Wednesday, August 3, 2016

8/3/16 Report - Tortugas Wreck Mortar. Zika Virus in Florida. What You Can See In A Cockle Shell. Tropical Storm Earl.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Yesterday I showed a couple of mortars that the Capitana crew recently found. Here is a mortar found on the Tortugas Wreck, thought to be from the 1622 Terra Firme Fleet.  It appears to be about the same size as those I showed yesterday.  This one was displayed by Odyssey Marine, and is one of two found on the Tortugas Wreck.  The fact that the ones found on the Tortugas Wreck and the ones found recently were found in pairs might be significant.  As I said yesterday, they could be used for pharmaceutical, culinary or for other and possibly multiple purposes.

The Odyssey web site says "These utensils are commonly interpreted as surgeon’s mortars, undoubtedly due to their depiction in paintings such as Interior of a Dutch Pharmacy by the School of Terborgh dated to 1665 and in The Surgery by Gerard Thomas, 1663-1720. However, these objects enjoyed an equally broader function for basic food preparation. The precise "Tortugas" type of bronze mortar is extremely common in still life works by the Seville school in the Golden Age, typified by Diego Velázquez’s Kitchen Scene with Christ in the House of Martha and Mary of 1618, Christ at Emmaus of c. 1620 and Two Young Men at a Table, assigned a date of 1623-24 ."

The one shown here today was located just beyond the hull in the starboard stern.  This one is heavily decorated.

The Odyssey web site also says, "The origin of the "Tortugas" wreck’s bronze mortars and pestles is unverifiable, but a letter written in 1549 in Seville reveals that a metal mortar weighing 9lbs cost 1½ real per pound and a pestle 2 reales. Since the record is concerned with how “To transport the containers from Triana to the apothecary shop” (in this instance perhaps revealing usage for grinding medicinal herbs), production within Seville may be hypothesized."

The alabaster one shown yesterday could well have a different origin.

Here is the Odyssey link.


You have probably heard of the Zika virus.  It is a virus being spread by mosquitoes in Florida, specifically the Miami area.  People who are pregnant or thinking of having children are particularly at danger.  CDC provides a number of precautions, including not traveling to the Miami area if you are pregnant.

In any case you will want to avoid mosquito bites and take steps to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Here is a link for more specific information.


They say if you listen to a conch shell you can hear the ocean.  Of course it is not the ocean you are hearing, unless you are at the ocean.

When you find a cockle shell, you might want to look into it.  Here is what I saw in a cockle shell.

I highlighted what I saw with paint so you could see it too.


We now have a tropical storm named Earl (shown below).

Earl won't affect us much.  The projected path takes Earl across the Yucatan, Belize and into Mexico.

We are supposed to have a one to two foot surf for the next several days.

Happy hunting,