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ABOUT THIS EPISODE

A sunken pirate ship is one of the hardest things to find in the world. But two treasure hunters risked their lives and fortune to find one. In the process, the uncovered the story of one of the greatest pirates to ever live during the Golden Age of Piracy. My guest today wrote a book about the search of this pirate ship. His name is Robert Kurson and he's the author of the book Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship. In today's show Robert and I discuss why pirates are so appealing, why two guys would risk millions of dollar to find a pirate ship, and the legendary story of the pirate who captained this sunken ship. You're not going to want to miss this.
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TRANSCRIPT

00:00:01this episode of the art of manliness podcast is brought to you by Lynda dot com Lynda dot com is the online learning platform with over three thousand on demand video courses help strengthen your business technology and creative skills they got course on just about everything I've done the
00:00:14one the photography and videography productivity business management really cool for free ten day trial visit Lynda dot com slash art of man that's L. Y. NDA dot com slash art of man welcome to another edition of the art of manliness podcast so pirates have fascinated boys and men
00:00:47for centuries countless books have been written about the movie users they got the parts of the Caribbean at Disneyland people go kids dress up was pirates for Halloween people just there's something about pirates that people are drawn to but here's the thing I I just found out that
00:01:03finding a pirate ship your actual pirate ship from the golden age of piracy which was the sixteenth century is one of the hardest things to do it's harder than finding sunken treasure that's because first it's not a lot of pirate ships out there in second just because the
00:01:18nature of piracy they did putting it in a fiery markers the ship so it's hard to identify a ship as a pirate ship once you find it despite all this these two men their treasure hunters they got a lead on a possible sunken pirate ship in the carribean
00:01:32and they wrist pretty much everything to go find it money their livelihood their personal lives justify this partnership and also in the process to discover and learn more about the pirate that captain the ship his name's Joseph banister one of the greatest pirates whoever lived but very few
00:01:51people know about it was today on the show I have the author of a book that just came about about the the finding of this pirate ship his name is Robert cursing his book a pirate hunters treasure obsession in the search for a legendary pirate ship super good
00:02:04read it's entertaining it's fast paced action packed full of suspense but also to learn a lot in the process I learned a lot about the process news in the show robin I discuss why pirates or so alluring why were drawn to them we'll learn more about Robert Bannister
00:02:20and why he is one of the greatest pirate ever live and we'll learn about what we can learn from these two treasure hunters who went out fine this tyrant ships from the golden age of piracy great discussion thinking alike it so let's do this Roberts arson welcome to
00:02:44the show thanks so much for a privilege to be with you so your new book pirate hunters the fantastic fantastic book but %HESITATION before we get into this isn't your first book about underwater treasure seekers how did you get under introduce this world of under water sluice because
00:03:00I really didn't know it existed until I read your books I didn't either Breton it was really kind of dumb luck for me I'm realizing as I get older how much lock up please in life what an important part of place in about %HESITATION ten years ago I
00:03:14got a call from a friend who said %HESITATION she had a remarkable story to tell me about it was about these two every day guys blue collar workers who on weekends went scuba diving for fun off the coast of New Jersey and that one day they had found
00:03:28a World War two German U. boat that no one in the world knew was sunk in New Jersey and that there were fifty six dead German sailors inside and my first reaction was I don't know anything about underwater exploration I'm not a scuba diver I don't even swim
00:03:42I couldn't be less interested but something was kind of planning in my instinct and so I followed it up and that turned into my first book shadow diverse and %HESITATION yeah I mean that's amenable I that's amazing that there was a U. boat off the coast of New
00:03:55Jersey they came here with impunity in the first part of World War two they got so close to our shores that sometimes they would beach themselves by accident and guys would climb out and push the U. boat back in the water he would routinely come so near to
00:04:11New York that they would put their radio antennas up in tune in the jazz radio stations that were forbidden to them back home and they would watch couple strolling on dates I mean they came here and did whatever they wanted for the first part of the word then
00:04:24%HESITATION allied ingenuity and technology changed everything in the hunters as they say became the hunted soon enough yeah yeah I mean I doesn't I didn't know that the U. both got this close %HESITATION it's okay let's talk about these guys these blue collar guys you're just doing this
00:04:38for fun these guys and you'd be highlighting one of a mix of an appearance in this book %HESITATION but these guys are larger than life I mean these guys they they they come from like the hard Scrabble but they're just I don't know they got this great about
00:04:54and that's just admirable can you tell us about the guys who went after this pirate ship %HESITATION that was under water yeah absolutely so in my new book countries you've got these two guys John Chatterton and John Matera who have very very interesting lives before they ever think
