Pirates are the dinosaurs of the sea. They’re vicious, ferocious, badasses and we’re generally very happy they don’t still roam the Earth. But it’s fun to think about them in their violent prime. Which is what what makes the reality show Caribbean Pirate Treasure so addictive. Starring Philippe Cousteau (grandson of Jacques Cousteau) and his wife, Ashlan, each episode rehashes the bloody history of pirates, searches for modern-day treasure, and taking viewers into the real-life adventure under the water where ships wrecked and treasure was left.
One of the best episodes in the second season takes us back to 1681, where the Spanish Captain Bartholomew Sharp found himself off the coast of Ecuador, being chased by a crew of pirates out to get his gold. He tried to evade them and ran aground on the small island of Santa Clara. With the pirates bearing down, the captain burned the ship to the ground (Spanish protocol) and fled to the land to bury the gold. The pirates caught up with them and he and his crew of over 300 were murdered in cold blood. Needless to say, this place came to be known as “dead man’s island.” Cool, right?
In the show, the Cousteaus get the permits and set off into the rough waters to see what they can find and that’s when tensions rise. The pair have to deal with modern day pirates (they hire a fully armed naval unit to keep them safe), dangerous currents, and a crumbling island that may or may not be full of gold. But, there’s high stakes here, and a payoff for everyone in the family — actually honest-to-god treasure, history lessons, and real-deal adventures.
Think of this show as the antidote to the latest installment of Pirates of the Caribbean movie — that vacuous swaggering piece of eye candy that does not justice to how very real, violent, and scary pirates were in history. Johnny Depp isn’t giving us real pirates no more than Jurassic World gives us real dinosaurs. And for this reason, Caribbean Pirate Treasure is worth introducing to the family. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire everyone to go out on a Caribbean vacation and find out that, yes, X really does mark the spot.
Photo from Travel Channel’s Caribbean Pirate Treasure.