State Treasure - Hawaii

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 50 of the July, 2010 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2010 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved

A Tale of Two Legends
ISLAND of HAWAII – I suppose it comes down to whose natives you want to believe, but the mystery is how the natives of 16th century Mexico and the Sandwich Islands, separated by roughly 2,268 miles of Pacific Ocean, both lay claim to possession of the pirate ship Content and her riches.
It’s a mystery that cries out to be solved, for in her hold lay the plunder of the Spanish galleon Santa Anna, called “the richest ship to ever leave these isles,” by the Bishop of the Philippines.
History records Englishman Thomas Cavendish (September 19, 1560 – May 1592) for having been the first to intentionally circumnavigate the globe from 1586-88.
There were fours others before him, but they apparently had no idea what they were doing.
Cavendish was a Member of Parliament twice, and sailed to Virginia with Sir Richard Grenville in 1585.
In 1591, he embarked on his second intentional voyage around the world, but died from unknown causes in the South Atlantic in 1592.
But others remember this pillar of English virtue as a pirate of infamy who committed rape and murder, and plundered the riches of the New World with impunity.
On February 24, 1587, the 27-year-old captain emerged from the straits into the Pacific and sailed up the coast of South America until arriving at the southern tip of California in October 1587. Over the course of his trip, Cavendish wreaked havoc on the Spanish fleet.
He sacked villages, put three Spanish towns to the torch, and burned 13 ships.
Up to this point, the young, naive captain had proven himself nothing more than a common land robber, since he remained unchallenged at sea.
But that all changed on November 14, 1587, when Cavendish, commanding the 120-ton Desire and the 60-ton Content, attacked the 700-ton Spanish galleon Santa Anna at sea.
The Desire and Content simultaneously fired on the Santa Ana, repeatedly peppering her with small shot, wounding and killing many.
The battle raged for five to six hours before the Spanish captain raised the white flag of surrender; the Santa Anna had been fatally struck by a great shot below the water line and was slowly sinking.
Cavendish’s men take the Santa Anna into port at Cape St. Lucas (Cabo San Lucas.) The galleon was looted of her riches, the sum of which is disputed. She carried highly valued satins, silks, damasks, wines, and musk.
Her treasure is said to have contained 122,000 pieces of either gold or silver pesos, and another 1.2 million in gold. Cavendish landed the galleon’s crew and passengers numbering 190 there as well.
Not all the treasure from the Santa Anna could be stowed on the English vessels, as they were too small. The remainder of the hoard was still in her hold when Cavendish ordered the galleon burned in port on November 17th. After firing a parting salute to the deserted Spaniards, the Desire and the Content sailed for England.
Coming out of the bay, the Content, commanded by Steven Hare, lagged astern, fell behind and was never seen again.
There are, however, two accounts based on native legend that claim the ship wrecked, at two separate locations.
One Indian account claims the Content wrecked in a “sheltered bay north of Cabo San Lucas.” The second account comes from Island natives who state a pirate ship named Content sank on the reefs of Palemano Point off the island of Hawaii.
The Content and her prized treasure have never been found and her fate remains a mystery.