00:05:11anything about going to look for shipwrecks on John Chatterton grew up in New York but %HESITATION never really found himself until he got to Vietnam he volunteered to be a medic in Vietnam he really became a standout very unusual medic he walked point with the other guys in
00:05:29in Vietnam and as a medic that was very rare he he was a very heroic guy but it wasn't until he kind of discovered scuba diving after Vietnam that he really found himself but it wasn't just scuba diving the way we think of it you know looking at
00:05:43the star fish and sea horses and coral and he was going deep dark and dangerous %HESITATION for shipwrecks some of the most deadly shipwrecks in the world and soon enough he was on ships like the Andrea Doria and others that were known for killing people routinely and he
00:06:00became one of the greatest diverse in the world people paid him the ultimate compliment by saying when you die no one's gonna find your body internet world that rare world of deep water shipwreck diving that was the ultimate compliment so he even as he became an underwater construction
00:06:16worker in and around New York he kind of distinguished himself as one of the great shipwrecked diverse in the world this other guy John McCarron I might have had an even more unusual background he grew up in Staten Island and by the time he was fourteen or fifteen
00:06:32was opening night clubs and doing loan sharking and really %HESITATION kind of rising up around the people who form the Gambino crime family and there came a time when he was about twenty years old where he might have even made a move with a friend of his toward
00:06:49taking over the Gambino crime family the guy was so interesting that even though all this was going on and he was owning night clubs too young for him you know that he was not even legally allowed to enter and making hundreds of thousands of dollars of loans he
00:07:02still was consumed with history in with the idea of historic shipwrecks to his friends even while they were wild and getting into all kinds of violence in trouble you could find him in the library more likely than anywhere else just at the point when he was about to
00:07:15take the wrong turn in life and really make a move on into organized crime he he swerved and he became a cop on the really the unlikeliest possible result for a guy like this but he understood what %HESITATION meet men take on the streets and it made him
00:07:32a really good peacock and from there he just took it into a security job and then to owning a a security business where he became one of the highest paid personal bodyguards in the world at that point he's middle age and kind of sat and that's were Chatterton
00:07:48is middle age and set for life when they get a chance to do something almost no one in the world has ever done and that is to go find a golden age pirate ship pirate ship from the seventeenth century the rarest thing you could find in the world
00:08:03under water yeah so these guys actually they were working the other they're gonna go after %HESITATION a treasure ship like a that had possible Spanish gold on it of and then they got yeah you had this opportunity from another treasure hunter about in believe was is yep potent
00:08:18voted today there's a pirate ship and they gave it up they gave up like possibly making millions and millions of dollars to go for this pirate ship it was called the Golden Fleece what what is so wire pirate sunken pirate ships so rare and why are they so
00:08:33hard to find and why would they give a million dollars you'll look for a pirate ship we're not even talking millions prep we're talking hundreds of millions they planned for two years to go after a Spanish galleon call the San Miguel which they believe would have dwarfed any
00:08:49other treasure ship ever found the train for it they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the cutting edge equipment everything in their life was devoted to going to find this treasure ship in basically on the eve of going to set out for the ship which they believe
00:09:03they knew the location of they're offered a chance by an elderly treasure hunter do something impossible next to go find a treasure ship now why are they so rare at this point when this offer is made in two thousand seven only one pirate ship has ever been discovered
00:09:21and positively identified in the world a parrot ship called the with a the reason they're so so very difficult to find is because eighty there were not very many of them to begin with probably not much more than a thousand of them sailing collectively but even then think
00:09:38about what a pirate ship is about first and foremost it's about invisibility it's about stealth they want to be invisible to governments and to our lawmakers they don't broadcast their intentions they don't file reports about where they're going or where they intend to go and when they disappear
00:09:57either the same core they're sold or anything else they break up in a storm no government comes looking for them they don't exist officially that's exactly the way they want it but think about also what happens after a pirate ship sinks let's say I'm a scuba diver or
00:10:12swimmer or some were somebody on a ship comes across the wreckage of a pirate ship when they see this is a wrecked ship how are they going to know it was a pirate ship these pirate ships did not carry bills engraved with their name they didn't want their
00:10:27name known to anybody so all you're really looking at even if you're lucky enough to stumble across one is just a pile of what the trick really is to identify it and prove it the pirate ship that is the single most difficult thing a shipwreck hunter could possibly
00:10:42do in all the world so that's why I was so appealing could just so so appealing to them and think about it a pirate and what could be more to you know to speak to your inner little boy than the chance to find a pirate ship and in
00:10:56fact this guy told him I can tell you exactly where the pirate ship is he just didn't have the equipment or the technical know how to go get it but that's exactly what Chatterton Matera had been spending the last two years of their lives perfecting the technical know
00:11:11how so they thought easy we're gonna go out and get this then we'll go get our treasure ship didn't didn't turn out to be that easy of let's talk about the okay the pirate right to the ship to the other characters the story and I love how you
00:11:23in the book you weave in the story of the terror in tattered and trying to find the pirate ship and you also even the story of the pirate who captained the ship the Golden Fleece his name was Joseph banister and all admit %HESITATION this the first I ever
00:11:37heard of Joseph banister %HESITATION but that guy he's pretty cool like this is like he's like a lot cooler the other other parents I've heard about can you tell us about a little bit about Joseph banister and how he became a pirate this is one of the great
00:11:52unknown stories to history and when chatter Canemah terror heard it for the first time they could hardly believe what they were listening to Joseph banister for years and years was an English noble gentleman he was the captain of a ship called the Golden Fleece which belong to wealthy
00:12:09ship owners and he captained the ship between the trade routes of London and port royal Jamaica portrayal at that time was known as the wickedest city on earth and it was a pirate stronghold Bannister had nothing to do with pirates for years and years what he did was
00:12:25he transported heights and sugar in indigo dies between London and port royal and made a very good living for himself he was very well respected a real noble gentleman and then for one day for reasons nobody could really define he stole his own ship the Golden Fleece and
00:12:45turned pirate didn't just do it himself he recruited a top flight pirate crew of fearsome band of characters and went on a pirating rampage and when Chatterton mature heard these first details about the guy that he was headed for a soft landing that he was in middle age
00:13:03that he had his life mate but that he took this turn this sudden swerve it spoke to them in a very personal level because in lots of ways that's what was going on with them at that very moment yes even in this way like why it can I
00:13:17love how the yeah they connected with banister in that way but I just find it like why did what I think the territory of speculates why a banister went pirate yet all this going forum we decided to go pirate and I think Madera can the collision that it
00:13:31was the sort of love of democracy I think you know these guys when they discovered early on that the pirate ship was not we are all of you know three centuries of history believed it was and that they were going to have to do something way outside the
00:13:46box to try to find this on find it will ship they determined that they're going to have to get into the head and even more importantly into the heart of this pirate banister in order to think like him and feel like him and find their way to him
00:14:00and so the terra who's really a historian since he's a little boy starts to do all kinds of original research all over the world and he starts to learn not just about pirates of the golden age which was about from sixteen fifty to seventeen twenty three starts to
00:14:14understand what was going on and pirate ships these were the first democracies democracies that took hold a century before they came to America and at that point mature starts to make a connection with banister the person he starts to feel that this guy could not have made this
00:14:32leap would not have made this leap others for anything other than the feeling of being completely free and being with a group of of people who went in the way they decided free from any government free from any rules or laws everything on the pirate ship with a
00:14:50democracy everybody's vote carry the same weight so Bannister had the same vote as the lowly if that can't and the more mature and Chatterton learned about this the more they believe they could trace the banisters heart to the location of his ship with a quick Rick for worth
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00:17:40to check it out really ride dot com slash art now back to the show I was fast in the whole section you had about the pirate code of honor basically because I didn't know how that help was route worked of your right it was it everyday voted on
00:17:53everything like the voting to where they're going to go %HESITATION the only time the captain I guess I was actually captain was in during battle that correct that's exactly right yeah and and then also there's like they had sort of like %HESITATION I guess you'd say laws about
00:18:08how pirates are paid like the captain could be paid that much more than the lowest deck hand absolutely that the pirate very very rarely got more than two or three times with the lowest guy on board got and they voted on everything so if the pirate wanted to
00:18:22go pursue a certain ship in a certain location and his crew felt differently than the pirate captain was overruled and he didn't like it at that point they could throw him off or maroon him or worse even if the pirate captain himself owned his own ship like banister
00:18:38so the fact that banister stayed in charge of his ship for several years as a pirate captain Chatterton in the terror even more they knew that this guy had commanded incredible respect but you're right everything they did a board was voted on the hat constitution of rules and
00:18:54laws and bylaws that would have spun your head it was so fair and so a gallon you could not have believed it yeah it it I mean the what I loved about this idea of banister being sort of a lover of democracy I mean he he battled with
