FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- "This is like the end of a dream," said Rick Schmitt, who found an estimated $300,000 worth of Spanish gold chains and coins off the coast of Fort Pierce, Fla., this past weekend. The lifetime treasure hunter and his family discovered 64 feet of thin gold chain, weighing more three pounds, as well as five gold coins and a gold ring, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
"To be the first person to touch an artifact in 300 years is indescribable," Brent Brisben, the co-founder of the company that owns the rights to the wreckage site where the loot was found, told the publication. "They were there 150 years before the Civil War. It's truly remarkable to be able to bring that back."
The gold was found 150 yards off shore and only 15 feet under water in the spot where more than 11 Spanish ships were destroyed in a hurricane on July 30, 1715. The tragedy, which killed more than 1,000 people, gave the area its Treasure Coast nickname.
While the Schmitt family will have to give the state of Florida dibs on the goods -- up to 20 percent of the rarest finds will be displayed in museums -- the rest will be split between the family and Brisben's company. But, that isn't a problem for these modern-day pirates.
"The greatest treasure is time with the family," said Schmitt's wife, Lisa.