Bonnie’s Quest

Next Saturday, August 15th, will mark the tenth anniversary of the recovery of one of the most spectacular artifacts ever found on any of the 1715 Fleet wreck sites, the “Pelican in Piety”. It was on Sunday August 15, 2010 that diver Bonnie Schubert was granted the honor of retrieving this important relic from Neptune’s grasp. The item represents the legend of the mother pelican wounding her breast to feed her young on the droplets of her own blood and used as a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice.

BonnieSchubertBonnie’s joy in finding the piece, however, was tempered by the fact that the artifact was incomplete. It was missing the right wing. From that day on she was determined to find the missing wing.

But, Bonnie’s quest was not to be. In May she fractured her wrist. By July 1 she had recovered to the point where she was expected to be released to return to work on the 8th. But, alas, she was too late.  On Sunday June 28, 2020, a few days before she was to resume her search, the missing gold wing was found.  I called Bonnie and asked her to share with us her thoughts upon learning that the gold wing had been found. Here is what she said:

“On my first day back to work I planned to head out to Douglass Beach and try my luck at finding the gold wing. I just knew I was going to find it. Then came the email from John Brandon, Operations Manager for 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels, LLC, the largest permitted historic shipwreck salvage operation in Florida waters. The gold wing had been found. The photo of the wing was as beautiful and unbelievable as the original find. My goal, my mission, was accomplished. But, not by me. I felt the excitement and joy of knowing that the Pelican was now complete. However, I also felt a sense of loss. It was the day for “Perfect Day” (the name of the recovery vessel that found the gold wing). Their time in the right place. It was their work that brought ashore that which needed to be found. It was a great accomplishment and I am thankful. They completed what I did not. While I write this I realize again the power of treasure. The Pelican, symbol of piety and devotion, reminds me that our efforts here are not about us as individuals. We who hunt for treasure work to return that which has been lost. Each part, each piece, completes the larger whole. So, what now?? I intend to follow the advice John Brandon gave me ten years ago when I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of handling the Pelican find: “Go out and find more treasure”. And that, is exactly what I am going to do.”

pelican of 1715 fleet
”Pelican of Piety” as found in 2010.

Thank you Bonnie for sharing your thoughts with us. And, good luck finding more treasure.


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