I Spoke to James, an Adventurous Scuba Driver and Treasure Hunter, Who While Cleaning The Rivers, He Finds Human Remains, Gold And Megalodon Teeth.
Thanks again, James, for taking the time to share your journey with us. Kindly tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in a semi little town called Cadillac, Michigan. I lived there for the majority of my life. One day I decided I needed a change in my life and the opportunity presented itself to move to Florida so I took the opportunity. After I moved to Florida I found myself with a child on his way and I quickly realized I couldn't continue working 60 hours a week and raise a family, so I started an online business and it took off with great success. After some time with that, I decided I wanted to do something more adventurous and get me out from behind a keyboard all day. A few friends told me about all the stuff that they have lost while out swimming, so I thought, this could be fun to go out, recover the items and see a whole new world that many people do not get to see.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
Not to sound cliche like many people, but my biggest motivation to get out of bed in the morning is my son. Honestly, there is no greater joy than waking up and seeing the big smile on my son's face. He loves seeing the videos produced and enjoys watching them with me just as much as we enjoy making them
What inspired you to start your business even though things were hard?
I would like to believe I have always been a motivated individual with a high drive for success in anything and everything that I do. It all originally started when I knew he was going to be born and I was working 60 hours a week. I came to terms that there would be no way for me to properly raise a family and work that kind of hours. I had to make a change. There was nothing that was going to stop me from being able to be right there for my son every day.
How are you or your business making a significant social impact?
With our videos, we have been able to shine a huge light on an issue that plaques the Florida water system, which is trash. When we go out and do treasure hunting we usually end up bringing back 20-60 pounds of trash out of our water system. One Facebook Video that we posted about the trash we pulled from the Santa Fe River went viral locally and showed people how big of a problem this actually is.
What is the most significant thing you have found?
We have found a wide range of different the craziest thing that we have found would be human remains. Watch the video. We were diving at an old historical location in Florida and while we were searching and cleaning the waterways, we stumbled upon a vase, I thought to myself "Wow, that is very cool looking" as I got closer I noticed there was a bag inside of it. Upon closer inspection, I saw a tag on it which said 'Cermetory', that is when I noticed what I was dealing with.
On top of that we have found a bunch of wedding knife, and a lot of gold items. However, I would say my utmost favorite item we have found would be our Megalodon tooth.
How do you choose locations for dives and treasure hunts? Are you ever out looking for specific items, or are you focused on finding whatever you come across?
When we are trying to decide the location, we usually try and focus on a location that is very popular and has a high amount of people that visit. The more popular the location, the better the finds can potentially be. Here in Florida when doing the rivers, the biggest factor we face is because the River during the summertime is almost completely black which makes it a huge challenge to perform dives in. Usually, during the winter months, we try to cover as much of the black water rivers as possible as the visibility is better 6ft-10ft.
Usually, our biggest focus while out is to ensure we pick up every bit of trash that we come across. Sadly trash in our waterways in Florida is a much bigger deal than many people actually realize.
What’s your production schedule like? Do you have a set filming and uploading schedule?
We try to always go out at least once a week. My dive partner Joe Deleonardo and I usually go out every single week on Wednesday to film content. Once we get some good footage (The dives for filming usually take all day to film) I will begin the editing of the videos early morning the next day. Then the entire schedule film to posting usually takes about a week. I try and have it done by Tuesday midday and most videos when loading at between 5 minutes to 15 minutes and usually take a total of 12 hours for it to upload to any platform. always release a new video every Wednesday at 8 am. So usually when a new video we out at that time for our next video.
Do you have a budget that you cannot exceed when producing a video?
Honestly, we do not have much of a budget per video. However, every video that we upload on our YouTube channel, our end term goal is to have the video produce more revenue than it costs to film and travel for the footage. As we are gaining in our popularity, we will be traveling further distances for videos.
What do you do with your free time in your daily life?
My greatest joy to do with my free time is to be with my son. I wake up and take him to school in the morning and after I drop him off, I sit at my computer working on the of things, then once he gets out, I try and make sure he has all of my time from the moment he gets out of school, to the moment that he goes to sleep. Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. We do a lot of different activities together.
Do you have someone working with you behind the camera? What about a manager or network?
Currently, behind the camera, it is me that does all of the social media work of our channel and I do all the editing. I do have my dive partner Joe Deleonardo who helps me out of my dives and helps discover content for the videos. We also just got my brother-in-law Joe Miller recently certified and he is going to start helping with the production of videos. We are working to have him on all the dives and do some third person filming to help with us providing a different aspect our videos.
We currently do not have a manager or a network that helps with us. We recently have a company offer to sponsor us but unfortunately I did not feel they would be a complete match for us because after they reached out to us, they kind of stop responding. We are always open to offers and if someone comes along and they fit our goals like a glove, then we are always willing to partner up with new people. Everyone deserves a chance to make a change.
What’s next for you and your channel? What are you building toward?
We want to continue onto the track that we are currently on. We have been blessed with having a great fan base and loyal fans. We want to continue to provide joy to our fan base that watches us and honestly, we hope to be able to return more of the lost value that we have found. There is an immeasurable joy that you get when you hand over a valuable item to someone who they thought it was gone forever.
We are building towards trying to reach that one million fan base. We the great success we have currently found, we greatly believe that it won't be too far away.
What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you tell us how that is relevant to you in your work and life?
"He dove in, swam to the bottom, and sat down. Up there, he had so many problems, half of which he couldn’t solve and the other half he couldn't understand. Down here, there was only one problem. He closed his eyes and pictured his life as a to-do list with a single item: oxygen." -James Merritt
It means many things to me. When you get into the water, you are literally entering a different world, which you can move in 3 dimensions. This means everything and when you are down there, I believe it is like a form of meditation, you have to focus on breathing. When you are below the service the biggest object on your "to-do list" is simply to breathe. You do not need to worry about any other worries in your life.
When was the last time you felt burned out?
Honestly, the last time I felt burned out was back when I was a general manager for a major fast-food chain. I did the job for over ten years, but the company I worked for in Florida didn't have the same passion for their employees that I believed in. This made the job harder to keep good employees. However, after I stopped working there, I found my joy with making online content and the joy that I bring to other people, especially when I can reunite someone with something they thought was lost forever, there is no greater joy than what that is able to do.
How can our readers follow you on social media?