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‘Strange Inheritance’ host on the hunt in Key West

‘Strange Inheritance’ host Jamie Colby in Key West
‘Strange Inheritance’ host Jamie Colby in Key West

Jamie Colby has an odd job. No, really, she does. The lawyer turned TV personality is the host of Fox Business Network’s Strange Inheritance, tracking down relatives who have been passed down some bizarre stuff (Winston Churchill’s dentures come to mind). We spoke to Colby — who was born in NYC and moved to South Florida as a teen — about Monday’s 9:30 p.m. episode, filmed in Key West, and tracking down the family of late, great treasure hunter Mel Fisher, who is credited with discovering the 1622 wreck of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha in 1985 off the Florida Keys.

Tell us about the latest episode. What were you doing there?

Visiting Mel Fisher’s Maritime Heritage Museum was the tip of the iceberg of what this adventurer’s family has uncovered beneath the surface of the magnificent waters off Key West. His fight to erect and own the Atocha was noble and historically fascinating; the fact that his kids are sharing that experience of treasure hunting with others who are curious about what lies beneath on Spanish shipwrecks is a great gift to the community. When we went out with them, a passenger actually found an emerald. How cool is that?

What areas did you explore?

It would be impossible to go to Key West and not visit all your standard spots on Duval. Having dinner on the beach there, watching the sun rise and set and hearing the sounds of wildlife was a completely Zen experience, and I can’t wait to go back on vacation.

Tell us about how you became a local.

My folks were wise enough to leave winters and settle there. Lucky for us! I attended the now-shuttered Lear School in North Miami for ninth through 11th grade. So sad it’s overgrown with weeds on Biscayne Boulevard between the Jockey and Cricket clubs. It was a very prestigious prep day school in its day, even had its own planetarium. Not everyone knows this, but I never graduated and still don’t have a high school diploma. Instead, I was accepted to the University of Miami School of Business at 14 years old and graduated at 19 with an accounting degree. With honors (Mom Carole Colby would want me to tell you that [laughs].) I applied to many law schools and ended up attending University of Miami. I just couldn’t see leaving.

What are your favorite things about South Florida?

You mean besides Steve Sawitz and his amazing inheritance, Joe’s Stone Crab? November means it’s time! I am really into water sports so it would have to be the ocean. My brother, retired Dade County Judge Jonathan Colby, and I grew up deep sea fishing off Haulover, and his enthusiasm for sport fishing rubbed off. I also love the people and diversity of South Florida; I’ve had the privilege to see it grow into the mecca it is today.

Least favorite thing?

Humidity and bad hair days. I’ve visited more than 30 states for Strange Inheritance, and we’ve never duplicated the battle my glam squad faces in Florida. Ponytail to the rescue!

What have you learned since doing the show?

That everyone truly does have a story. I’m always amazed at the heirlooms and artifacts families have held onto and consider their family treasures. In addition to that, the powerful and often emotional stories and photographic evidence of the history of each family they share with me tell so much about our culture and our country.

What else is going on with you?

There’s going to be a wonderful smell wafting from Mom’s kitchen in Aventura on Thanksgiving Day. I will be there all week, and I’m doing the cooking. That’s my favorite meal to prepare. It’s a wonderful holiday to be with loved ones especially after being on the road for the show nonstop since April.

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