Meanwhile, aboard the Seahorse, Bradleigh Salterton had acquired a new parrot. Like many of his previous psittacines, the creature was an expert in their field. So much so that she liked to be known as " TV anthropologist/ archaeologist Dr Alice Roberts". Her field was often a very muddy one somewhere in Scotland full of bearded monosyllabic men who drink too much grog.
Which meant she fitted right in with the crew.
The dandyish Salterton however was less enamoured, whenever he came to her field in a new pair of silken britches he was accidentally covered by a shovel full of mud containing tiny fragments of skeleton and bits of an old plate. Dr Alice Roberts had no sympathy.
" A little mud won't hurt you" she sneered dismissively, whilst being very careful to have her own perch set up well clear of any active digs.
Bradleigh endured it because of "the scrap of paper. "
The scrap was part of a treasure map of an island in secret location only Salterton knew.
On the map you could see a large letter X and the some other words which were cut off by the paper rip so that all that remained were the letters "oons" , and "ure" which obviously were the ends of the words doubloons and treasure.
His problem had been that this scrap of paper was well known in the pirate community.
Eggbeatd, Blackbeard and Fakebeatd the female pirate, had spies following his every move.
He knew that they would follow him to the island and steal the treasure. So he had developed a plan.
It is a little known fact but pirates are rubbish at digging. As soon as they get started they are tempted away to sit on dead men's chests drinking rum and they have no care for the objects they dig up.
Bradleigh' s plan was to get his most loyal incompetents to dig on leeward of the island where the rival pirates would see them whilst on the windward side, the one on the broken piece of treasure map, Dr Roberts would lead her expert team , using geophys and other cunning archaeology devices on an all night dig to get the get the doubloons.
The watching crews of the pirate rivals, too lazy to dig themselves would let his crew dig a big hole and remove a cheap treasure chest with nothing in it before attacking at which point saltertons crew would flee to a nearby boat. But by this time Salterton, Roberts, the gang of archaeologists, the doubloons and treasure would be long gone.
The plan worked like a dream, The Seahorse had hardly left Okracoke Inlet before three not so mysterious sails appeared on the horizon in pursuit, hanging back long enough to see the crew disembark on the beach on the leeward side.
On the windward side saltertons glee increased as geophys located remains of a settlement!
"We believe there maybe both bronze age and Roman artefacts here" squawked an excited Dr Roberts.
Salterton wondered how many cummerbunds a piece of bronze age treasure could buy him.
At three am Dr Roberts flew over to him in triumph with what appeared to be a tiny decaying piece of wood.
"Look" she cried , you were right! There is an amazing trove here!"
Salterton peered at the object confusedly.
"Umm what is it ? " He enquired.
"Why it is the remains of a wooden amulet in very good condition, considering" cried professorial parrot.
"And has it any monetary value?"
"Well it's only worth a few pounds but it's priceless to the archaeological community"
Salterton looked at the archaeological community. They were dancing drunkenly in triumph in excitement at their physically unimpressive haul and singing obscure archaeology songs such as "yo-ho-ho and a bottle of mead".
"And what of the rest?" He enquired "the treasure and doubloons?".
"Oh" said Dr Roberts "most other signs of settlement decomposed in a large pile of manure that was buried with it. As was the custom for these pre Beltane people's."
Bradleigh had thought he could smell something! But decided it was just the normal smell of archaeologists.
"The only thing we did find were these quite delicious macaroons preserved perfectly for 2000 years!" Shouted Dr Roberts offering with her beak a rancid looking biscuit.
Bradleigh sunk to his knees. How could he have been so stupid. Not TreasURE and DoublOONS. But manURE and MacarOONS!!
He sailed back home with his subdued crew and the still drunk archaeologists who were still cheering about their amulet.
It was some weeks before he advertised for a new parrot.
Back on the island the rival pirates confusion increased when they found not only an empty chest but, on the windward side, a parrot buried up to it neck in manure with a macaroon that was way past it's sell by date, lodged in its beak.