Cover image for Expedition Whydah : the story of the world's first excavation of a pirate treasure ship and the man who found her
Expedition Whydah : the story of the world's first excavation of a pirate treasure ship and the man who found her
Clifford, Barry.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Cliff Street Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
viii, 311 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 8.5 19.0 35181.
Personal Subject:
Corporate Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
G530.W5787 C56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
G530.W5787 C56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
G530.W5787 C56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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It was the end for Black Sam Bellamy and his pirates...

The sailors of the Whydah didn't know that the storm was among the worst ever, but they knew they were in a bad storm, For a few hopeful moments, they thought their hard work had turned them out to sea. Then, through the howl of the storm, someone heard the waves slapping the shoreline and the cry of "Breakers! Breakers!" went up again. Frenzy and fear became the order of the day. With a deep knowledge of the sea and the will to survive the pirates began to act on their own, as they had in so many other desperate situations deeply frightened but steadfastly professional.

It was 10 P.M. on April 16, 1717, and the crew of the Whydah had only two hours to live.

...But two centuries later, it became a new beginning.

Obsessed by a boyhood dream of lost pirate treasure, Barry Clifford launched a search for the pirate ship Whydah, which supposedly wrecked on the coast of Cape Cod. Very quickly he realized that he had taken on a daunting task. Others who had tried to find the ship before him had failed. Although locals came forward with gold coins and relics that could only have come from the lost pirate ship, skeptics claimed that the ship didn't really exist or had been picked over by Cape Cod's early settlers more than two hundred years ago when it sank. Ignoring claims that he was a fool and a dreamer, Clifford pressed on, until he found the Whydah...And then the story begins.

Effortlessly weaving pirate Black Sam Bellamy's history with his own story, Clifford tells a tale of pursuit and perseverance, one that shows our inseparable link to the stories of our childhood as well as our connection to the historic past.

As a child, Clifford's uncle would spend long afternoons telling him the story of Black Sam Bellamy, a pirate from England who captured the heart of Cape Cod's lovely Maria Hallert. Bellamy and his crew sailed to the Caribbean to make their fortune, and make it they did, becoming among the most successful pirates of the early eighteenth century. On their return to Cape Cod, where Bellamy planned to reunite with his lover, a powerful storm wrecked the ship at Maria's very doorstep, killing almost all on board.

Mesmerized by the tales of the Whydah and the riches that sank with her, Clifford embarks on a lifelong quest to find the sunken pirate ship and tell the story of her mysterious crew and the age they lived in.

Expedition Whydah tells two equally enthralling stories of obsession: Bellamy's tale of hard work and crafty piracy, and Clifford's own unbelievable quest to fulfill his dream of finding the sunken ship and building a museum to house her relics. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of a long-gone era of unimaginable adventure--and brutality--and a look at two determined men, one from the past, the other from the present, who let nothing get in the way of their goals.

Spirited and colorful, filled with illustrations and photographs of the ship, its treasure, and the team that found her, Expedition Whydah is a spellbinding book that will grab your imagination, just as Clifford's imagination was forever captured as a young boy, when he heard the legend of Black Sam Bellamy for the first time.

Author Notes

Paul Perry attended Arizona State University and received a fellowship from the Freedom Forum Foundation at Columbia University in 1988. He taught magazine writing at the University of Oregon and was Executive Editor at American Health magazine. He is the co-author with Melvin Morse of Closer to the Light, Transformed by the Light, and Where God Lives, which won the 2002 Aleph Award for the best spiritual book published that year in France. His work has appeared in numerous publications including National Geographic Adventure, Ladies Home Journal, Rolling Stone, Men's Journal, and Reader's Digest.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Sunk off the Cape Cod shoreline in the eighteenth century, the Whydah represents the only salvaged pirate ship to date. Through meticulous research and frantic fund-raising efforts, Clifford located the site of the Whydah's wreck and has thus far resurfaced more than 200,000 of its artifacts. Clifford balances tales of his own exploits with history and pirate lore, fleshing out the background of the Whydah's captain, "Black" Sam Bellamy, as well as other key pirates of that era. Clifford's insights into pirate culture will engage the lay historian, and his broad overview of pirate life will appeal to readers more familiar with that time period. Readers will also take interest in Clifford's crew, an appropriately salty bunch, yet they may find themselves wishing that Clifford had more fully explored their fractious dynamic rather than glossing over individual contentions. Although Clifford's condensation of historical events leans toward oversimplification, he still manages to fill his account with a great deal of information that should appeal to readers with fond childhood memories of Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe. --Brendan Dowling

Table of Contents

Book I A Myth and a Dream
1 The Stuff of Daydreamsp. 3
2 Dreaming the Dreamp. 12
3 Full Speed Aheadp. 22
4 The Riches with the Gunsp. 26
5 Southack's Fruitless Searchp. 35
6 Pushpins and Hunchesp. 41
7 X Marks the Spotp. 47
8 The Mel Fisher Showp. 52
9 A Sahara of Sandp. 58
10 Sage Advicep. 64
11 A Free Prince in the Makingp. 70
12 The Sharks Circlep. 78
13 The Rich and Adventurousp. 84
Book II The Big Time
14 A Crew with No Boatp. 93
15 The Vast Explorerp. 103
16 What Now?p. 110
17 The First Seasonp. 123
18 Wish You Were Herep. 134
19 Iron and Goldp. 142
20 Masters of Their Universep. 163
21 Name Unknownp. 173
22 Cast-Iron Proofp. 186
23 Boom and Bustp. 199
24 Banned in Bostonp. 213
25 Bellamy's Shopping Listp. 221
Book III Back to Basics
26 New Beginningp. 229
27 A Near-Death Experiencep. 237
28 Jackpotp. 246
29 Whydah's Endp. 258
30 The Ghosts of 1717p. 268
31 First Blood, Againp. 275
32 Willful, Wicked, Feloniousp. 283
33 Aesop's Tablesp. 293
34 "We've Got Wood!"p. 295
Postcriptp. 306
Acknowledgmentsp. 310