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"In the year 1717, Captain Bellamy and his [pirate] crew pursued on the high seas for three days and nights ... 'a Free Trading Ship called the Whido, bound from His Majesty's Colony of Jamaica, to the Port of London' ... Built as a merchant slaver, the handsome three-hundred-ton galley was named for the trading port of Whydah on the Gold Coast of West Africa. There, in the early eighteenth century, a thousand captives a month were taken by the Royal African Company for the slave trade to the New World." 
Treasure Wreck

"When I was very young, my grandfather told me the story of the pirate Ship Whydah. For many summers thereafter, I walked Cape Cod's outer beach, looking not for smoothed pebbles or flawless shells, but for pieces of eight. On winter nights when the wind roared under the eaves like the surf booming along the coast, I dreamed of finding a doubloon gleaming in the wet sand, the first of a cache of coins the waves would wash about my feet."

"After years of searching turned up not a trace of pirate treasure, I concluded that it had been a yarn. The story of young Captain Samuel Bellamy, of his year as a pirate on the Spanish Main, of the fabulous treasure he plundered, and of the loss of his ship Whydah in 1717, in a storm off Cape Cod, was, no doubt, a folktale."


"The story would have remained a chapter of pirate folklore, however, had not the Whydah itself been discovered right off the Cape Cod National Seashore in twenty feet of water and under ten feet of sand, still holding a fortune in pieces of eight and gold bars and layers of gold dust that ran through the sand 'like chocolate through ripple ice cream.' Here, not far from where so often I had walked the outer beach, was the only pirate ship that has ever been discovered."

"Early in his expedition to locate the remains of the Whydah, treasure diver Barry Clifford remarked, 'It is just too much fun not to let everyone in on it.' So it is. This book, then, is the story of the voyage and the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah."

Treasure Wreck: The Fortunes and Fate of the Pirate Ship Whydah


Captain Cyprian Southack's 1732 map of the New England shoreline noted the location where the Whydah sank off the coast of Cape Cod.


In this 2016 file photo, a museum visitor walks by a display of a bell once belonging to the pirate ship Whydah Gally at the Whydah Pirate Museum in Yarmouth, Mass. (Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


In this 2016 photo, archaeologist Marie Kesten Zahn works to remove silver coins from a concretion recovered from the wreckage of the pirate ship Whydah Gally at the Whydah Pirate Museum in Yarmouth, Mass. (Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

"At last, Barry Clifford's expedition had located where the pirate ship had broken apart, but for many months he could do nothing about it. ... Finally, on September 6, 1985, he received the permit from the Army Corps of Engineers that enabled him to begin bringing up the pirate treasure. ... From the test pits, the divers brought up a dozen navigational tools, pewter eating utensils bearing a royal African seal, a swivel gun, a gold ring, a casket of East Indian jewels, and small gold bars with knife marks indicating the pirates had cut them to divide into shares."


"A month later, after $14 million of treasure had been salvaged, a several-hundred-pound hunk of clay and sand was hauled aboard [Clifford's boat]. Embedded in the mass was an eighteen-inch bronze bell. Thick layers of incrustation and corrosion were chipped away. There, inscribed on the bell that had chimed the watches, were the magic words: 'THE WHYDAH GALLY 1716."

Treasure Wreck

"Without country, without home, were these bands of sea wolves. An outlaw, ever on the alert, Captain Bellamy sailed the Caribbean, unheard of for days, for weeks, lurking in the coastal shallows, patrolling the channels and straits, suddenly skimming along under a press of sail, his cannons roaring, swooping out of the dawn to plunder a cumbersome merchant ship, just as suddenly lost again among the endless isles along the Windwards."

—Treasure Wreck


A Mighty Treasure

Upon the Account

I Am a Free Prince

Wind & Waves for Our Deliverance

His Majesty's Loving Subjects

Ravenous Beasts of Prey

The End of Piracy

Seen in the Offen


Important: Whydah Has Been Found


The Riches with the Guns Will be Buried in the Sand


An action-packed thriller: Vanderbilt has captured the history of the ship and pirates, with a nice flair for the dramatic and a fast-moving prose style.


It's a wonderful tale, loaded with characters such as Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, Cotton Mather, a lovelorn ghost, and a modern day treasure hunter.


Exceptionally well done is Vanderbilt's re-creation of early 18th century Cape Cod, the lives of pirates, the capture of the Whydah's survivors and their ordeals in Boston, not the least of which was incessant haranguing by Rev. Cotton Mather.


This extraordinarily documented tale of the sinking of the treasure-laden pirate ship Whydah two and a half centuries ago off Cape Cod and the current recovery of millions from it is captivating stuff.


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