Find a pirate’s sunken treasure at the Chautauqua book discussion March 23

Joey Madia
Joey Madia

Do you think finding a pirate’s sunken ship laden with gold and silver would be a wonderful adventure of diving into offshore waters and coming to the surface with armful after armful of treasure?

Ashland Chautauqua’s next virtual book discussion, 7 p.m. Thursday, March 23, will clarify the process of treasure hunting. Think first of trying to locate the ship on a rocky coast and under a rugged sea. Then think about the probable site being covered with 20 feet of underwater sand. Think about the expertise needed, the expensive equipment and the need to convince investors you really believe you can find the ship and retrieve the treasure.

The book, "Expedition Whydah: The Story of the World’s First Excavation of a Pirate Treasure Ship and the Man Who Found Her" by Barry Clifford, is the story of Clifford’s years-long quest to find the Whydah, the ship commanded by English-seaman-turned-pirate Samuel Bellamy. The Whydah sank in a storm off Cape Cod in 1717, reportedly filled with treasure. Bellamy died in the shipwreck.

Chautauqua scholar Joey Madia will lead the book discussion. Madia is new to Ashland Chautauqua, but is not new to the business of portraying a pirate. He will portray “Black Sam” Bellamy in person during the July week of Chautauqua performances.

It is not necessary to read the book, as Madia will summarize it. However, pre-registration for the free book discussion via Zoom is required through Eventbrite:

The Bellamy book discussion is the fourth in a series of five virtual book discussions based on the theme, “History’s Real Action Figures,” Ashland Chautauqua’s theme for the July 11-15 event.

The characters to be portrayed in first-person performances at Brookside Park this summer are Meriwether Lewis portrayed by Brian “Fox” Ellis, Jackie Cochran portrayed by Karen Vuranch, Pauli Murray portrayed by Becky Stone, Samuel Bellamy portrayed by Joey Madia and Harry Houdini, portrayed by Larry Bounds.

Each scholar also leads a virtual book discussion about their  character; held monthly through April. Visit for dates and book titles. Links are available on the website to view previous talks via YouTube.

This article originally appeared on Ashland Times Gazette: Chautauqua scholar to lead discussion on pirate ship, treasure hunt