00:19:13I mean is that what is that why we we find pirate so intriguing is this in like specially like folk outlaws they would be the the this outlaws become heroes they sort of kind of stick it to the man and sort of exert their economy is that why
00:19:25we love to read stories about pirates I think that's exactly why every one of us feels bound in some way or another %HESITATION as we make our way through the days of our lives these guys said no matter what the risk it's worth it to just step off
00:19:40the dock in set sail really into freedom I mean these guys were looking at the gallows if they got caught especially when banister did it where they were really really closing in on the pirates but the idea of stepping away and saying we are bound by no laws
00:19:55and no restrictions other than the those that we make for ourselves I think that's an absolutely timeless thing I think we just spoke spoken to the cave man on that idea of of freedom and that's really what they believe in the end drove banister to take the massive
00:20:12risks he took by turning pirate so what's the process of finding finding a ship that doesn't have any identifiable markers on it that some three hundred years ago %HESITATION you mention there's some technology involved but it seems like there's the stuff that happens on shore that has more
00:20:28of an influence on finding the ship that's completely right in a certain way by undertaking this search for the pirate ship chatter scimitar we're doing something insane because it wasn't going to be enough to them to find the pirate ship they had to identify it and the odds
00:20:45of doing that almost zero for the reasons we discussed none the less the chance to do it was so rare and so unusual they they felt compelled to do it now how they were going to identify it I think the the both suspected would have to be done
00:21:01through history in on land that no matter how good they were at finding the physical remains of the ship we're going to have to do some first rate detective work that had never been done in history before in order to prove that that rack if they were lucky
00:21:16enough to find it was indeed the Golden Fleece neither of them had any idea how they were going to do that only that by given being given this rare chance that this one point in their life they couldn't say no and they had to try what amazed me
00:21:30is that they would travel all over the world to different libraries just to do this this historical research on that can imagine how much money they sunk into this project may have been astronomical it wasn't you gotta remember that this is after they sunk an astronomical amount into
00:21:46gearing up for their treasure hunt so really you know this was money that they had expected to spend finding a traitor they thought could be worth half a billion dollars for more but they came to believe that they could do this in a reasonable amount of time however
00:22:01things were not nearly that simple and when when things got to get complicated it was worth it to them even if they had to spend their last dime in order to go find this because it's John with terra told me the first time I ever talked to me
00:22:15about the story treasure gets found all the time but a pirate ship I mean there's nothing like it so that they were in a certain way because they were explorers at heart but they had no choice in the matter what I want to talk about needs any spoilers
00:22:30about what happens to banister and how wide the CIP shown can how the the guys finally found the book our find the boat someone people to read the book could you just do a great job of telling the story but what are these guys doing our water Chatterton
00:22:42in the terror doing now are they still searching for ships for the X. sort of retired and got moved on in life no that's the whole crux of the matter to them they cannot retire and the idea you know when they they both had made good in their
00:22:56lives professionally and got to the middle age you know into their early fifties from a terror and late fifties for Chatterton and they were advised by very reasonable people you know take your money arm I think one of them was %HESITATION urge to buy a Dunkin donut franchise
00:23:12and the other to buy a laundromat or manage an apartment building and and I mean this very literally Brett I think both of them would have rather died than do that the idea of living a life like that was unacceptable to them the question was what do you
00:23:29do and soak the chance to go find a pirate ship or a treasure ship that spoke to them the question then becomes after you do something like that what do you do next and that's the question they're trying to answer now they're out in search of another great
00:23:43shipwrecked and I think they're going to be asking that question as long as they live make all of us I mean where the walls are sort of like that you accomplish one big project then you just try to figure out what to do next I think someone that's
00:23:56a scary prospect if you don't have the answer in front of you at the moment but the alternative which is doing something you know reasonable and predictable for the rest of your life is worse and that's what inspires me about writing about guys like this that they're not
00:24:11ready to hang it up so you mentioned you kind of went into this in the book the route that the days of treasure hunt teens underwater treasure hunting seem to be coming to an end I guess because countries are passing laws that make it illegal for just sort
00:24:29of people to go out on their own and in search for sunken treasure is a profession that's on the verge of extinction yes it's virtually extinct there are a handful of countries that still allow it and you know their arguments to be made by archaeologists and academics %HESITATION
00:24:46and the reasonable sounding arguments which goes something like you can't allow these treasure hunters to go exploring the ships because they're not going to treat the artifacts in the way that a museum might or curator might either just in it for the money on they don't care about
