Tracy Bowden began salvaging historic shipwrecks off the coast of the Dominican Republic through an agreement with that countrys government in September 1976. When he excavated Nuestra Señora Guadalupe and El Conde de Tolosa, the article Graveyard of the Quicksilver Galleons appeared in the December 1979 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. The artifacts were exhibited in Explorers Hall, at the headquarters of the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., and went on tour with the Smithsonian Institution.
Since the inauguration in June 1996 of nationalgeographic.com, whose very first feature was the original version of this interactive story on Silver Bank, Bowden has completed six additional expeditions to the Concepción site. Surprisingly, El Niño aided his 1997 recovery operation by repulsing the easterly trade winds and keeping hurricanes at bay. This allowed the crew to work in the normally inaccessible bow area. By 1996 Bowden had excavated approximately 25 percent of the planned Concepción site.