The undersea explorer who, decades ago, discovered North America’s first authenticated pirate shipwreck believes he’s found where its legendary treasure lies off Cape Cod.
Barry Clifford tells the Associated Press his expedition recently located a large metallic mass that he’s convinced represents most if not all of the 400,000 coins and other riches believed to be contained on the ship.
“We think we might be at the end of the rainbow,” Clifford said in the recently opened Whydah Pirate Museum on Cape Cod, where many of the expedition’s finds are now showcased.
Maritime archaeologists and historians say they’re intrigued but remain skeptical, mostly because he’s been disproved on other finds.
“Barry Clifford’s many claims can be very exciting, if they can be verified with photographs or scientific proof,” said Paul Johnston, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. who specializes in shipwrecks. “Until then, it’s just talk.”
The 71-year-old explorer hopes to start investigating the suspected riches this month.
But Smithsonian curator Paul Johnston said Clifford needs to provide more concrete proof before he can satisfy skeptics. Clifford has been wrong before after touting finds at other shipwrecks.
The Whydah Gally went down in stormy seas in 1717, and nearly all of its roughly 150-person crew perished, including the pirate captain Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy. It was discovered in 1984.
Clifford has been searching for the Santa Maria since 2003, CBS Boston reported.