Read of the Week – 6-28-2015 Pirate Hunters: Treasue, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson

pirate hunters

“—Examine everything; not all is as it seems or as people tell you.”
Robert Kurson, Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two men—John Chatterton and John Mattera—are willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. At large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the seventeenth century, Bannister’s exploits would have been more notorious than Blackbeard’s, more daring than Kidd’s, but his story, and his ship, have been lost to time. If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make history—it will be just the second time ever that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren’t enough to track down Bannister’s ship. They must travel the globe in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate’s exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and governments and experts. But it’s only when they learn to think and act like pirates—like Bannister—that they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before.


Normally, I need to be in a certain frame of mind to read non-fiction, but pirates! Come on, everybody loves to read about pirates.  It was fascinating to learn what goes into the actual search for, and finding of, a sunken ship.  I’d always thought treasure hunters located loads of pirate ships, not that discovering one was the holy grail of treasure hunting.  The most interesting aspect, for me, was the research Chatterton and Mattera put into the search, sorting through old records and historical texts to learn as much about the Pirate Captain , Bannister, as possible.  Finding a sunken ship is not a matter of heading out to dive where the ship is thought to have sunk.  Coastlines, water levels and place names change over the intervening years,  as well as the laws and regulations governing the search for and retrieval of sunken ships and their treasures.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the ins and outs of treasure hunting, so much so that I ordered Mr. Kurson’s earlier book, Shadow Divers.

I give Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship a hearty 4 1/2 stars!

“This is the greatest pirate story ever,” Bowden said. “And no one knows about it.”

Robert Kurson, Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

“the only way to see what really mattered in life was to go to the places that were hardest to reach.”
Robert Kurson, Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

JSW Prompt 3-27-2015 Response


I sat in silence that day, words running endless, unable to image how I had come to this place. I had never stopped loving her,  I’d simply been unable to live without the touch of anybody.  Looking back, it all seems so simple but simple things are never simple in the moment.  For all the fame and the money, I am just the same of any other man.  The only difference, everybody knows my name.

That is, contrary to belief, not always a good thing.  Take, for example, the crowds outside the hospital.  Part of me wants to be left alone to my grief.  Another part reminds me that even in grief, I am a public figure.  A public commodity.

My eyes, and mind, return to my first wife.  I never quite knew what happened, why we got divorced. The simple answer is that she got tired of me sleeping around.  What I could never tell her was that I was dying for her touch, so much that any touch was better than none.  She never told me why she turned from me.  We burned our bridges in an inferno of silence.

I have made so many mistakes, so many wrong turns taken, and sometimes, once you start on a particular path, there is no turning back. It was this for us.  And now she lies dying.  Breast cancer.  Somehow, I’d never imagined this would be the end for her.  Us.

I’d always believed, somewhere down deep, we were meant to be together.  Even after the divorce, I believed this. Somehow, sometime, we would be together again.  Now the dream was coming to an end. For reasons I will never understand, she lost the will to live.  Letting herself die.

If you knew me, knew my name, you would assume to see only the arrogance associated with my public persona.  How dare she leave me?  But it’s not that, this belief.  Somewhere deep, deep, inside – down where there are no lies – I knew then this was truth and I still know that today.

If she had wanted to live, she would live.

She had wanted to die.

I had to let her go.

(For any interested, this is the same voice from another JSW Prompt, many years after the first Prompt.)