Opium Runner Sinks
With $100,000 in Gold Eagles
ISLAND of KAUAI – In support of the Wilkes Expedition of the South China Sea, the U.S. government purchased two pilot schooners, and ordered a third one built to complete the small fleet.
The two vessels purchased were the Seagull and the Independence. The Independence was the nicer of the two, at 86 feet long and 22 feet wide at the beam.
Just before the expedition got underway in 1838, the Independence was rechristened the Flying Fish.
After four strenuous years at sea, in 1842, while docked at Singapore, the Flying Fish was declared unseaworthy by naval inspectors and condemned.
But before her scheduled dismantling, a group of private investors purchased the schooner and renamed her the Spec.
Immediately pushed into service, the Spec quickly got a reputation for smuggling pure opium throughout Asia and on occasion to Hawaii.
During the spring of 1846, a buyer in San Francisco placed an order for $100,000 in opium. The deal required the opium to be delivered to Honolulu instead, since U.S. authorities were on the lookout for the Spec in San Francisco. Payment for the illicit cargo was to be in gold coins at Honolulu.
The opium was loaded aboard the Spec in Singapore and she set sail for the Sandwich Islands.
As planned, the Spec arrived in Honolulu and 24 hours later the deal was completed.
The opium was secretly transferred to another ship bound for San Francisco; at the same time a shallow-draft boat pulled alongside the Spec and delivered a chest of gold coins to two sailors who then secured the chest in the captain’s cabin.
The chest contained payment as agreed, $100,000 in $10 gold eagles.
That night, fresh water and provisions were loaded aboard the Spec for her return voyage.
The following morning, against a pink sky, an ancient warning to all mariners of an impending storm, the Spec sailed.
On reaching the island of Kauai, the storm broke violently. Desperate for shelter, the captain sailed into the Kaulakahi Channel between the islands of Kauai and Niihau.
Unfortunately the channel served as a funnel for the full force of the gale; the long ago condemned Spec rapidly broke up in the strong currents and gale force winds.
The ship, most of her crew, and $100,000 in gold sank in 700 fathoms. Only two crewmen survived, somehow managing to reach shore. They returned to Honolulu and gained passage on another schooner and departed for the Malay Peninsula.

Lost Treasure of
Robinson’s Mutineers
ISLAND of HONOLULU – With revolution looming in 1821, the Spanish viceroy, at Callao Peru, arranged to have Spanish treasures loaded onto ships destined for other Spanish territories for safe keeping.
Bound for Guam, the ship Peruvian changed course on orders of an officer named Robinson.
Meanwhile a second officer named Brown and three crewmen somehow managed to maneuver the rest of the crew below deck, where they were locked in. It was mutiny and Robinson set a new course for the Sandwich Islands.
After arriving at the Sandwich Islands, six chests of gold specie were loaded onto a longboat with the mutineers, who then torched the Peruvian with her crew imprisoned below.
The ship’s quartermaster, known as “Monks,” later swore he accompanied the mutineers, but was never told of their plans in advance.
Monks said on dry land he was ordered to guard the get-a-way boat while Robinson, Brown and the three crewmen made two trips inland to bury the treasure chests.
On their second trip inland, Monks claimed he heard gunshots shortly after the group departed to bury the last three chests. Robinson and Brown returned alone.
A month later, Robinson and Brown were seen departing on a ship bound for Australia without Monks. A few days later Monks was found beaten, stabbed and alive, refusing to name his attackers.
He spent the rest of his life living in fear that his attackers would return to finish the job, but Robinson and Brown never returned to Hawaii.
Monks died in 1928 and spent the final years of his life living with an elderly Hawaiian couple who cared for him.
It is said that, in exchange for their care, Monks told the couple all he knew about the six chests of buried gold. But it is not recorded which island the mutineers landed on, or who the elderly couple was that cared for him.
Noted Hawaiian treasure hunter Stanley Santiago believes Robinson dropped anchor off Ka’ena Point on Honolulu Island.
The mutineers' hoard remains lost to this day.

Johnstone, Christian Isobel, "Lives & Voyages of Drake, Cavendish, and Dampier," 1837, London England, Oliver & Boyd and Simpkin, Marshall & Co., p. 145-49
Johnstone, Christian Isobel, "Sir Francis Drake-Thomas Cavendish-William Dampier," 1910, New York, New York, The Werner Company, p. 163-166
Niemann, Greg, "Baja Legends," San Diego, CA, Sunbelt Publications, p. 17-20
Netzel, Pete, "Palemano Point Pirate Treasure," Friendly Metal Detecting Forum,
Tsai, Michael, ‘Pirates’ movie increases interest in treasure hunting, July 20, 2003, "The Honolulu Advertiser," http://the.honoluluadverti