(KT) BUDDE-JONES << MEL & ME
first open water dive was under the M/V Swordfish's
mailboxes on the Margarita site in April of 19981. After
finding her first silver piece of eight on that dive she
took the summer off from her teaching position in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin to join Mel Fisher's "Golden Crew."
When summer was over KT stayed on to be Mel's only
female diver at the time. Over the years, KT accumulated
over 7000 hours of bottom time working on the Santa
Margarita, Atocha, 1715 Fleet, as well as dozens of
other Caribbean shipwreck sites. KT earned her USCG
Captain's license and was promoted to first mate, ships'
engineer and captain on several of the salvage vessels.
KT was on the Swordfish the day the "main
Pile" was found and swan the first silver bar to
the surface on shear adrenaline alone. After the first
rush of excitement, she along with her husband Syd Jones
and Tom Ford, collected and recorded the major portion
of the archaeological data retrieved from the Atocha
site. KT actively worked on the wreck sites for over 10
years when she moved inshore to teach maritime
archaeological methods at the college as well as develop
and execute education programs for the MFMHS. KT
assisted in the documentation and research of many of
the artifacts as well as writing a book on the coins
found on the wrecks she worked, Coins of the Lost
Galleons. KT and her husband Syd Jones left Salvors
and the MFMHS in 1998 to work for the Flying Tigers
Warbird Restoration Museum in Kissimmee, Florida where
they both restore and fly WWII bomber and fighters.
Did you know Mel? Would you like your story included?
Fisher Maritime Heritage Society and Museum
200 Greene Street, Key West, Florida 33040
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