Welcome to the Mountain Pirate Website!

This site is devoted to news, literature, photos and other information on modern day treasure hunting/diving, famous ships, not so famous ships, pirate history and more.

For the past 30+ years I have roamed the mountains of Western North Carolina in search of the treasures they contain. Rubies, sapphires, emeralds, gold, old coins, Civil War artifacts. During those years, I have also been a biker, truck driver, police officer, writer, publisher and boat enthusiast, restoring a variety of old boats with my son R.J. from the 50s, 60s and 70s. In 2006, my friend and fellow treasure hunter, Jerry Fortenberry, introduced me to the world of fossil and artifact diving. He intrigued me with the giant shark teeth and artifacts he was recovering from the black depths of the Cooper River in South Carolina. One artifact he found was a pirate pipe, which got me interested in the pirates that used to frequent these waters.

From the late 17th century into the mid 18th century, many famous pirates operated on the waters between the new colonies of the Americas down through the Caribbean. Their home base was Nassau, Bahamas, but they often visited the Atlantic coastal waters of North and South Carolina up to Boston and New England. Pirates (Blackbeard and his crew) blockaded the Charleston Harbor, raiding merchant ships for any treasure they may have held. The 1715 Spanish Fleet was sunk during a hurricane off the Florida coast and pillaged by the pirates of the time. Treasure divers continue to find gold and silver from these wrecks today. Many battles were fought off our coast between pirates and their enemies, the governments of England, France and Spain, and the merchant slave traders en route from Africa with cargos of slaves and other valuables. Many times, the pirates would free the slaves and offer them a position on their crew with an equal share of the booty for equal work. A much better deal for them than a life of slavery on a plantation. A pirates life was rough, but they lived a life of freedom, rum and treasure. They wanted freedom from the oppressive, tyrannical governments of the time who held the rich in high regard and treated the poor no better than livestock. To achieve their goal, it sometimes led to brutality and "crime" on the high seas. But the one thing that the pirates had that the rest of the world seemed to be lacking, was democracy. On a pirate ship, everyone had a vote, everyone was equal and shared in the treasures they plundered. Imagine that, a society where all who earned respect, got it from their leaders. There are few who can say they have not at least thought of a life like that. I know I do every day.

Today, those of us who strive to live a life of "Modern Pirates" go by many names; Explorer, Adventurer, Rockhound, Treasure Hunter, Metal Detector, Fossil Diver. But at heart, many of us still hold that spirit of the past pirates. For me, there could be no better life than sitting on my boat at the end of a long day of treasure diving, having a drink with my woman (I mean Sandy, "woman" is pirate talk!) Anchored out offshore watching the sunset while pouring through piles of fossil bones and artifacts recovered during the days dives. Who knows, you might even find a pipe, or musket that was once owned by Blackbeard or Charles Vane or Black Sam Bellamy or any number of other pirates that inhabited our waters. You might find a cannon ball that had ripped through the hull of an English Frigate that was attempting to ward off these pirates. Even if you find nothing that day, you still found freedom, and that is worth more than anything.

~Richard J. Jacquot