On the way back to Spain from Mexico, the Nuestra Señora del Juncal or simply the Juncal, was struck by a disaster at sea as it sink back in October 1631. The ship is said to carry a marvellous treasure trove for the Spanish monarchy. If it were to be valued at today's prices, it would cost billions. Soon, the hunt for the 17th-century shipwreck will be the stuff of treasure hunter's dreams.
Sailors had a knack for omens, and these omens on the Juncal's journey was not good. Before the ill-fated journey that resulted in fatalities, the commander dies prior to the ship's departure from the port. It was also not fit for sailing with a leaking hull. Eventually, the treasure galleon sank with all the wealth to the bottom of the sea.
The ill fate of the Juncal at sea
After leaving the port of Mexico, the Nuestra Señora del Juncal was met with the fury of the sea, with winds and gales, including waves that could destroy the galleon. The crew decided to lighten the ship and dumped cannons and cannonballs to keep the prow above the waterline. Losing cannons means getting at the mercy of English and French pirates, corsairs who would loot the ship. Even the mainsail had to be cut down to keep them from sinking. All was for naught and the Juncal went down in a storm with treasure and sailors on board.
From 300 souls on board that included passengers and sailors, only 39 lived to tell the tale of the Juncal's sinking. All who live were huddled in a small rowboat. But some wrote memoirs that gave a clue where the wreck might be, including its fantastic cargo of treasure. Locating the 17th-century shipwreck and its treasure depends on these accounts.
Survivor Accounts Lead Way to Discovery
The survivors of Nuestra Señora del Juncal gave clues to the whereabouts of the ship where it sank. Marine archaeologists are now on a search to find the Juncal shipwreck and the artefacts in it. On May 2020, an expedition will attempt to locate the ship finally in 10-day search.
Joining the search are Mexican and Spanish scientists who will jointly explore the hunt after an MOA signed in 2014. Studying shipwrecks of the colonial period in the Gulf of Mexico, as cooperation.
Nuestra Señora del Juncal treasure cooperation and joint venture
Dr. Iván Negueruela and Roberto Junco, among others who will work on the project, are going to hunt and search for the nuncal based on the records of the survivors about 500 years back. These records will guide the Spanish and Mexican explorers where the treasure galleon might be resting now.
One focus is the king's ransom of precious metals and other valuables that might be the biggest treasure trove amounting 1 billion. Previously problems with ownership of wrecks was a problem for many. Another Spanish treasure galleon, Nuestra Senora de las Mecedes was the center of the dispute between the Black Swan Project and Spanish Government, arguing who owned the wreck.
Successfully locating the Nuestra Señora del Juncal will not be easy, especially that 17th-century shipwreck is at the mercy of many conditions underwater. Should the treasure exist, getting it will not be easy after five-hundreds years of shift ocean current. However, when found, its artefacts will bring light how it sank and who were on-board.