By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - In 1975, Bob Bouchlas, known locally as Capt. Bob, announced his ongoing search for a Spanish ship that sunk of the coast of the Bahamas in 1656.
Now, almost 40 years, his commitment to recovering the historical and religious artifacts on board the sunken ship has not wavered.
In 1980, he found evidence of the shipwreck itself, and has been working tirelessly towards finding the cargo that was on board the ship when it sank.
"I was the first person to enter in negotiations with Spain to salvage the cargo of the Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas," he said. "I have a successful track record with the state."
He is currently working with the state in the recovery process of the shipwreck.
His goal, however, isn't the estimated millions of dollars of treasure rumored to have gone down with the ship.
He is looking for one thing in particular, a solid-gold of the Madonna and child.
Mr. Bouchlas is also an ordained minister, and has worked for years to bring it back to Spain.
"My purpose is to find it so I can donate it for Christianity," he said. "My intent has always been historical."
He was able to take some of the artifacts he recovered from the shipwreck and show them to officials in Spain to indicate his seriousness of finding the artifact.
For his efforts, the King of Spain awarded him a commendation and he was made a knight in the Byzantine Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Malta.
Now, as locals know him, "Treasure Bob" continues his search.
"It can be a wonderful feeling to recover history," he said.