Yo ho, yo ho! Pirate booty arrives in San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Yo ho, yo ho! Pirate booty arrives in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Ahoy matey -- treasures from an authentic pirate ship are coming to Balboa Park.

The San Diego Natural History Museum is opening "Real Pirates" exhibit complete with artifacts from a shipwreck off the U.S. coast.

A pirate ship named the Whydah went down in 1717 off the coast of Cape Cod in a nasty storm. It was thought that its treasure was lost forever, but in 1984 it was found and some of that treasure will be on display in San Diego starting Saturday.

The Whydah was originally a slave ship that was captured by Pirate Captain "Black Sam" Bellamy, who went on to plunder valuables from over 50 other ships before dying with most of his men in that storm.

"So it really is a cross section of the world at that time during the golden age of piracy during the 1700s, so we have gold from Africa, we have pieces from England," exhibit spokeswoman Theresa Costas said.

You'll be able to actually touch treasure last touched by real pirates. Also on display will be weapons, grenades, canons and guns. You'll also learn about life on the ship, like the surgeon who amputated without antibiotics or anesthesia. And there's the story of 11-year-old John King, the youngest known pirate on record. On display, his leather shoe and a fragment of his leg bone.

"It's the first time the exhibition has ever been on display on the West Coast," Costas said.

For that you can thank Barry Clifford, who spent 20 years looking for the Whydah before finally finding it buried under about 30 feet of sand.

"A lot of people considered it just a bedtime story, but not Barry. He knew something was out there right off the coast," Costas said.

Most of the pieces have been found in concretions. Sometimes x-rays can reveal what's hiding, but it usually takes years to free what's trapped inside. And even tough it's been 30 years, Barry is still pulling new items up from the ocean's floor. About 200 artifacts are on display in San Diego.

The "Real Pirates" exhibit will be here through Labor Day weekend.

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