- Season 1
- Episode 44
How This Treasure Hunter Finds Underwater Riches
Released on 06/17/2022
[Narrator] This guy finds treasure,
not just as a hobby, for a living.
He travels the world to unearth the things
the rest of us have lost, forgotten, or left behind.
My name's Leigh Webber,
most people know me as the Bondi treasure hunter,
and I'm a professional treasure hunter.
[Narrator] Leigh uses huge magnets,
underwater metal detectors, and even giant cranes,
to haul out jewelry, bikes, cell phones, swords,
old guns, safes of money,
and even some things that are a little unexpected.
I've also pulled out a BMW motorbike
which was worth $15,000.
It was so cool.
It was like a motorbike from Pirates of the Caribbean
with all the crusty barnacles on there.
Everywhere I walk, everywhere I go, I think,
oh where's a good spot to find treasure here?
There may be something there.
Oh, that would be a good spot to go.
It's always, like, opens up the world a bit to
a treasure Hunter's point of view.
And I always wanna go treasure hunting!
What is that?
That is super creepy!
What on earth is that mate?
Oh, look there's jewelry!
I get excited about the stupidest things
when I'm treasure hunting.
Look at that! [laughs]
Geez, oh my gosh, we got a bike!
I found some really cool historical objects
whether it's like a cannon ball,
or old knives when you're magnet fishing.
This is gold jewelry that I usually find
underwater metal detecting.
I always get super excited when I dust the sand away
and a big gold ring's showing there.
Sometimes I find these gold chains
and other bits of necklaces.
Super cool, huh?
This is Raeren stoneware out of Germany.
And it's got a date on here of 1600,
and I love the design of these emblems on there.
One of my favorite finds.
This knife I think is from World War II.
I found it in the river in Switzerland.
Dove down and got it.
I found so many coins when I've gone metal detecting,
anything from Roman coins to modern euros,
Scandinavian coins, New Zealand, Thai coins, Montenegro.
Also from countries that don't even exist anymore.
I found loads of modern stuff.
Two apple watches!
Be like iPhones and also computers, TVs.
Any treasure that's been lost, doesn't matter, big or small.
I just enjoy the hunt.
[Narrator] Some of Lee's most prized finds
aren't made of gold.
He's reunited people with lost wedding rings,
and family heirlooms,
helped the police solve crimes,
and provided items to archeologists and historians.
[Interviewer] Would you describe yourself
as a history geek?
Would I describe myself as a history geek?
I paid no attention in school at all.
I was surfing every day.
Now I know so much about it.
If I could go back in time and say to my younger self
you're gonna know so much about history.
You should listen to this lesson.
He would laugh at me.
I got started in treasure hunting
at Bondi beach funnily enough.
It was a flat day.
I grew up as a surfer
and I still love to be in the water whenever I can.
So I went snorkeling one day and I saw some coins
just lying on the bottom.
And I thought, what's that doing there?
So I dug a bit more and there was just coins everywhere.
And I thought I gotta get a metal detector,
would make me so rich.
So I stuck with it
and I think I'm just totally addicted now.
[Narrator] And it doesn't stop there.
Leigh spends his free time
pouring over old maps and history books,
trying to unlock the treasure hunting world's
I hear myths and legends of treasure all the time.
And every time I want to go and search for 'em.
You've got these huge stories,
like the gold trains that were buried in world war II.
You've got the Amber Room, which has gone missing,
and hundreds and hundreds of shipwrecks,
that are still out there missing.
There's one, I think it's called the Madagascar,
and it was filled up, during Australia in the 1800s,
we had a mega gold rush and it was filled with all the gold
and it was sailing back to England, loaded with gold,
and it was never seen again.
Still out there, can you imagine?
[Narrator] One of Leigh's favorite
treasure hunting methods is called magnet fishing.
Magnet fishing is where you get a giant magnet,
you attach it to a rope, throw it in some water,
whether it's a canal, a lake, or off a jetty,
and you pull it in to see what metal bits have stuck to it,
at the end of the day.
I have a magnet called the Beast Magnet.
It is incredible.
It's way stronger than I am.
People say, how strong is it?
It's like too strong almost.
So if I get stuck on something
I just like recruit people.
Come and help me.
Or I can even, tie it to the back of a car
and tow it out and stuff like that.
Worst case scenario, we get a crane.
I did that one time, it was a giant safe, it was so big.
I used a car, tied a rope around the safe,
towed out with a car, the rope kept breaking,
so I end up getting this crane.
And within two minutes, he went bam pulled the safe out,
dumped it, and he goes, There you go.
That cost me like 200 euros,
but it was the best 200 euros I ever spent,
because I got the safe and then we busted it open,
and sure enough, there's still stuff inside it.
So it's awesome!
Magnet fishing in Amsterdam, you're gonna find a bike,
it's guaranteed, there's so many bikes in there.
