This post is about a book and is actually a book review. I have not sat down and done a full book review in awhile, mostly because I have either not been motivated to actually write a book review or perhaps because I just have not read many interesting books lately. But since I’ve always loved great stories about treasure seeking and pirate lore, this book was a perfect read for me.
Return To Treasure Island And The Search For Captain Kidd is a 276 page book by Barry Clifford with Paul Perry that was published by Harper Collins in 2003. Although it was published years ago, I love pirate treasure seeking stories and I love the lore that Barry Clifford and Paul Perry weave into the stories about trying to find specific treasure or historic ships, I think the books would be much shorter without such lore woven into the story lines.
This is a true story (at least if you ask Barry Clifford it’s all true) that takes place in Madagascar on the island of Ile Sainte-Marie. Barry Clifford and his team have found clues to the possible location of pirate Captain William Kidd’s* treasured ship, the Adventure Galley*. While the book neatly puts together different threads of verifiable information about the truth and legend of Captain Kidd and his famous ship, it most importantly gives the reader a window into the painstaking work done by professional treasure researchers. Often rumors, charts, writings and legends must be crafted together to make any sort of hypothesis or educated guess where a ship may have sunk or might be resting, which more than often provides wild goose chases for treasure seekers. But the hardest part of treasure seeking these days are the courts and various countries that may lay claim to treasure or specific ships, especially within territorial waters. I think the longest portion of this book is the amount of time dedicated to making sure the reader knows all the details of struggle with the government officials of Madagascar and the various officials who needed to approve permitting and diving for various clues found.
I was also able to see clearly the self-promoter who lives inside Barry Clifford. Not to say he isn’t a great man who has found one of kind pirate treasure (he has) but I think it came out in this book how much he wanted to find quicksilver again in yet another “once in a century” find on the bottom of the harbor in Ile Saint-Marie.
Did he find the Adventure Galley? Did he actually find the legendary ship belonging to Captain Kidd, who may or may not haunt the Tower of London? Some say Captain Kidd was unjustly hung as a “fall-guy” for higher lords who were embarrassed to have financed his expeditions. In the end, Captain Kidd was hung with no friends left, possibly disabled after a stroke or with some kind of drug in his system.
But whether the Adventure Galley was found or not can be decided by you after reading this book!
*Wikipedia article references the 2000 find of the Adventure Galley but says nothing about it in the article about Captain Kidd, but it does say this about a 2015 discovery, which I find most telling:
“In May 2015, a 50-kilogram (110 lb) ingot expected to be silver was found in a wreck off the coast of Île Sainte-Marie in Madagascar by a team led by marine archaeologist Barry Clifford. It was believed to be part of Captain Kidd’s treasure. Clifford gave the booty to Hery Rajaonarimampianina, President of Madagascar. But, in July 2015, a UNESCO scientific and technical advisory body reported that testing showed the ingot consisted of 95% lead, and speculated that the wreck in question might be a broken part of the Sainte-Marie port constructions. *”
*Link accessed on 01 April 2021= William Kidd Wikipedia Link
Wanna read some of my other book reviews: