The 1715 Fleet Society is honored to announce a historic event that will take place on July 31, 2022. To get a complete understanding of what will happen, we must go back almost twelve years to August 15, 2010.
What started out for Bonnie Schubert (on the Gold Hawg) as just another day of meticulous searching for whatever treasure the ocean was deciding to give up turned into a “Today’s the day!” Bonnie found one of the most iconic artifacts ever recovered from the wreck sites of the 1715 Fleet. Known as the “Pelican in its Piety,” it is a gold reliquary that stands 5 ½ tall and weighs 177 grams. Thought at first to be an eagle, it took the great scholarship of 1715 Fleet historian, Dr. Eugene Lyon, to identify what it really was, a mother pelican wounding her breast to feed her young with the droplets of her own blood. It was symbolic of Christ’s sacrifice.
Regrettably, the artifact was incomplete, as it was missing its right wing. The missing wing was sought after by any number of divers for years. Then, on June 28, 2020, Henry Jones, Tracy Newman, and the crew of the Perfect Day recovered the missing wing. So now, the story is complete – well, almost. The wing and the Pelican have yet to be reunited.
Fast forward to today’s announcement.
Longtime sunken treasure enthusiast and 1715 Fleet Society member Richard (Rick) Beleson acquired the Pelican in 2011, from 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels, LLC, and earlier this year, he also negotiated the acquisition of the missing wing with 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels, LLC. While both the Pelican and the wing have now been in Rick’s possession for several months, he has forgone the immediate urge to reunite them. Instead, he came up with the idea of reuniting the Pelican and its lost wing via a Zoom presentation on July 31, 2022, the 307th anniversary of the hurricane that sunk the fleet. Who knows when the Pelican and its wing were separated – perhaps it was on the fateful day of the hurricane. We only know that when Bonnie Schubert made her spectacular find on August 15, 2010, the Pelican was without its right wing. Rick would now like to share with everyone the opportunity to witness via Zoom the Pelican and its missing wing being reunited*. The Zoom presentation will include a re-cap of Bonnie’s find, a re-cap of the find of the missing wing, and a little background on the significance of the Pelican in its Piety (if their schedules allow, we also hope to have participation by some of the treasure finders).
Inasmuch as The Society has now become a 501 c (3) nonprofit, we are requesting a donation of $35.00 (non-members) for the privilege of witnessing history. This small donation will help us to fund our educational programs and plan for a proposed conference in Florida later this year (likely October or November).
The Zoom presentation will be scheduled for 8 pm East Coast time on Sunday, July 31st. We are limiting participation to 100, and the sign-up cutoff will be noon East Coast time on Saturday, July 30th. Those who sign-up and make their tax-deductible donation will receive a link to the Zoom presentation by 3 pm East Coast time on Sunday, July 31st.
*Please note – actual connection of the wing to the Pelican requires the skills of a professional conservation expert and will not occur at this event.