While trips to Haiti were enriching for the crew in many ways, financially speaking there was no way to continue on. Between fuel, docking fees, and employee payroll, my dad’s resources were tapped out. They had recovered a few beautiful objects, but nothing that would result in any lasting form of income. It was disheartening for everyone, especially when they were forced to sell the R/V Silver Seas. My dad felt like his business was ending, and that there were no more options. He hadn’t built swimming pools for years, and he didn’t want to go back down that road anyway.
In order to get back on his feet, he decided to utilize a skill that he had been learning over the past few years. The year was 1996 and the internet was starting to become a commonplace thing in every household. My dad had gotten a 386 MS-DOS computer a few years prior, which he used for typing business letters. Being a technology buff, he taught himself the ropes and eventually upgraded to a newer machine. With this computer, he learned the art of web design and decided to use this skill to make enough money to relaunch the company. His dream of treasure hunting was not fading, though it would be another couple of years before this dream would come to fruition once more.
Back then, the internet was becoming widely popular, but not many people had the resources or know-how to create their own websites. My dad decided to make an online “mall”, which would bring Maine businesses together on one website, each with their own separate homepage detailing relevant information such as photos, addresses and phone numbers, history, and special deals or menus. My mom became involved in this business too, and they quickly became a united partnership. My mom would go out and find the clients, and my dad would create their websites. Over the first few months, they acquired a number of notable Maine businesses as clients, including Aquaboggan Waterpark, Smiling Hill Farm, Fuji Japanese restaurant, and more.
While they were earning enough money to keep themselves afloat, they did not yet have enough to bring the treasure hunting business back to life just yet. In the meantime, to satisfy his need for the high seas, my dad worked with his former captain Doug Piehl. The pair used Doug’s lobstering boat to head up to New Brunswick, Canada to recover a German U-Boat. This story earned them a lot of local television press, and of particular interest, a prime-time spot on Maine’s News Channel 13. Unfortunately they didn’t have enough gear to recover the vessel at that time, but it did get my dad out on the open sea and that made him happy. Some other solution had to be found to keep this business going on, and my dad was determined enough to keep searching.