Written June 2014
For nearly five years I lived on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and many a day I looked out from my condo on the Gulf of Mexico, and if I looked closely, I could almost see them, the ghosts of pirates. I could see them burying treasure, and if I tried real hard I could see a ship on the horizon, a ghost ship of one of the pirates of the gulf. Maybe not, but at least I could gaze out and see the same scene that they must have viewed as they buried their treasures in the lily white sands. Some historians say that the oldest residences along the gulf coast are descendants of pirates. The popular entertainer, Jimmy Buffet vows that he Is a descendant of the pirates since he was born and raised on the gulf coast. Maybe he is, maybe he’s not. Who’s to say? Let us travel back in time, way back and think about those enchanting fables of the pirates of the gulf. They were tales as tall as their ships. Stories of great sailing vessels and legends of treasures galore. The kind of stories that brings a thirst for adventure to your heart and perhaps even a tear to your eye. Tales of brave and daring pirates, and accounts of their perils that were often written in blood. Stories of notorious pirates with nothing but the wind in their sails and visions of doubloons and pieces of eight in their dreams. Tales of treasure, both hidden and lost. Four hundred years ago the brave Spanish explorers, known as the conquistadors, sailed the same seas that lie off the coast of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. They were explorers like Ponce De Leon who discovered and named Florida, Hernando de Soto and Herman Cortes who conquered the Mayans, the Incas and the Aztecs taking control of their enormous cashes of gold and silver, and precious gems, mostly plundered from the halls of Montezuma, the famed Aztec emperor. From the 1500s to the 1700s the Spanish colonized Mexico, and the gulf coast. Settlements like Tampa and Pensacola, Florida and San Padre Island, Texas. Thus began the golden era of the pirates of the gulf. These pirates preyed on the Spanish Galleons transporting their treasures back to Spain, and the Spanish merchant ships bringing goods to the American seaports on the Gulf of Mexico. Down through the years Hollywood has portrayed pirates with handsome actors like Errol Flynn, Burt Lancaster, and Johnny Depp, and glamorized their exploits. The fact is, more than likely their faces were pocked marked from small pox and yellow fever, and leathery brown seared by the scorching sun and hewn by the wrath of the relentless salty sea winds. Instead of dashing heroes, wielding swords, they were actually cut throat killers and blood thirsty robbers of the sea. Pirating was dangerous, and it is true that some had wooden peg legs, eye patches, and even hooks for a hand, for many sustained injuries and many lost their lives in their quest for treasures. The parrot thing, some say is a myth, but never the less very few of them were able to retire to the shade of a palm tree. Many were killed and some were hanged, but the pirates were the closest thing to the Navy Seals of their day. They could out fight, out shoot, and out sail anybody. Pirating was a lucrative profession even for the lowly deck hands, and their leaders amassed enormous fortunes, and yes it’s true they did bury their treasure. Those were the days before the Swiss bank accounts, and the only way they could protect their plunder was to hide it, and it was not uncommon for one pirate to steal from another. Millions of dollars worth of treasure was hidden, it’s whereabouts taken to the grave by the pirate who buried it. Some has been found, but most has not. It is written that often a treasure chest was brought to shore by a pirate and two deck hands, with the pirate returning to the ship in his row boat alone with a treasure map tucked away in his pocket. That’s why you see illustrations with skeletons with treasure chests. All historians agree that pirates never bought their ships, they stole them. Their ships were usually smaller and faster than the larger trade ships and Spanish galleons. Unfound treasures still remain deep beneath the surface of the gulf of Mexico in ship wrecks never discovered. Over the centuries thousands of ships have sunk to the bottom of the deep Gulf of Mexico. So remember, as you walk the alabaster sands of the gulf, looking for that pristine sea shell, a treasure may be right beneath your feet. Time after time pirates died or were killed before they could come back to retrieve their treasures. So far, all my books have chapters that deal with adventures at sea. My first book The Falcon Force has adventures involving The Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Pontchatrain in New Orleans. My second book, Command Plan, features some exciting episodes on Lake Michigan. My third book, Jack Slade and the Unreliable Witness, features Lake Tahoe and a fictitious lake in the Adirondacks My fourth book, Jack Slade the Psychic Detective is akin to a treasure hunt as Jack Slade’s psychic visions reveal little clues along the way. It’s the second book of a trilogy, and yes it has adventures on the water. My fifth book, Jack Slade The Last Vision is book three of the Jack Slade Trilogy. It begins with a harrowing experience on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, and ends with nail biting danger filled missions on the Louisiana Gulf coast and the Mississippi River near New Orleans.
CLICK ON LINK TO SEE ALL MY BOOKS https://www.amazon.com/C.-Smith/e/B00PG6UWK6/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1