Talking pirates with Discovery’s “Expedition Unknown” (before the pandemic)

At the end of August, long before the new coronavirus infected its first human, I was in Paris talking with Josh Gates, host of Discovery Channel’s “Expedition Unknown” about the pirate Olivier La Bous and the legend of his treasure. Our interview was filmed at the city’s Museum of Freemasonry, which is also the center of the order in France, with numerous temples in the basement.

The episode — “The Fortune of the Buzzard” (S8:E6) — premiered here in the US on March 11th, re–aired Sunday, and is available for streaming via your cable provider if you follow this link. Hope it brings some lighthearted respite to your family’s bunker.

Was great fun hanging out with Gates — who has very much the same personality when the cameras

aren’t rolling as when the are — and to share the story of one of the subjects of my history of the great Caribbean pirate gang, The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down. A couple caveats from our hours-long shoot that wound up on the proverbial cutting room floor: (a) the legend of the cipher, necklace and the gallows is a great story, but makes absolutely no sense when you think about it and; (b) if La Bous’s treasure is out there, I think the environs of his former Madagascar hideout would be the place to look.

For those with an unhealthy interest in pirates like La Bous, I’m also a proponent of the theory that he — not Sam Bellamy — came to Machias in 1718 before continuing on to raid ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, one I sketched out a few years ago for the Portland Press Herald.

My last pirate-related television production appearance was alongside Hilary Duff, of all people, on a dock in Bath, North Carolina, talking about Blackbeard for TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”