THE SUB-SEA SEARCH FOR A SIXPENCE
A trio of adventurers has announced a deep sea treasure hunt to find a single six pence that ‘changed worldwide communications forever and saw the first step toward the creation of a global community’.
The deep-sea treasure hunt aims to locate a special sixpence, placed at the core of the world’s first ever subsea cable laid over 150 years ago by entrepreneur Cyrus West Field, which paved the way for the invention of the internet.
Field connected the Old World to the New World, laying a cable from Nova Scotia, Canada to Ireland. For good luck, Cyrus welded a sixpence into a joint in the cable somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. Setting off from the Irish coast in June, the adventurers will mirror the original route taken over 150 years ago.
A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help fund the voyage, with the ambition of raising a minimum target of £40,000, to allow the team to fund the necessities of the trip including a captain and crew, an extended ship lease and the equipment required to retrieve a coin from the bottom of the ocean. Setting off from the Irish coast, Sebastian, Russell, Richard and their team will head toward Newfoundland in Canada, mirroring the original route taken by the legendary Cyrus West Field back in 1858.
Leader of the treasure hunt, Sebastian Stephens, said ‘Cyrus West Field connected the Old World to the New World for the first time ever in history over 150 years ago… For good luck, Cyrus welded a sixpence into a joint in the cable somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. It’s a piece of history that’s almost been forgotten, but we’re determined to retell Cyrus’ story. We’re setting out to find the coin and remind the world where global communications began. You don’t often get the chance to touch history, especially the stories submerged under the sea, but Field’s work took blood, sweat and tears, and we want to shine a light on how pivotal this moment in time was.’
In 1858, the fastest ships would take two weeks to send a message. The cable laid by Cyrus West Field, meant a full message could be relayed in hours. Its impact was immediate and revolutionary. The first communication on the cable took place between Queen Victoria and 15th US President, James Buchanan.