Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship
Random House, hc, 304 pp, $28.00
John Chatterton and John Mattera are the "pirate hunters" of the title of this book. Can you just imagine flying around the world hunting lost treasure for a living? What a gig! Even more rarified, on the adventure chronicled in this book, they are hunting for sunken treasure of the most famous pirate ship wreck in the Caribbean. The ship, the Golden Fleece which carried her pirate captain, Joseph Bannister, and his crew (and all sorts of booty), waged an all out battle against two Royal Navy warships and escaped. Eventually, however, he and his ship were found careening in Samana Bay. The British ships combined, carried fifty-six cannons between them all leveled at Banister. He had two batteries spaced widely apart on an island. The battle lasted for two full days. This exploit alone, made Bannister famous.
The scene is the Caribbean Sea. The time is 2012. Treasure hunting has become very much more sophisticated than in the days of "X" marks the spot. Metal detectors, GPS, radar and under water cameras had made the activity into a business and the business, profitable. Chatterton and Mattera were professionals ready to embark on another treasure gig when they got a call from Tracy Bowden, a legend in the treasure hunting business, asking them to come to Santo Domingo. He told Bannister's story and added that that no one knew where the Golden Fleece had been sunk. He would give them 20 per cent of the Golden Fleece if they found her.
For the next 250 pages the reader is transported to Jamaica and on and under the Caribbean. (I only wish I'd found this book in January of this past, buried in snow, winter...maybe you should put off reading it until next Jauary.)
The story is well written, fast paced and (as the liner notes observe) "unputdownable".
(If it's already there, I can use the word, right?) Enjoy this liquid pleasure.