Published: Jun 17, 2010 12:54 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 16, 2010 4:14 PM EDT

Doctor John Mina of Lee County is a podiatrist by profession, but he's an explorer and adventurer at heart.   Starting this Friday, Dr. Mina, his 17-yr. old son Tony, and eight other veteran explorers, will head into the jungles of the Dominican Republic, looking for a 'Lost City of Gold'.

"When you have a passion to discover, only an adventure will quell it," Dr. Mina told WINK News.

"It is a rush, very exciting, to un-earth something that no human hands have held for maybe 2000 years!", he added.

The Mina's will fly to the Dominican Republic and will become the first foreigners, officially invited by the government there, to try to find the lost city of Bartholomew Columbus.   He was the brother of Christopher, and travelled to  what we know as Hispaniola in the late 1400's, on Columbus' seocnd voyage to the new world.   Bartholomew found gold in the jungles of what is now the Dominican Republic, and he founded a city near the site of the gold.   Later though, he abandoned the area, and nobody has found the city since then.

"We will have metal detectors and old maps.   We hope to find some artifacts that will tell us, this was the settlement," said Dr. Mina.

He has travelled the world, looking for relics of lost cities and civilizations.  He's been to Israel, Romania and Mongolia.    He found a statue of Mars in Romania that is considered one of the finest and best-preserved, ever un-earthed.   His son Tony found a Roman coin, bearing the picture of Nero. 

"When you find something that nobody has seen for all those years, and hold it in your hands, you have a direct connection with history," said Dr. Mina.

His son Tony will join him on the 10-day expedition to the Dominican Republic.   "It's going to be hot, itchy with mosquitoes, and probably just very uncomfortable,"  Tony Mina predicted.   "But it will be so cool if we find some remnants of the lost city.   That's why you put up with discomfort, for that  discovery."

Dr. Mina chuckled when the subject of Indiana Jones came up, but he said, he does have some Jones moments.   "In Mongolia, I went to a flea market known for thieves.  I bought a carpet there, and suddenly, all these men surrounded me.   One big guy started hitting me in the chest and clearly, they were going to pick my pockets.   So I swung the carpet roll,  hitting one guy, and created a small opening for me to run through.   Then the vendor started yelling:  Thieves, and all the thugs dispersed into the crowd!    That was an Indiana Jones moment for me," he said.

The Mina's do not expect trouble on the upcoming expedition.   But, just in case, "That's what we carry machetes for," said Tony Mina.