"What a stupid name for a pirate, Adam... I bet Captain Sharktooth never even existed. He was probably invented by the Cococosta Chamber Of Commerce," said Ed, grumbling.
"It's not a stupid name, it's awesome! And I never would have flown us halfway around the world unless I was fairly sure. Ed, have you ever heard how he got his name?" Adam asked.
"No. But you aren't going to let me out of this cab until I hear it, are you?" The other treasure hunter asked, as he watched the palm trees blur by.
"You know me so well," laughed Adam, as he opened a small paperback on the history of Cococosta.
It all started when Captain Becks was in a rowboat, headed towards the shore of an island in the south Pacific. He planned to investigate the caves in the bluff, while some of his crew took on fresh fruit and water.
"We need to learn as much as we can about this big world we live in, lads," said the captain. His black eyes glittered with excitement, as he gazed at the island.
"What does he think he is, some explorer? We're pirates, we don't need to know what's on every deserted island we come across," whispered an older man, his bald head gleaming.
The youngest of the group laughed loudly, earning him several glares.
"What's so funny, Pund?" asked Captain Becks.
"Just remembering a joke, Captain," he covered quickly.
When they were halfway between the ship and the shore, the older crewman's eyes widened. "Shark!" he shouted, right before the boat flipped over.
The Great White Shark capsized the little boat. Captain Becks was the only one who made it to shore.
By the time the small party was missed, the captain was waiting on the beach. Sitting beside the carcass of a huge shark, he had a nasty wound on his shoulder - complete with several deep punctures. Around his neck was a necklace of many shark teeth.
"I don't get it, Sams. The Captain won't say what happened out there. But he never takes that necklace off..."
"I think he went back out in the water after it, to avenge the crewmen it took, replied the other pirate.
"And forever after that, Captain Becks was known as Captain Sharktooth," Adam informed his longtime friend and partner as the cab pulled up beside the resort.
"That's very interesting, but even assuming that it's true, and Cococosta is the island from the story, it doesn't point to there being anything here of interest to us," he replied, but without as much emphasis.
"This isn't such a bad place to have a look at, treasure or not," thought Ed, as he gazed at his surroundings. The Olympic sized pool surrounded by bikini clad women beckoned.
"After he died, it's said that the first mate read his journal. Mostly to find out what really happened on those days he was missing. First mate Daniels said the Captain's journal indicated that he found gold coins, and a diamond bracelet in the shark's belly. And the items were indeed found amongst the Captain's belongings," replied Adam, interrupting Ed's thoughts.
"Then if the the treasure exists, it must be out in the deep sea. How are we going to find it?" asked Ed, curiously.
"Easy. That shark probably ate those things while they were still... attached?" Adam said, delicately avoiding the more important and obvious details.
"So? It didn't leave any directions back to where it found them," Ed pointed out.
"Maybe not, but we know when this particular shark died. So it stands to reason that the ship which contained the items sank before then."
"Ah!" replied Ed, as if a lightbulb had suddenly been switched on.
"Exactly. If we start looking for ships which sank around that time, it may very well lead us to one which had wealthy passengers. Perhaps even royalty!" exclaimed the ambitious treasure hunter.
"Then let's do it!" Ed agreed enthusiastically. "And I hope it takes a while..." he thought smiling, as he looked at what the Cococosta Resort had to offer.
One month later:
"Well this is the last one," Adam said as he pointed to a blank spot on the map, eighteen miles from land.
"We don't know that, there could be more shipwrecks. Ones that haven't been found yet," replied Ed.
"Unlikely. I've been keeping an eye on the sonar every time we went out for a dive, and haven't seen anything. Either it's there or I'm wrong. It's possible that the bracelet had been intended as a present, but never reached its destination," said Adam, doubtful of his instincts for the first time.
"Well, it's probably there then," Ed agreed. "I'm going to miss this place," he thought regretfully.
Bright and early, the two friends hired a charter. Soon they were submerged in another world. Tropical fish darted by, and in the distance a massive ray glided by majestically.
"I don't believe it. Nothing but decomposing spices, silks, and some pottery - mostly broken, but a few decent pieces..." Adam said, unable to hide his disappointment.
"It wasn't a total loss, each site had something worthwhile. We've more than covered expenses," Ed pointed out.
"True. I'll book our flight home when we get back," Adam replied somewhat sullenly.
"Oh. I'm staying two more days. I promised Senya that I'd take her to see the caves in the bluff tomorrow," Ed said, unable to control his grin.
"I'll stay too then. It wouldn't hurt to get some hiking in," admitted Adam. He had been wanting to climb Cococosta Peak, but never had the energy after a dive.
The next day, Ed escorted Senya out towards the caves in the bluff. "This should be a romantic spot," he thought happily, as he hefted a pack complete with champagne, caviar, and various other luxury food items.
"How about here?" asked Senya, as she looked at a particularly flat stone in the third cave they explored. It was cozy, just big enough for the two of them and the pack.
"Perfect. Let's get the sand off of that flat rock, and use it as a table," he suggested.
As the two of them began to brush the fine, heavy sand away an engraving was revealed.
"What's this?" Senya asked curiously.
"It looks like a map," Ed replied, suddenly very excited.
"That's a shark, down close to where the resort is now. And these dark dots are where we are. They represent the thousands of caves in the bluff. There's an X, up on Cococosta Peak. But why?" Ed asked, mostly thinking out loud.
"What does it mean?" asked Senya, completely forgetting lunch.
"I'm not sure yet, but I'll let you know when I find out," he promised. After he took many pictures of the map, they ate lunch.
"Hey, Adam! Mind if I tag along on your hike?" Ed asked grinning from ear to ear.
"Why? You hate hiking, especially when climbing is involved," Adam reminded his friend.
"Maybe, but I love finding treasure!" Ed exclaimed, and showed him the pictures.
"So old Captain Sharktooth didn't really find the treasure in the shark, but on land! It makes sense that he wouldn't write down the truth, in case his journal was ever stolen," Adam said thoughtfully.
"This is the spot," Ed panted, as the two men pushed through the almost impenetrable foliage. Over a kilometer from any trail, they would have been lost without the aid of the pictures, a compass, and GPS.
"A circle of boulders? This guy really liked his rocks," noted Adam.
They dug right in the middle of the circle, and sure enough hit metal about six feet down. Seconds later, they pulled up a very small chest, grinning like kids.
"It's unlocked!" Ed exclaimed, as he lifted the lid.
"If you are reading this, it means that I never reclaimed what is rightfully mine. Use it wisely.
"It's his journal - the real one! Full of the locations where he stashed his loot, all over the globe," Adam breathed in awe.
"Hey, this should keep us busy for a good long time," grinned Ed.
Cover image made in Canva Pro using their gallery