

Marc Littleton

Marc Littleton

Marc Littleton

When Marc was a ten-year-old boy growing up on the Manasquan River in Point Pleasant NJ in 1968, he had dreams of finding treasure at the bottom of the ocean.

His mentors were the aquanauts at the time like Jacques Cousteau and his son Jean-Michel Cousteau (he was 7 years old when certified to dive). Marc’s Dad finally gave in and let him start diving with a small dive tank with, a two-hose regulator, and a couple of pool classes from a friend that was a diver.

At the time there was no SCUBA training for kids his age. He was told to find treasure in the shallow, murky waters of the Manasquan River, and off he went.

Two years later Marc became SCUBA certified by Navy Diver George Singer; he was also a famous deep water hard hat diver in the North East. George Singer was Marc’s new mentor growing up and over the years until he retired after a long career as the owner of 4 Divers Dive Shop in Point Pleasant Beach NJ.

They did many of the wrecks along the Jersey shore before he stopped diving in 1971. George gave Marc the nickname Shark Bait when he would refuse to move away from a mako shark on the SS Mohawk wreck site.

In 1972, Marc was one of the first PADI divers to be certified on the east coast. Over the years, he has progressed and honed his skills becoming an expert wreck diver with over 7000 logged dives.

In 1978, he joined the army and worked as a medic and black water diver. He was stationed all over the world and dove at every chance he had in many remote locations.  In the early 1980s, he started to enjoy the history of the wreck sites.

Marc visited and decided to move his PADI certifications to the next level. His training progressed all the way to Divemaster/AI and then to instructor allowing him to take other divers out on the wrecks and teach them the history he had learned over the years.

As with many others other divers from Marc’s area, one of the main dive boats was the now world-famous Seeker out of Brielle NJ. Only the best of the best (or as his dad would tell him, “the craziest”) would dive on this boat because of the many deep water dives past that of recreational dive limits.

Most of Marc’s diving was mostly deeper water wrecks off the northeast coast to include Mount Everest the S.S. Andrea Doria at 245 feet.


The Shortage on Salvage Divers

We get asked all the time, “Can we come out and dive with you?”

Divers are easy to find, but for every 100 divers out there, only one may know how to use a metal detector underwater. Then comes the question can they work on the deck of the boat, how about dive in almost zero visibility on the 1715 Fleet. Diving on the 1715 Fleet can have its dangers, from swimming anchor lines, working under the blower, predators in the open water, and poor visibility. This is why we try to choose our salvage divers very carefully and prefer they have taken our Sunken Treasure Workshop.

About The Author
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Jenna is new to the metal detecting community. Although new to the hobby, her passion for exploring and outdoor adventure has been a lifelong interest.