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Family finds gold, moment of fame, lifetime of memories

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REUTERS/Schmitt family

(Read caption) Family finds gold: The Schmitt family finds gold chains and coins from a wreckage of a convoy of 11 ships that went down in a hurricane off the coast of Florida in 1715 en route from Havana to Spain in this handout image released on September 3, 2013.

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The Schmitt family found a $300,000 trove of sunken Spanish gold and while that may bring them money and fame, the lasting, more elusive treasure was spending the past 13 summers together as a family searching along the Treasure Coast of Florida.

This family is as rare as the coins and ropes of gold they have salvaged from the ocean floor because they turned their shared passion into a family business that will surely become the stuff of parental legend.

Looking at their Facebook page posts before the epic find on Sept. 1 gives some insight into the Schmitt family that is currently all over the news for the find. They’re “pirates,” close-knit, fun loving, and very real.

According to CBS, Hillary and Eric Schmitt’s father, Rick Schmitt, learned to dive early in life and went on his first treasure hunt when he was a teen. After retiring and selling his pest control business in 1999, Schmitt decided to start a new company, Booty Salvage.

“My dad wanted to share that experience with us kids,” Hillary, 20, who has been diving since she was 5 years old, told CBS. She adds that there’s something special about seeing gold for yourself in the water. “We love doing it. It’s a family effort. … Not only are we doing something that’s really fun, we get to do it as a family. It’s a pretty awesome experience.”

While the news of something like this would not normally affect my family, this is going to have a big impact because we lived aboard a sailboat with our sons for six years on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Unlike the Schmitts we weren’t treasure hunting for gold, but rather the unified family quest for adventure.

The dream began with my husband’s father, who wanted to sell everything, pack up the kids (who were in high school), and live aboard a sailboat for a year-long adventure. While my in-laws sold their cars and left their jobs, pulled their three kids out of school and prepared to set sail it all fell to pieces when their home’s sale fell through in the 11th hour when the buyer’s loan failed on a technicality.


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