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Offline hardluckTopic starter
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« on: May 17, 2012, 08:40:35 am »
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Hello all

There is a treasure legend on Santa Catalina island off Californian coast. Could this legendary treasure be connected to a pirate attack of Baja in the 16th century?

The legend claims that a man called Samuel Prentiss, said to have been born in 1782 and who died in 1854 on Santa Catalina Island. According to the story, Samuel was a sailor who served on, and then deserted from, an American ship of war in Lima, Peru. Later he signed onto the bark "Danube" as a ship's carpenter. About 1824 Samuel Prentiss was shipwrecked on the bark "Danube" off what is now San Pedro in Los Angeles County.

Leaving the wreck, Samuel then walked along the coast to the San Gabriel Mission, he alegelly met an elderly or dying Pimungan indian Chief called Turia, who gave him a map marking buried Spanish gold on Santa Catalina Island. The Pimungan indians had lived on Catalina island for generations, but by the mid-1820 they were removed to, Mission San Gabriel on the mainland.

Samuel returned to San Pedro, built a makeshift boat from the wreckage of the "Danube" and sailed back to Santa Catalina Island, losing both his map and his provisions in a storm enroute to the Island. Samuel is said to have spent the next few years digging, fruitlessly, for the buried treasure. Another version claims he looked for a certain tree on the island and dug underneath that tree. However he could not find the alleged correct tree. Was he the victim of a cruel joke by the old indian or was there some thing more to the story?

Strange enough, there is a very old Spanish rumor that the treasure was buried there by some English pirates, possibly by rebelious crew members from the Thomas Cavendish expedition? It is known that Cavendish captured the Spanish treasure galleon, "Santa Ana," and its treasures off the coast of Baja California, and it is known that he had sailed north with his small pirate fleet.

The pirate ships was overflowing with gold pearls and silver and gems on their three small ships looted from raids and from the Manilia ship. To make their getaway across the pacific they badly needed to careen thier vessels. At on a certain place on the mexican coast while doing necesary repairs to thier vessels to make the long voyage across the Pacific, they were attacked by the Spanish. But the Spanish was repelled by the pirates after lossing 30 of their men. This left not enough men to man three vessels. Thus one was claimed to been scuttled coast in the southern Channel Island where part of the treasure and loot was buried on one of the islands.

Another version claims that part of crew was unhappy with thier share and took off with one of the ships. Their fate has never been fully established.

Thomas Cavendish was. born 1560 and died 1592. He sailed with Sir Richard Grenville’s expedition to America in 1585, and upon his return to England began to plan for his own circumnavigation of the globe, this time modeled on sir Francis Drake’s voyage. Cavendish sailed from Plymouth England with three ships in 1586, and generally followed Drake’s route of 1577-80 and reached the Cape Verde islands before starting to head West. He discovered Port Desire (now Puerto Desaedo) in Argentina. After passing through the strait of Magellan, he looted Spanish ships and settlements as far north as California before crossing the Pacific.

Cavendish stopped in the Philipinnes, Moluccas and Java before crossing the Indian Ocean. He rounded the Cape of Good Hope and arrived in Plymouth in the Fall of 1588 with only one ship left, but it was loaded to the brim with treasures. Cavendish had successfully circumnavigated the globe in 26 months, 7 months less time than it had taken Sir Francis Drake.

 Cavendish after that success undertook another grand expedition, but died en route in 1592. Was he intending to return to the islands of Santa Catalina, where it it is alleged treasure was buried from the scuttled ship?

Was the alleged treasure map a relic from a pirate shipwreck sailor from the ship that deserted Cavendish with the knowege of buried treasure from the scuttled ship?

Interesting question! But the fact remains Samuel Prentiss failed in his search and by 1854 was reported dead. Just before he died, he told Stephen Bouchette, of the treasure. Bouchette began searching under trees. Needing capital, Bouchette staked a claim and announced he had found a rich vein. He secured generous backing, and spent more than $10,000 for extensive tunnels stretching overt 800 feet.

 Some believe that his claim never produced any gold, but was only a ruse used to get loans to dig for the lost gold treasure. In 1878, he and his wife loaded all they could onto a sailboat and were never seen again. Experts are still unable to determine if they found the treasure, were lost at sea, or simply returned to the mainland.

The mystery still remains to sort out the the facts from the legends with this treasure legend. But perhaps Santa Catalina with its long intriguing history will one day give up some of her secrets.

Hardluck


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« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 08:44:10 am by hardluck »
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2012, 09:03:28 am »
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Hardluck I think I have some info on this one will look when I get home later today.

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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2012, 12:55:49 pm »
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Hmmmmmm verrryy interesting indeed. Would be a very good story of adventure. AND!!!1 I might add pretty cool to find it. SUrprised thepeople thqt call it home havent found something from the past there. At least I never heard of anything when I lived in CA.


