Burnham-On-Sea adventurer Michael Turner has returned from Panama where he dived to Sir Francis Drake’s resting place on the bottom of the sea.
Michael, 57, has spent much of his life writing about the British explorer Sir Francis Drake and following his footsteps.
Michael claims to be the world’s only Sir Francis Drake world explorer has just returned from his eleventh expedition to Panama.
Such is the Panamanian interest in Drake, Michael gave two illustrated talks – to Panama’s prestigious and exclusive society the Union Club and to the Panama History Society.
Michael told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “The main reason for such a quick return after my recent visit in February was that due to a lack of rain, the level of Lake Alajuela has been so low that it revealed the site of Venta de Chagres. This was a staging post along the fabled Camino Real. This ‘Royal Road’ linked the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Drake ransacked this settlement.”
Michael and his team of Panamanian residents found 16th-century artefacts such as a horseman’s spur, horse and mule shoes and nails, a barrel stave and a 15th-century clay pot intact.
Michael also completed seventeen video clips documenting Drake`s adventures in Panama.
Michael and his longtime friend, Rene Gomez, proprietor of ScubaPanama, became the first divers ever to reach the seabed at the theoretic site of Drake’s ‘Cophin of Lead.’
They descended 176 feet into the blue abyss on just one tank of air each, 2.4 nautical miles off Portobelo.
The ‘bounce dive’ lasted 15 minutes and Michael says no other people have been so physically close to the remains of Sir Francis Drake.
Michael added: “We were surprised and delighted to see a turtle at 150 feet, afterwards it was a relief to see the grey mud of the seabed coming into view. This was the first time that anybody has paid their respects so close to Drake’s grave.”
Michael’s website Indrakeswake.co.uk gives more details about his interest in Drake and the books he has written. His videos of what the seabed looks like that surround Drake’s final resting place will be there shortly.
Photo: Michael Turner and Rene Gomez after their inspirational dive