California college student organizing a treasure hunt still missing, search continues at sea

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21-year-old Hunter Lewis has his plans lined up for a canoe trip on Trinidad Bay in Humboldt County on Dec. 30. For the holidays, he was in their residence in Blue Lake, California and made a treasure hunt plan with friends and family, SFGATE reported.

The California State University Long Beach student wants to rappel on a cliff, climb railroad trestle, and do decoding with an Ottendorf cipher, Corey Lewis, his father said. He even made an Instagram page “The Lost Lewis Treasure” with over 100 followers wanting to see his treasure journey.

“He started [the hunt] by sending us a letter saying that we have this family inheritance that we don’t know about, that we have a lost family treasure along this coastline,” his father said. “He was leading us on this wonderful expedition to find it.”

Lewis wanted to hide the last treasure in a secret place thus he traveled with a 15-foot green canoe going to a sea stack, Pilot Rock.

But he himself cannot be found, and now hundreds of people are looking for him.

Lewis failed to return from the sea and the parts of the canoe he used had been located in beaches nearby.

“It’s so epic what he did, and yet, I wish he wasn’t the lost treasure,” his father said with voice trembling. “I’m sorry. I’m trying to hold it together.”

The search for Lewis reached the far coastline. A Facebook group and a GoFundMe was put up to help locate the student.

Considering the ice cold sea off Trinidad and the uncertainty of whether Lewis wore protective clothes, his father, an adventure book author, thinks that something bad has happened.

“In that water, there’s no chance of survival,” he admitted.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said Lewis is believed to have started the journey in the waters between 10 a.m. and noon last Dec. 30.

The wind’s direction shifted at around 2:00 in the afternoon. There is a possibility that the student’s canoe struggled “and of course, he couldn’t swim in from that point,” Corey Lewis said.

Several search teams have helped in the search since Lewis disappeared at around 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 30. Among those who helped locate him were the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Special Services deputies, the Humboldt County Search and Rescue Posse, the U.S. Coast Guard and California State Parks. Also deployed were the water and air assets by the Coast Guard, in addition to the people looking for him on foot.