JAKE VISCUM << MEL & ME
in 1982 I felt the big city of Chicago closing in on me,
so I quit my job as a photographer's assistant at
Playboy Magazine and packed up the wife and pets, and
moved to Key West.
was already a big fan of Mel Fisher, and treasure
hunting in general. My favorite fantasy was digging us a
pirates chest or stumbling on a shipwreck full of gold
dubloons. Once in Key West it didn't take long to meet
Mel's sons Terry, Kim and Kane. before too long I was
one of the divers on the Dauntless.
20, 1985 was definitely the best day of my life! The
next two years salvaging the Atocha was way beyond my
wildest dreams. Everyone would look forward to days when
Mel would visit the site. It always meant a little more
excitement and fun.
really didn't get to know Mel until after the excitement
died down a little. Mel Fisher was definitely the most
interesting man I ever met. He was a great boss too. Mel
always like to unwind with a cocktail or two after work
and that was my favorite place to talk to him. Even if
it was business, I would always wait until after office
hours and catch him at Two Friends or Schooner Wharf
Bar. All you had to say was what's up Mel? And you would
hear a fascinating story every time. Mel was a walking
encyclopedia of treasure. He knew every legend, tall
tale and historical fact. He knew the probability of the
story being true, the backup information as to the value
and a lot of other things no ones else knew. He always
had a bunch of projects on the table and loved to throw
out tasty little tidbit, but never the location, only
Mel knew where the true X was. He was always extra happy
when one of his kids made a discovery. I remember when a
happy hour at the Schooner Wharf Bar when his grandson
Dirk found his first emerald. "Man he said, Dirk is
only five years old,
can you imagine what the future holds for that
boy?" I really grew to love Mel, the way you love a
favorite uncle. I really miss him, he was such an
interesting, intelligent, optimistic and fun loving guy.
Heck he even Knighted me "Sir Shake of Jake."
He is still the King of the Conch Republic.
thanks for the time of my life. You know your whole
family can count on my support and loyalty or the rest
of my life. I just hop you told your boys where Atlantis
love your faithful crewman, Shakey Jake Viscum
the photo: One day Kim Fisher threw together a
crew for a short trip before Christmas. Treasure hunting
is really a team effort, but it sure is fun to say,
lookie here, lookie here. This is probably my best find,
a 15 or 20 carrot emerald in a gold brooch. My good
buddy Vince Trotta (standing behind Mel and me) found
the gold and emerald Crucifix and Rosary.
Did you know Mel? Would you like your story included?