Bear Adventures Pirates of the Caribbean (Part 1)

This is a tale of adventure, discovery, sand, sea and four little furry friends: Jerra-Mary, Keswick, Little Bear and S'Bastion.

It all started on a small island off Haiti in the Caribbean. Haiti is an old haunting ground of pirates like Captain Kidd, Blue Beard and especially Captain Morgan. The Four arrived after an arduous sail from Cuba, the land of song and dance.
They were sitting on a pile of conch shells watching the comings and goings into harbour when they heard an excited call from a diving boat that had just come in. "We've found it! We've found it!" the man cried. A small crowd gathered (after all, there weren't that many people staying on Île àVache at the time). The Four went over and overheard that the man was from a famous TV programme and had found Captain Morgan's ship. They had raised a cannon and now were going to search for treasure.

"That sounds a good idea!" said Jerra-Mary. "I'm sure there must be lots of treasure left by pirates in the Caribbean, we've just got to find it."

"How do we start?" queried Keswick.

At Île á Vache
"We've found Captain Morgan's cannon!"
"I'm not sure," replied Jerra-Mary, "but in most pirate books you have to have a map and on the map an X shows where the treasure is buried… we just have to find a map that's all!"

"We could also think like pirates," piped in Little Bear. "When we sail past the islands we can pretend to be pirates and chose the most likely spot for treasure."

S' Bastion, who was puzzled by all this talk of treasure, said "Why don't we ask the locals? If we want to get bananas we just ask the natives where to find them. Why can't we do the same for treasure?"

"Because treasure is secret," explained Little Bear.

"That's called Beef Island," informed Keswick.

The Four then decided that they would follow all the suggestions but the main task was to find somewhere to start. After a lovely stay in Haiti and carefully watching the exploits of the treasure hunters they set sail through the islands of the Caribbean, all the time keeping an eye open for a likely island to start their hunt. One morning in another favourite haunt of pirates, the British Virgin Islands, they were sailing past a small island. "That's called Beef Island," informed Keswick.

"What a funny name," mused S'Bastion.

"It got that name because pirates used to keep their cattle there," continued Keswick.

"There must be an island that's got treasure," exclaimed Little Bear who was growing impatient with treasure hunting after days with nothing remotely looking like a treasure island. "Look! Look at that one over there - it's got a lovely sandy beach, a forest and a small mountain. Let's try that one." The Four were eager in their search so launched the dinghy and headed for the island.

"Where do we start?" asked S'Bastion. "Let's split up," suggested Keswick, "and see what we can see."

Little Bear and S'Bastion went one way and Keswick and Jerra-Mary went another. "Why don't we ask a local native?" S'Bastion again suggested. Little Bear, who was kicking the sand in frustration after a hot walk through the trees, reluctantly agreed. "We'll ask the first native we see."

A little while later they came into a clearing. "Look at that big old tree," S'Bastion said. "Let's climb it and see if we can see anything from higher up." So up the tree they went (which was more fun than walking around the island).

"Well, shiver me timbers lads - what have we here?" rasped a nearby voice.

"Who said that?" exclaimed S'Bastion.

"'twas I" the voice replied.

"Who's I?"

"Let's try that island."

"Let's climb it," S'Bastion said.

Jim's the name

"Less of these questions, me laddie. Jim's the name," and a little head appeared around a large branch. Jim was a tiny anoline lizard and very forward considering his size. "Pray, tell me what brings you two salts to my island?"

"We're looking for treasure," replied S'Bastion. "Sshh!" hissed Little Bear who had clambered over towards Jim.

"Treasure? Treasure you say! Ah, now I knows a tale about treasure."

"See - I told you we had to ask a native" pitched in S'Bastion. "Sshh!" Little Bear repeated, "let's listen."

"All these islands aroun' 'ere were once covered in pirates. We had our own - his name was Black Jim. Yeah, that's right -I'm named after 'im. Well, Black Jim was a clever little pirate (being only a pigwidgin, he had to live by his wits). No big galleon had Black Jim - just a tiny scow. He used to creep out in the black of night with his motley crew and raid the other pirates' galleons when they stopped off on Beef Island over there." Jim gathered his breath and continued in a whisper, looking over his shoulder as he said… "One dark night a huge storm blew up and poor Black Jim was blown off course. Some say he still roams the Caribbean looking for his treasure; some say he was rescued up by Captain Morgan. We'll never know his fate…"
"What happened to his treasure?" Little Bear asked hopefully.

"It was buried under the crossed palm trees," Jim said offhandedly. "But you're too late - the treasure is long gone. It was dug up years ago."

"S'Bastion, Little Bear - where are you?" a call was heard. "Over here," called back Little Bear.

"You'll never guess what we've found!" cried Jerra-Mary excitedly. "Crossed palm trees! I bet there's treasure under them."

"Ahoy there, there're more of them! A more motley crew I've never met!" squeaked Jim.

"Who's that?" asked Keswick.

"Meet Jim. He's named after Black Jim, the famous pirate," introduced S'Bastion.

"Oh, I'm sorry," said Jerra-Mary, "I didn't mean to interrupt."

Jim blinked in acceptance and continued talking. "I've heard tell that Black Jim lives up a dismal river down island and is haunted by the pirate galleons of his victims. Well, it's been nice talking to you. The sun's high and not a time to be out or burn you will!" With that Jim turned on his tail and scuttled off.

"What happened to his treasure?" Little Bear asked hopefully.

"Crossed palm trees!" cried Jerra-Mary.

"What was all that about?" asked Keswick.

"Oh, just a native," replied S'Bastion. He then related their conversation. "Well, we were close. I did say that pirates bury there treasure under a cross," boasted Jerra-Mary.

The Four returned to their boat, pausing wistfully at the crossed palm trees on the way - and resolved to find treasure somewhere!