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Treasure hunters search for Jose Gaspar’s lost riches

They’ve done this every Sunday for a year, looking for the booty of 19th century pirate Jose Gaspar. Gaspar did not exist, but never mind that. The 300,000 partiers who will swarm the streets Saturday in Tampa for the annual Gasparilla pirate parade won’t care.
Treasure hunter Erin Melcher drives his boat as Michael Gattuso navigates directions to a wetland believed to have lost treasure on the Peace River in Arcadia on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Gattuso leads a a small group called the The Treasure Hunters who spend their weekends hiking the wilderness near the Peace River in search of lost treasure believed to have been left behind by Jose Gaspar.
Treasure hunter Erin Melcher drives his boat as Michael Gattuso navigates directions to a wetland believed to have lost treasure on the Peace River in Arcadia on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Gattuso leads a a small group called the The Treasure Hunters who spend their weekends hiking the wilderness near the Peace River in search of lost treasure believed to have been left behind by Jose Gaspar.
Published Jan. 18, 2019
Treasure hunter Michael Gattuso digs a hole in front of treasure hunters Stacey Hunt and Erin Melcher in an area where metal detectors notify of gold on a wetland believed to have lost treasure on the Peace River in Arcadia on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Gattuso leads a a small group called the The Treasure Hunters who spend their weekends hiking the wilderness near the Peace River in search of lost treasure believed to have been left behind by Jose Gaspar.
Treasure hunter Todd Stager holds a machete on a wetland where him and a small group of treasure hunters believe lies lost treasure on the Peace River in Arcadia.
Treasure hunter and researcher Lauren Gattuso sits on the boat as it heads toward an area where her and a small group of treasure hunters believe lies lost treasure.
Treasure hunter Stacey Hunt holds an old nail found under the ground on a wetland believed to have lost treasure. "It's a bunch of heartbreak with little reward and a lot of imagination," said treasure hunter Erin Melcher.
Michael Gattuso lends a hand to his wife Lauren as they dock on a wetland on the Peace River in Arcadia.
Treasure hunter Michael Gattuso paddles a boat toward the dock where part of his crew Stacey Hunt, Erin Melcher and Lauren Gattuso wait for him near Nav-A-Gators Bar and Grill.

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