Brad Bertelli writes for Keysnet.com–The mission of the treasure fleets or flotas that once sailed between Spain and the New World was two-fold. Ships leaving Spain transported supplies and reinforcements to New World colonies. Upon their return, they brought treasures, bars of silver and gold for the realm, as well as goods to be sold at market.
The trip took between six and eight weeks to complete, one-way, and followed routes established by Christopher Columbus and Ponce de Leon — among other early explorers. On the voyage from Spain, ships followed the African coastline, passing between the Canary Islands before turning west and sailing to the modern day Dominican Republic. On the trip home from the New World, the fleets roughly paralleled La Florida until, generally speaking, captains sighted Bermuda. Bermuda was used as a beacon of sorts from which vessels turned east to make the Atlantic crossing.
.Read more on Keysnet.com: http://www.keysnet.com/2014/06/12/497280/birth-of-the-spanish-treasure.html?sp=/99/203/