Mysterious Gold Washes Ashore in Venezuelan Fishing Town

The gold's origin remains unknown

Gold coins
Gold coins began washing ashore in a small coastal town.
Swiss Banker/Creative Commons

Not everything that goes into the ocean stays there. A number of objects, including (possibly) a boat, traveled from Japan to the western United States after a tsunami hit in 2011. Items both valuable and worthless that originated in Maine have shown up in Ireland. And the latest example of intriguing debris washing ashore somewhere comes to us from the fishing town of Guaca, Venezuala.

What have the inhabitants there been discovering? Gold, as it turns out. An abundance of gold has washed ashore there, providing a financial boost to a town in the midst of a difficult economic time. Writing at The New York Times, Anatoly Kurmanaev and Isayen Herrera have more details.

Guaca is located on the Caribbean Sea, which has historically made fishing and fish processing the center of its economy. The industry has fallen on hard times as of late due to gasoline shortages, which served as a blow to the means by which many of the town’s residents made a living.

Fishing villages struggling economically can be found around the world; fishing villages where gold begins washing ashore? Those are a bit more rare.

The article describes one 25-year-old fisherman catching sight of something gold in the sand, which turned out to be a medallion. He let his father-in-law know, and soon a number of the town’s residents were engaged in the search, which began in September.

Kurmanaev and Herrera write that “their search has turned up hundreds of pieces of gold and silver jewelry, ornaments, and golden nuggets that washed up on their shore, offering the villagers a baffling and wondrous — if short-lived — reprieve from Venezuela’s seemingly endless economic collapse.”

The gold’s origin remains a mystery, and Kurmanaev and Herrera write that it’s one that may never be solved. For some of those who discovered it, though, the gold’s origins are less important than its ability to keep them and their families fed during a difficult time.

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