Pirate exhibit in Norfolk taps into pirate craze
Growing up on Cape Cod, explorer Barry Clifford was fascinated by the romantic tale of "Black Sam" Bellamy. Sailing to Massachusetts to rendezvous with his mistress, the pirate encountered a nor'easter that sent him, most of his crew, and tons of gold, silver and jewels to the ocean's bottom.
The lore launched Clifford on a life of treasure-hunting — including the discovery in 1984 of the Whydah, Bellamy's treasure-laden three-master, which sank off of Wellfleet, Mass., on April 26, 1717.
"I was looking for treasure, and I found it," Clifford, 64, said. "More treasure than I could have ever imagined. The whole bottom was layered with it."
A sliver of Clifford's discovery is on display through April 4, 2010, at Nauticus, a marine science museum perched on the Norfolk waterfront.
"Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship," organized by National Geographic, includes thousands of gold and silver coins and hundreds of other displays in a 16,000-square-foot interactive exhibition.