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.”