Underwater Explorer Says He’s Being Prevented From Believed Columbus Discovery

A recreation of pirate treasure aboard the Whydah Galley. (Whydah Pirate Museum)

A recreation of pirate treasure aboard the Whydah Galley. (Whydah Pirate Museum)

YARMOUTH – Barry Clifford, the undersea explorer and owner of the Whydah Pirate Museum in Yarmouth, says he has evidence that indicates he found part of Christopher Columbus’s fleet that explored the Americas in 1492.

Clifford says in 2014 he found a particular type of cannon from the period, a lombard, in the exact spot where Columbus said the Santa Maria wrecked.

Clifford says he has been prevented from further excavating the site due to corruption in Haiti, where the wreck is located and international organizations such as UNESCO.


“The last thing they want there is Americans. The last thing they want is for an American or an American University,to discover the Santa Maria.”

Clifford went on to say that UNESCO takes advantage of the conditions in countries like Haiti.

“Haiti is a very poor country, it’s also very corrupt. So UNESCO goes to places like Haiti, goes to places like Madagascar, and they are able to do what they want to do.”

“It’s very, very complicated but these things need to be brought to light. ”

He says that anyone can now access the site and he worries the wreck will be destroyed by those looking for souvenirs.

Clifford’s claims about the find have been challenged by UNESCO, the organization says Clifford’s methods lack scientific credibility.

Clifford counters that the find has been validated by Dr. Charles Beaker, a University of Indiana professor who Clifford says is an expert in the field.

Clifford says he has also discovered the remains of Infamous Captain William Kidd’s Adventure Galley off the coast of Madagascar.

UNESCO has doubts about that find as well, saying a silver ingot offered by the explorer as proof of the find was actually 95% lead.

Clifford opened the Whydah museum this year, the pirate ship went down off the coast of Wellfleet in 1770.

Clifford made the discovery of Whydah, the first pirate ship wreck found in North America, in 1984.

By Rob Woodard, Capecod.com News Center