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Shipwrecks of Nova Scotia

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Cape Breton Treasure Ship

In the early 18th Century,  Eastern Canada was under French control. When the British took control of the territory in 1760, many French settlers were forced to return to their homeland. The Auguste was a  French merchant ship used to transport passengers and cargo between France and Canada. On a trip to France in November of 1761, the Auguste was wrecked in Aspy Bay, near the northern tip of Cape Breton. Of the 121 people on board, only seven survived the incident. Several wealthy people were among Auguste's passengers, and the ship carried a large quantity of gold and silver coins and other valuables.

For the next 200 years, the Auguste wreck eluded treasure hunters, but in 1977, it was found in shallow water and was partially salvaged under government supervision. In 2000 a new group of salvors and investors, known as Auguste Expedition LLC, obtained a government permit to conduct further salvage of the wreck. Over the past few summers, they have been searching and excavating the wreck site and have recovered thousands of coins and historic artifacts. Eventually they plans to sell many of these objects to museums. The story of the hunt for the Auguste and its treasures was presented in a television special on the National Geographic Channel in 2004. For more information on the Auguste, see our Auguste data page.

The Auguste Expedition salvors haven't found vast quantities of treasure yet, but they plan to continue their operations over the next few years and hope to find a lot more. The pictures below provide a glimpse into the world of modern-day treasure hunters. They were provided by Capt. Joe Amaral of Auguste Expedition LLC.

aspybay2.JPG (15627 bytes) ns-chart5-auguste.gif (23509 bytes) atocha1-dm.JPG (50501 bytes)
Aspy Bay - site of
the Auguste wreck
This wreck chart
shows the location
of the Auguste
An 18th Century wreck
similar to the Auguste
STORM02034.jpg (20051 bytes) SISTERANNLEAVINGHARBOR032.jpg (17350 bytes) SISTERANNSTARBOARDSTERN033.jpg (23289 bytes)
A storm like this wrecked the ship
in 1761
The salvage vessel Sister Ann leaving Dingwall Harbour Sister Ann 
on the wreck site
THECREW035.jpg (28455 bytes) JEFFINKIRBYMORGAN025.jpg (21458 bytes) JEFFONTHELADDER026.jpg (52205 bytes)
The salvage crew
worked hard
all summer
Diver Jeff
gets suited up
Coming out of
the water
DIVERTERANDCHRIS2003.jpg (25810 bytes) CANNON2001.jpg (34801 bytes) ORNATESWORDGUARD2030.jpg (65411 bytes)
A prop-wash diverter
clears away the sand
One of several
cannons on the site
Artifacts like this
ornate sword guard
are interesting finds
KEY028.jpg (42801 bytes) DSC00494022.jpg (20624 bytes) DSC00487020.jpg (42113 bytes)
A fancy brass key A Spanish-American
8-real silver coin
or piece-of-8
A Spanish silver
pillar coin
AUG 01227 (O)006.jpg (44733 bytes) AUG 01227 (R)007.jpg (46531 bytes) 16LOUIS001.jpg (22422 bytes)
A French Louis
gold coin
French Louis
reverse
Assortment of
Auguste artifacts
COUNTER COIN013.jpg (35989 bytes) chris-bigrecovery002.JPG (16011 bytes) SILVERCELEBRATION031.jpg (39302 bytes)
A badly-worn
gold coin
Diver Chris with a
stack of coins
The crew celebrates
a big find

 


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