THE PIRATE PRINCE by Barry Clifford


Discovering the Priceless Treasure of the Sunken Ship Whydah
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 The adventures of ``piratologist'' Clifford--told with the help of Turchi (Magician, 1991)--as he tracks down the wreck of the legendary Whydah, the largest pirate ship of all. Clifford first heard of the mother ship of Black Sam Bellamy's outlaw fleet while listening as a child to his Uncle Bill's tales of 18th-century buccaneers. Everyone knew where the Whydah sank in 1717--in the Wellfleet surf off Cape Cod--and rumor had it that the treasure had never been recovered. What could be more inviting to a sea-bitten boy? As an adult, working the Cape as a nautical trouble-shooter, Clifford delved into the records of the wreck. Convinced that the treasure remained buried in the sands, he corralled investors with an irresistible sales pitch (``this is the beginning of a whole new high-tech treasure-hunting industry'') and assembled a colorful team of workers--including the Aspen, Colorado, police chief; a 6'10'' mariner; and John F. Kennedy, Jr. Through dogged analysis of old journals--especially that of Cyprian Southack, the 18th-century on-site investigator--Clifford pinpointed the location of the treasure trove, but two years of high-tech digging ensued before the first Whydah cannonball was brought up, in 1984. Along the way, Clifford battled reams of governmental red tape, terrible weather, and rival claim jumpers. But he got his reward, in the form of over 100,000 retrieved items, including thousands of coins and a pirate leg bone (a complete inventory is provided in an appendix). The search has been suspended, but Clifford indicates that the bulk of the treasure remains in the briny deep, for future salvagers to raise. The real coin--filled with the thrills and tedium of treasure hunting; sweaty at times, as Clifford recounts his marital woes, but otherwise the clear winner of this year's Pegleg and Patch Award. (Sixteen pages of color & b&w photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: July 7th, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-76824-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1993


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