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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 01:24:48 am »
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Hello Seldom

Thanks anything you can find especially early versions of the legend would be much appreciated.

Renagade7 Thats the fantastic thing about treasure legends they can be found the world over in many lanuages and cultures. Some times some of the most interesting can be in your own back yard so to speak.

Santa Catalina is perhaps worth exploring a bit more, anyway a good excuse as any. Wink

There seems to be an interesting history of shipwrecks allegedly connected to the island. For example  Although nautical archaeologist R. Duncan Mathewson III once stated, a number of Manila Galleons are known to have been wrecked off its coast around Santa Catalina.


THE SANTA MARTA

    One of the earliest of the Manila Galleons, the Santa Marta, ran aground on Santa Catalina Island in 1582 after a rough return voyage from the Philippines. Although the crew and passengers were able to save some of her valuable cargo, an estimated 200 tons of treasure went down with the ship. It is possible that a salvage expedition was dispatched from Acapulco the following year, since the location of the wreck was known to the survivors. However, there are no records of the Santa Marta ever being salvaged.

.


THE NUESTRA SENORA DE AYUDA

    The 230 ton Nuestra Senora de Ayuda struck a rock and sank west of Santa Catalina Island in 1641. None of the rich cargo from Manila was ever recovered. The wreckage lies somewhere on a shallow reef awaiting discovery by a lucky diver.


THE SAN SEBASTIAN

    According to Potter, the San Sebastian was a Spanish merchant ship, quite possibly a Manila Galleon, that sank off the west shore of Santa Catalina Island during the winter of 1754. She had been sailing through the outer Santa Barbara Channel when she was attacked by the English pirate George Compton. While attempting to escape, the San Sebastian ran aground and quickly sank. Potter believes that the wreckage is buried deep under shifting sands in 170 feet of water.

    In the 250 years that the Manila Galleons sailed, over 30 ships were lost. All but four of the losses occurred on the eastward passage from Manila to Acapulco. How many Manila Galleons await discovery off the California coast? No one really knows for certain.

So perhaps there might be a grain of truth behind the legends?

Hardluck



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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 08:50:26 am »
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Thought I had more info on this one but it seem I don't Sorry guys.  I do have a note that in Jan 1899 one of the San Francisco  news papers reported that a man named Roberts accused a man of leisure of being Stephen Bouchette a con man who took money invested in a gold mine and run off. Never followed up on it but some one in the area might check out the news paper archives.   

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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 10:28:01 pm »
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Hello All

It is one of those legends that rquire some careful sifting through archives and journals. Santa Catalina has been its fairs share of rogues and scoundrals over the years in its long history. The smuggling of chinese on the west coast og the island was rife. It could be possible to find small smuggler caches on the west coast of the island.

Anyway a nice spot to spend a few days and explore a little.

Hardluck

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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2013, 07:53:25 pm »
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You should look at Tomas Torquemada's first hand account of landing on Santa Catalina island in the 16th century. It talks about a Temple of the Sun with a giant golden idol - which is clearly marked on Vizcaino's original map. A great resource for the early history of Santa Catalina island is written by George Davidson (first to survey CA coast) in which he compares the journeys of Vizcaino, Cabrillo and Cavendish. (or Drake)  Its thoroughly researched and no nonsense. (dont quote me on that, its been awhile) I believe you are correct that the story of the Danube started in Peru where many sailors were held prisoner, including Prentiss and Bouchette....and Mr. James Lick. The richest man in CA. Who privately bought the island and kicked everyone off except for the Danube survivors. Bouchette disappears shortly after Lick (who I believe was funding the venture) dies (the island kept in his private estate for some 60 years afterwards)....a little teaser. James LIcks obituary the day he died said "Mr. Licks private island was not counted as part of his estate as a discovery of great mineral wealth is expected there soon." Feel free to contact me if you'd like more information.

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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2016, 01:53:21 pm »
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Anyone serious about treasure hunting around Catalina Island (CA)?  I am local and interested in exploring possible wrecks and caches.  Would love to hear from anyone on this and/or other California wrecks.

- Brad

bradstrad@gmail.com



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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2016, 01:54:01 am »
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My uncle, Bob Meistrell, told me quite about this.  I am not sure if this is the wreck or not, but he spoke often to me about knowing the exact location of the wreck, but it required a significant effort to get it.  Obviously a tricky and/or deep dive.  From all the clues he had given me, I think it is between two points.  Unfortunately, he passed away in 2013 on the boat he loved, aptly named The Disappearance.   I might be willing to share some stories.

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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2016, 10:29:37 am »
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BG53   .    Anything you can contribute without giving away what you would like to chase is Magic. 

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