A third-generation fisherman working the Northern California coast made a discovery five years ago via a GoPro camera he attached to a trawling net: a rectangular bar that looked like a gold ingot. He took his story to the San Francisco Chronicle, and today they published it in a VERY LONG read that has the most unsatisfying of endings.

Giuseppe "Joe" Pennisi learned the hard way that "treasure is trouble" after catching sight of that object that looked an awful lot like a gold ingot on the bottom of the ocean more than 1,000 feet down, in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in September 2014. Pennisi, like his father and grandfather before him, is a trawler who fishes for small fish that tend to hover around the ocean floor, like rockfish, black cod, and sand dabs. And he had dreams of launching a treasure hunt for what might be dozens of gold ingots, dropped there in an undocumented shipwreck over a century ago.

But the task turned out to be more complicated and expensive than Pennisi imagined, after he'd sought the help of a couple of maritime law firms and sought a permit for an expedition from the federal government.

So, you can feel free to read about his frustrating adventure, and the various people who both agreed and disagreed that there was likely a major trove of gold down there. But at the end of a dozen "chapters" divided into three parts, with a whole lot of background tangents and color, [SPOILER ALERT] you neither learn a) whether there's an actual shipwreck where Joe was trawling that can be historically verified, or b) that Joe eventually won the day and found some treasure. Whatever it is, treasure or not, it's still out there, and Joe just decided to take his tale and his documentation to the SF Chronicle so that maybe somebody might fund a real expedition — and meanwhile he's still working two jobs to make ends meet.

And yes, getting your hands on sunken treasure once you've maybe found it is not as simple as they would make you believe in the movies. The end.

The Fisherman's Secret [Chronicle]