00:25:02the history and so they make a very good case against private treasure hunters but I can tell you from being around these guys now for ten years or more that no one takes better care of shipwrecks partly because it's in their financial interest to do this you know
00:25:16you don't want to storm through a shipwreck and ruin things %HESITATION but partly because no one else is interested in the history in the way these guys are I have yet to meet a treasure hunter or shipwreck explore who wasn't first and foremost interested in history so that
00:25:34that's a huge benefit that a lot of people don't realize but beyond that %HESITATION shipwreck and treasure hunting is extremely expensive I mean it'll wipe out rich guys all the time and so universities and archaeologists and scientists don't have the money to go hunt the ships it's only
00:25:53these treasure hunters and investors they can get behind them who were even able to go so if the the private guys don't go the guys with that fire burning inside them you're not gonna get guys to go look for the ship in there gonna remain lost forever yet
00:26:07I think you definitely at the yet have a sort of a cowboy mentality it have a pirate mentality right a sort of a love of danger to do with these guys are doing because some of these rex or places that you know it's hard to get to and
00:26:19I don't know if you would attract that sort of that sort of divers that sort of sort of person in academia I think it I think it might be from the antithesis of the academic mindset you have to be a pirate to go do this and also to
00:26:33believe that you have the right to take something from the seat I mean that's not something that would come to me naturally but you have to believe in yourself in that way and that if you expend the money and especially risk your lives because guys die doing this
00:26:47that you are deserving of compensation and that compensation is in the form of treasure or at least in the form of a finding the shipwreck itself during the process of writing this book did you have a chance to do anything I mean I I I guess there's like
00:26:59rex replaced take towards in the show consumers travelers %HESITATION shipwreck have you had the chance to do that yeah you know when when I was writing my first book shadow diverse about the U. boat on this was an almost unreachable shipwreck especially back then it was sunk in
00:27:15two hundred thirty feet of very cold dark water sixty miles off the coast of Point Pleasant New Jersey so it's just the boat ride out there was a violent experience and people died on that record very quickly after it was discovered when you go look in tropical waters
00:27:31for a pirate ship or a traitor ship often they're sunk in ten or twenty feet of water and once you find them you can sometimes look from the boat right down on to the rack so those of the rex that are much easier for a lay person like
00:27:46me to see and to go experience also you mentioned a little bit %HESITATION that you were you the one of the things you love about writing this book is seen these guys how you know they're just not willing to hang it up right there %HESITATION they just want
00:27:59to keep going in and find that next the next treasure the next adventure anything else did you learn that you learned about life being a man in the process of researching and writing this book I think the thing that stays with me the most is that the truly
00:28:16happy people I've come across the truly contented men always have a risk taken in their background I don't know that I've met any guy who's I'm really at peace with himself who doesn't have a risk in his background and are that's not to say that you should go
00:28:35around taking indiscriminate risks until you hit upon something but that %HESITATION these guys seem to accept intuitively in on a DNA level that a risk at some point well considered absolutely required are really in the same way banister did it they you know you could have a an
00:28:52easy soft landing ahead of you %HESITATION you can have it all laid out but that's not the way to really get there to take more risks let's take more risks and understand that there's really no way around well Robert working people find out more about your book you
00:29:08can go to my website it's just Robert %HESITATION Cherson K. U. R. S. O. N. dot com there saw all the informations there and %HESITATION it should be able to tell you everything fantastic will rob workers and is a fantastic book and it's just an amazing story did
00:29:23a great job of telling it to think so much free time it's been a pleasure right it's been a pleasure for me I'm a huge fan of your so this was a real privilege for me thank you thank you our guest is Robert cursing he is the author
00:29:34of the book pirate hunters treasure obsession and the search for a legendary pirate ship you can find that on Amazon dot com go out and get it it's a fantastic summertime read you won't regret it also you find out more information about the book end about the pirate
00:29:47ship of the Golden Fleece at Robert Curson person with the K. dot com well that wraps up another edition of the art of manliness podcast for more manly tips and advice make sure to check out the art of manliness website at art of manliness dot com and if
00:30:03you enjoy the podcast near getting fill you get something out of it I'd really appreciate if you go to iTunes or stitcher in give us review that will help us get the word out about the podcast other people because I'd really appreciate that and he probably noticing some
00:30:16different outro music this is actually music written by an artist manliness reader and podcast listener Jamie Clark wanna thank Jamie for doing this for us %HESITATION nice little little tune to go on out it was until next time this is Brett McKay telling you to stay madly

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