The riveting story of the slave ship Whydah,captured by pirates and later sunk in a fierce storm off the coast of Massachusetts, energizes this lavish companion book to a unique exhibition on a five-year U.S. tour. Packed with plunder from more than 50 captured ships, the Whydah was discovered by underwater explorer Barry Clifford in 1984. Now, for the first time, its treasure holds are unlocked for public view.
More than 200 items were retrieved from the ocean floor: the telltale ship's bell, inscribed "Whydah Galley 1716"; coins and jewelry, buttons and cufflinks; muskets, cannons, and swords; everyday objects including teakettles and tableware, gaming tokens, and clay pipes. The artifacts provide an unprecedented glimpse into the raucous world of 18th-century pirating and shed light on the link between the slave trade and piracy during those tumultuous times.
Built to transport human captives from Africa to the Caribbean, the Whydah made one such voyage before being captured in 1717 by Sam Bellamy, the boldest pirate of his day. Two months later, in one of the worst nor'easters ever, the ship sank, drowning all but 2 of the 146 people aboard. For anyone intrigued by the lore of piracy, the mystery of shipwrecks, or the sad and salty intertwining of slave and pirate history, Real Pirates has the answers.
Barry Clifford is one of the world's best-known underwater explorers. Born and raised on Cape Cod, he has been involved in underwater surveys and recovery missions for more than half of his life. After locating the wreck of the legendary Whydah in 1984, Clifford and his team successfully located the main body of the shipwreck in 1998. He has preserved the Whydah artifacts as an intact collection, establishing a museum, the Expedition Whydah Sea Lab & Learning Center, in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Clifford is also an accomplished mountaineer and jungle explorer, a member of the Explorers Club, and a Discovery Quest Scholar. He is the author of Expedition Whydah, The Lost Fleet, and Return to Treasure Island.