Museum displays treasures and curiosities from the sunken ship of the world’s richest pirate
THERE is an authenticity to the newly installed touring exhibit Real Pirates that is discernible the moment you walk into the Manitoba Museum. Buccaneers were thought to be a malodorous lot and Barry Clifford, the renowned underwater explorer, immediately recognizes the distinct but undefinable scent.
“It’s the smell of a pirate ship,” says Clifford, who in 1984 discovered the Whydah, the first documented pirate ship recovered from American waters. “When I go underwater into a ship with an anaerobic environment, you can actually smell — right through your face mask — human waste in the bottom of a ship after 300 or 400 years. These exhibits come from that environment.” So visitors to Real Pirates, which runs through April 19, will be treated to not only the sights and sounds of an 18th-century sailing ship that highseas raiders called home, but also the smell. The show — organized by National Geographic and Premier exhibitions — features 200 artifacts recovered from the wreck of the Whydah (pronounced WIDD-uh), which sank in a fierce storm off the coast of Cape Cod on April 26, 1717. On display is a dazzling array of cannons, pistols, knives, grenades, gambling tokens and the ship’s bell, along with a replica of the ship’s stern that can be boarded. Then there is the bona fide treasure chest, which is a must-see for anyone who ever pulled on an eye patch, picked up