Bo Kjaer-Olsen fell in love with Antares' lines, her sailing abilities and her antiqueness. (She was launched the same day Olsen was born: June 1, 1949.) He reports having a unique eye to choosing a vessel to do a specific task, in this case salvaging historic wrecks. The prime focus is on a Dutch East Indian man on the West Coast of South Africa.
In the 16th century and beyond, the Dutch East India Company was chartered for various nations and kings to run silks and spices. One of their vessels, de Gouden Buys, sank in 1693, 400 miles north of Cape Town on the West Coast. Apparently all but fifteen of the two hundred-man crew were so sick with scurvy that the skipper ran into coast because he couldn't bring the sails around short handed. When she floundered, de Gouden Buys carried seventeen chests of gold coins, sixty-four bars of gold, and numerous bars of silver.
Bo Kjaer-Olsen stumbled on the wreck by sheer accident when he was diving for abalone and lobster in 1972. Olsen recovered two bronze cannons and a few hundred gold coins at the time then, with some engraved silverware he found, proceeded to positively identify the sunken ship.
Olsen explained the surety of his identification of de Gouden Buys. In the early centuries, silversmiths were few and far between and used only by royalty and wealthy citizens. Each metal smith (gold or silver) had his own insignia, so that insignia plus initials of the owner of the silver pieces were on record. One need only search the smith logs to find for whom a piece had been made. (According to Olsen, it has been a universal law that each country has its silver records from the beginning of the silversmithing industry. The smiths stamped their insignia, recorded their clients' names, and gave the log to the government.) Generally modern treasure-hunters use this method or a bell with a ship's name for verification.
As only a ship's captain, first officers, and aristocratic passengers carried and ate with silverware, finding a piece of the silver is an important part of the sleuthing process. Records of the passage of wealthy clients were kept, so pieces of silver with their initials are of great help to investigators. Olsen said that the de Gouden Buys passenger who helped him identify her fateful voyage was Catherine Van der Viejyk who was on her way to visit her father, an English ambassador in the East Indies. She, obviously, did not complete her trip, her conveyor now a conglomerate that looks like a pile of rocks on the ocean's bottom.
Now, over three hundred years since her sinking, the de Gouden Buys is about to be visited by Antares and her captain Bo Kjaer-Olsen. On both their fiftieth birthdays, Mr.
Olsen reports that the two are just beginning an illustrious career in salvaging old wrecks and their treasures. He is open to divulging the information he has because he is the only one who knows the actual treasure site, he holds only the second salvage license ever issued in South Africa, and, importantly, he has South African citizenship. Further, Olsen's business is in Cape Town.
Mr. Olsen has stated, "Even though treasure hunting in the U.S. has become extremely popular in the last ten years, one should be very cautious as to what one divulges. Modern companies are springing up like mushrooms, and many seem to only be interested in diving in tropical waters and in fleecing investors of millions of dollars." On the other hand, Mr. Olsen's work will be in an inhospitable area with severe North and South Westerlies and water temperature of 52 degrees F. The only time he can work the site is the summer months when there are only South Easterlies. Mr. Olsen reports a solid work window of only six months: October through to March.
The lure of billions of dollars in sunken treasure.
The fascination of the high fated de Gouden Buys and of a young aristocratic woman named Catherine who only wanted to visit her father.
The challenge of the mystery lying on the ocean floor off the Skeleton Coast, north of Cape Town. These have called Bo Kjaer-Olsen and his Antares over the years and around the world. They are now about to answer that call.
Anyone interested in this venture is invited to contact Mr. Kjaer-Olsen either by Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by Phone at: (619)647-0777