Departments — 15 July 2015
A Florida native takes on an island of vipers in search of lost Incan treasure

By Eric Barton
City & Shore Magazine

Growing up in the Keys, Mehgan Heaney-Grier made playgrounds out of the islands and the oceans. So maybe it’s no surprise she grew up to become a championship free diver, setting a world record in 1996 by reaching 165 feet on one breath.

Now 37, Heaney-Grier has a new line for her resume: treasure hunter. In fact, her new career has been documented in a Discovery Channel show called Treasure Quest: Snake Island.

The show follows Heaney-Grier and a team of explorers as they try to find the Treasure of the Trinity, a legendary lost cache of Incan gold that may be valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.

Heaney-Grier’s team believed the treasure to be hidden on Snake Island, a preserve about 100 miles off the coast of Brazil. It’s called Snake Island for a reason – the small spit of land is said to be home to thousands of deadly vipers.

“The best description I’ve been able to come up with is that it was epic,” Heaney-Grier says. “There was adventure, there were issues with the team dynamic and close quarters for a long time in dangerous situations.”

She says her days in the Keys helped prepare her for the adventure, especially considering her background with the “salty pirates” of Monroe County. “I love the water, I love science and I love getting out there and getting my hands dirty.”

And did her team find the treasure? “Well, you know, I can neither confirm nor deny. You’ll just have to watch.”

Treasure Quest: Snake Island premieres at 10 p.m. July 17 on the Discovery Channel. Click for a preview.

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