So I find hundreds of bicycles.
Dunno what it is with bikes,
but I always find them with fishing lures on them. [laughs]
The police in Amsterdam are really nice,
they'll come up and say, Have you caught anything today?
and things like that.
'Cause we call them so much when we find guns.
Did you hear that zap onto the magnet?
It's big, whatever it is.
What have we got here?
Yes, we've got a safe! [laughs]
It's really fun when you find a safe,
because you open it up and you're like,
what's gonna be inside of it?
Sometimes they're empty, sometimes they're full.
It's exciting every time.
You get a safe, you're like, Yes! I got a safe!
and then bam, nothing.
Or yes, look at this one's filled,
and everyone comes around, have a look what's inside.
Look at that safe, that's awesome!
Look at the size of that safe!
Did you hear that?
[Narrator] When you're working with giant magnets
things don't always go as planned.
So one time when I was getting packed up,
I had a magnet in my hand and another one on the floor,
and because they're magnetic, it jumped up
and caught my finger between the two magnets
and crushed them and broke my finger.
They're so strong.
I can't pull the magnets apart,
so I had to rip the finger out between the two magnets.
And it was like, oh my gosh, I went white.
[Narrator] Leigh also keeps a lightweight
underwater breathing apparatus that fits into his backpack.
My underwater detecting process and breathing machines,
I have a Nomad and an Nemo and they float on the surface
and pump air down a tube so I can breathe underwater.
They're super light, so I can travel with them
and take into awkward places that are otherwise
difficult like with scuba gear.
And then I go with my underwater metal detector.
When it beeps, I usually can tell if it's gold or silver
and I just dig it up.
Hopefully it's like a gold ring or a silver ring
or some jewelry or something cool.
Sometimes you even find sunglasses.
You just, don't what you're gonna get.
And I always find Ray-Ban.
I've got hundreds of them.
This one, there we go.
How do they look? [laughs]
It takes the breath away for you,
when you're diving underwater and you dust out,
especially if it's muddy down there
and then you see this diamond
and it just like holds the light,
almost like it's a torch looking back at you.
And you're like
oh my gosh, is it real?
And you dig it up and you look at it, you're just like, ah!
Then I start shouting. [laughs]
Talking underwater, babel, babel, something like that.
Nikki is my girlfriend,
she loves diving underwater with the metal detectors.
And she's found a lot of gold doing that.
So she's like keen to do that.
Yeah, she is a keeper. [laughs]
That's for sure.
Some people say she's the best treasure I've ever found.
Pretty corny I know, probably true though.
[Narrator] Leigh and Nikki custom built
a treasure hunting van.
A camper van packed with dive gear and huge magnets,
ready to travel through Europe at a moment's notice.
The lifestyle of the treasure hunter, living in our van,
and just searching for treasures all over the world
is so much fun.
We go wherever we want, really.
We meet up with people who might be searching for things.
It's kind of loose.
It's kind of like a free lifestyle.
I usually like to follow the summers.
So if it's nice and warm
and people are swimming down at beaches,
that's when they're dropping a lot of things.
So it's good to go searching there.
If you wanna find like Roman coins, you might go to England,
or if you wanna find jewelry and have a day in paradise,
you could go down to Ibiza.
So, we just drive our van and live in it.
It's really the best lifestyle ever.
We're kind of like living the dream as they say.
But when I go scuba diving in beautiful places like Thailand
or Ibiza with my metal detector, I'm looking for lost,
usually modern jewelry, hopefully gold.
Australia, you can go out in Australia metal detecting
and find chunky gold nuggets out there.
I mean who wouldn't want to find
a big chunky football size gold nugget and retire on it.
[Narrator] But Leigh's idea of treasure
might not be the same as it is for the rest of us.
This is gotta be one of my favorite all time finds.
It is a pair of panties, and try not to touch it,
but you can see down here,
there's a ring tied in a knot attached to it.
So some girl lost her panties
and the ring at the same time.
Best find ever! [laughs]
[Narrator] Leigh's girlfriend Nikki was less excited.
Nikki didn't want me to keep 'em. [laughs]
[Narrator] And Leigh's passion isn't fading anytime soon.
Every new discovery inspires him to keep the search going.
When I'm treasure hunting I'm definitely a kid at heart,
you know, dreaming of pirate shipwrecks on deserted islands
and how rich I'm gonna be.
It's kind of childish in a way
but in a way it's also reality.
It's the best hobby ever because anyone can find treasure
no matter where you are in the world,
it could be in your backyard.
It could be in the creek down the road.
It could be in the middle of Amsterdam.
[Interviewer] Will you ever stop?
Never. I'll never stop treasure hunting.
I love it, I'm addicted.
I could never see myself stopping.
Everywhere I go, I think about treasure hunting
and there's always new spots.
I don't think I'm ever gonna get sick of doing this.
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