“Most treasures are found in hip deep waters,” said Carl Fismer (called “Fizz” by those who know him well) in his presentation to members and residents of the Isles of Capri at Capri Community’s last general meeting for the season, held on April 11.
What followed was truly a treasured memory for the approximately 60 attendees.
The audience appeared spell-bound as Fismer shared the fascinating stories of his life as a treasure hunter after retiring from an ordinary job he did not name. The samples of treasures and slides he presented reflected the millions of dollars he had uncovered in lost treasures in the sea.
Fismer, accompanied by his wife Roberta, who he calls “Scooter” travels the world looking for treasures and artifacts. Scooter doesn’t dive, but helps him with his collections and presentations.
“Heck no, I don’t dive -- I get seasick just riding on a boat,” Scooter said.
Fismer attributes everything he knows about treasure diving to his good friend and colleague Jack Haskins.
“I worked with him for 32 years, and he was the best treasure diver I have ever known,” Fismer said.
Haskins passed away five years ago, and having no living heirs, he left his entire treasure collection to Fismer and his wife.
Fismer wrote about the treasures as well as the adventures he had with Haskins and Bob Weller, another of his treasure diving friends in his book entitled “Unchartered Waters.”
Some of the stories shared with residents of Isles of Capri included the many loads of contraband and smuggled goods he discovered that were carried on ships.
“Sometimes there were more illegal goods than the original legal cargo,” Fismer said.
Fismer described what it was like to face rough seas, hurricanes, and “not so friendly” other folks in open waters.
Because of his expertise in diving shipwrecks and the Spanish Main, Fismer worked with Mel Fisher on the world famous treasure ship, the Atocha. Fismer was often described as a real life underwater Indiana Jones.
Fismer starred in his own television series, “Treasure Divers.” His actual treasures were featured in the programs. “This gave the productions a higher degree of realism,” Fismer said.
Among the thousands of treasures found include muskets, swords, anchors, Roman crosses, skulls and coins.
“In my opinion, old coins are the best things you can find,” Fismer said. “They are small, tourists like them, museums like them, and some can be worth thousands of dollars.”
Among the coins Fismer has in his collection are King Charles II coins.
“Florida has the biggest coast line and lots of lost treasures right off your coast,” Fismer said.
“Most treasures can be found by just wading in hip deep water with a metal detector,” said Fismer, as if he were tempting the audience to rush out and try it. “All you need is a metal detector. That is the most basic tool, and yes, I do sell metal detectors,” said Fismer, letting out a laugh.
“If you are a novice, don’t dive or search of for treasure in Sabastian Inlet,” warned Fismer. “That is the worst inlet in the United States with its rough waves,” Fismer said.
At the conclusion of his nearly 90-minute presentation, many rushed up to purchase one of his books or to ask him more questions about his life under the sea. Jerry Nelson, resident stood beside Fismer to have his photo taken with the winning raffle ticket. The ticket earned him a gift certificate to Capri’s popular Pelican Bend restaurant compliments of the Coopers (owners).
Contact Ann Hall at email@example.com.