By Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher - The Raleigh Telegram
The summer blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides," has Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, going up against the notorious Blackbeard and boarding his flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge.
After watching the film opening night, back at our oceanfront room at The Sheraton Atlantic Beach, we marveled just how close we are to the real deal here on the Crystal Coast.
Blackbeard’s actual ship sank in 1718 right off the coast here, not far from Fort Macon. Its discovery in 1996 caused a stir; national attention refocused on the shipwreck Friday morning when one of four anchors was brought to the surface. It weighs 3,000 pounds.
And now, some of the ship’s excavated “treasures” are about to be shown to the public in a new exhibit (no, not gold, but pieces of pirate history).
Talk about timing — North Carolina researchers and tourism promoters are ecstatic.
The new Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge Exhibit opens June 11th at Beaufort's North Carolina Maritime Museum unveiling nearly 300 exhumed relics from the 90-foot frigate.
Regarding the film, Claire Aubel, the museum’s public relations coordinator, said no one from Hollywood contacted the museum. “So how did they get their concept of Queen Anne’s Revenge?” she asked with a laugh and a shrug. Movie makers live by their own rules, kind of like pirates.
Not so at the museum. Here, the documented recovery has been painstakingly slow, and true. At the wreck site, 40-50% of the artifacts are now “off the ocean floor,” she says. “That leaves us with another 50% roughly to get up by 2015, which is our goal. It’s completely weather dependent as you might imagine.”