Chaves is a small treasure ship that was sent to the bottom of the ocean by a Florida Keys hurricane
The Chaves does not have any marker or mooring buoys to mark the site. The depth of the water here is 15'. The shipwreck it located just off Snake Creek at Windley Key. This is NOT a Sanctuary Preservation Area, although one of the shipwrecks from this fleet may be chosen to be the next underwater park in the Florida Keys. The GPS coordinates are 24'56.179N and 080'34.985W.
She was one of the ships in the Nueva Espana fleet of treasure ships. They left the Havana harbor on a Friday 13th in 1733. The entire fleet was made up of four armed galleons, eighteen merchant naos and several smaller ships that were loaded with a treasure of silver pesos. They were taking the treasure from the New World back to the Spanish Empire. The next day Saturday 14th, 1733 a hurricane hit the fleet just as they had spotted the islands of the Florida Keys. Five ships ran from the hurricane,four made it back to Havana safely and one sailed on to Spain without any damage. The rest of the fleet was driven onto the reefs and flats of the Upper Florida Keys.
The Spanish Authorities salvaged all the could from the wrecked ships over the next few years. After that the ships laid undisturbed for centuries. In the 1900's the ships were found by treasure hunters. The treasure and any artifacts were taken and sold. Some treasure hunters kept their finds in their private treasure collection.
This dive site doesn’t have lots of visitors. Many divers don’t even know it’s out there. All that’s left of her are some wooden planks and a bunch of scattered ballast stones. She’s in the sand between patches of turtle grass. I’ve heard rumors that silver pesos are still being found here on this shipwreck in the waters of the Florida Keys.
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