...As a kid in Ohio, I read every treasure hunting book on the local library shelf..Later, while diving at Catalina commercially, I would always keep a sharp eye out for unusual or out of place shapes while prying abalone..back then, we had just a compass and charts...no gps or satelite locating science to pinpoint locations..
...Once, while diving deep for white abalone on the backside of Catalina, I found a pile of round rocks that were of the type used for ballast in Spanish galleons...at my limit for the depth I was diving, I had to surface without searching the area...I took cross bearings for future reference and continued diving for abs. Some months later, I returned to the area and after an extensive effort, was unable to find the rock pile again. Over the years, I have made several searches, to no avail.
...My research indicates that at least three Spanish galleons went down off Catalina. In 1582, the "Santa Marta" sank. Another ship, the "Nuestra Senora De Ayuda" also is recorded as sinking there. The "San Sebastian" hit a rock outcropping on Janury 7, 1641 and sank. It hit the rocks while being chased by one George Compton, an English pirate.
...It is rumored to have sunk on the west side of Catalina and of the three ships, it is the most likely to be the one I may have located. Perhaps, one day, a dedicated treasure hunter will find that rockpile again and discover the San Sebastian gold rumored to be what George Compton was after.
...I did recover $80,000 in gold rings and necklaces once, but, it was in the mud of Naples Canal in Long Beach. Burglars had hit a residence and were spotted fleeing out a window by nearby construction workers. One dove into the canal to escape the foot pursuit, but, was chased down by a young guy who could swim. The crook dumped the loot in the middle of the canal just before capture.
...I was hired to recover the jewelry. I was very lucky, just barely spotting a small glimmer of gold in the mud and 12" vis. Using a scoop made of wire, I was able to recover all the jewelry except for a diamond necklace. It was in a wooden box and probably floated away on the current. Gold can be found in many strange places!