The Treasure of Calibishie

The Treasure of Calibishie

treasure of calibishie
The Treasure of Calibishie

Smoke rose from between my fingers, and I suppressed a cry of pain, as the golden doubloon smouldered and burnt into my closed palm.

Looking back, it all seemed like a dream or a scene out of a pirate movie. Treasure Island was one of my favourite stories as a child and I imagined myself as the young Jim Hawkins, but that was just an adventure novel, and this was real-life.

How did a mild-mannered accounting student come to be standing in a cave and in possession of a veritable King’s ransom in treasure? I still have trouble answering that myself, and coming to terms with it being cursed is even harder.

The most obvious place to start is at the very beginning…

I arrived at the Douglas-Charles airport on the northeastern side of the island of Dominica. This was a much-anticipated vacation and as soon as I alighted at this tropical island retreat I was sure I’d made the right decision. Collected my luggage I then boarded a shuttle bus to the seacliff cottage I’d reserved in the quiet fishing village of Calibishie.

The shuttle wound its way through the rainforest and past a mosaic of steep coastal cliffs. Multiple small waterfalls could be seen spilling over the slopes and crashing directly into the sea, and beautiful palm-fringed beaches completed the idyllic scene. If there was really a paradise on Earth, this would be it.

Arriving at my destination, I thanked the amicable driver and alighted the small bus with my luggage. After checking in and collecting my key from reception, I did a quick tour of my allotted cottage and immediate surroundings. Suitably impressed, I then crashed on the comfortable bed to rest after my long flight.

Wakefulness occurred sometime mid-afternoon and, donning shorts and a pair of sandals, made my way down to the nearest beach. Gentle waves lapped at the white sandy beach and I waved to the small number of others I encountered as I walked, smiling when some even returned the greeting.

Making my way across the sand to the base of the cliffs, I cast my eyes over the impressive expanse. Ridges and tracks were apparent that looked wide enough to walk along, and there were caves and crevices here and there. I couldn’t see what was behind the waterfalls, but when there was more time I would check that out… maybe tomorrow. For now, I just wanted to dive into the crystal clear waters and wash away what still remained of my jet lag.

Back at my cabin, I noticed the new addition of a local attractions flier on the wooden deck table. Flicking through to the dining experiences section, ‘The Escape Beach Bar and Grill’ caught my eye.

The best part was that it was located within walking distance. So, with my food and drinks sorted for the night I sat down with my diary and began an account of my first day in paradise.

The Escape Beach Bar and Grill

The Escape Beach Bar and Grill was your typical tropic oasis. It was verging on dark when I arrived but it was surrounded by palm trees and torches on bamboo poles lit the way to the entrance. I browsed the menu board as I sat down at the bar and ordered a Rum and Coke. It’s always a weird feeling – drinking alone, and if in that situation I find it best to sit at the bar. Ultimately, you will strike up a conversation with another patron as they order drinks, or at worst you have a captured audience in the bar person who is stuck there to answer your questions and humour your small-talk.

Fortunately, the barman, Joseph, wasn’t subjected to my ramblings for long before a particularly well-dressed man of dark complexion sat on the stool beside me. We soon began talking, introduced ourselves, and even shouted each other drinks … a few too many I venture to add.

The man told me his name was Ostin Rodriguez, and I offered my own, Shane Watson, in return. Soon I became enthralled by his conversation, much of which centred around the history of the island of Dominica, and of Calibishie village itself. He told me he was a native of the island but had only just returned after years of studying and working in England.

What intrigued me the most, however, was his revelation that this had once been a haven for pirates, as had many other locations throughout the Caribbean. He said the many secluded coves around the coast, particularly at Calibishie, where a coral reef offered additional protection, provided perfect places to moor their vessels. The numerous caves and grottoes in the red cliffs were also ideal hideouts from which to launch any land-based activities.

Being so enthralled by his tales, I even invited him to share a table and meal. My hunger pangs had kicked in telling me that I desperately needed to stop drinking and eat something instead.


I woke the next morning, my head throbbing slightly from my night of overindulgence. I poured a glass of water and popped a couple of paracetamol, then sat in the shade on the deck until my head cleared and I felt like embracing the day.

Ostin Rodriguez had been such an engaging character, and one particular story he told was embedded in my mind. He said locals had always been convinced there was still a pirate treasure in one of the caves or grottoes in the cliffs nearby. They say that many have looked, and some even found it, but those unfortunate souls had never been seen again.

Legend has it that this treasure belonged (or was the ill-gained proceeds of looting) to the English pirate known as ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham and that when he finally faced the hangman’s noose at Port Royal, he placed a curse on his treasure so that no one other than he would be ever able to retrieve it.

I was sure it was just imaginative folklore, especially the cursed treasure, but I have always been a sucker for swashbuckling pirate stories. If anything, it made me all the more determined to explore those cliffs … as soon as I felt up to it.

Let the Exploration Begin

Rising early the next morning. I was in competition with the Sun as to who could rise and shine first – let’s call it a draw. My dreams during the night had been filled with pirates or buccaneers and their buried treasures. I’d tossed and turned all night. The sooner I got this over and done with the better.

Stuffing my backpack with anything and everything I may need for a day of exploring –  water, protein bars, first aid kit, towel, and pocket knife, I locked the door and began my short trek down to the beach. About halfway there I heard a car approaching slowly from behind, but when I turned my head it sped up and shot past. I raised my hand to wave, but I doubt the driver saw. Just another early riser, I thought.

Arriving at the beach, I felt invigorated by the fresh morning air, and the walk had been downhill all the way so that was also a plus. It wasn’t long before I strolled across the sand towards the cliff face, scanning the craggy surface for caves and crevices worth exploring. There were tracks or ridges running semi-horizontally along the cliff face. Naturally eroded from weather and water over the years or worn into the rocks from regular foot traffic, I wasn’t sure – probably a bit of both, but I made my way left to right along one.

Most caves were shallow and I had to duck low to enter, but a couple were more substantial pushing 30 or 40 feet into the rock face. Big enough, I imagined, to provide a temporary hide-out for a pirate crew. At least for a couple of days. However, other than the odd empty drink can, cigarette packet or other rubbish, I found nothing of interest.

Time flies when you are having fun, or searching for treasure, and I was surprised when I looked at my watch and saw two hours had passed. On a couple of occasions, I had had the feeling of being watched, but that was just me being paranoid as, looking around, there wasn’t a single soul in the vicinity.

The tide had started to recede and that allowed me easy access to the base of the cliff where one of the waterfalls normally overflowed into the sea. I made my way there, and braving the falling water, pushed my way under the falls. To my surprise, there was a hollow opening behind it – or grotto of sorts. I stood there, dripping wet, but in awe and gazing around at the high, wide expanse I found myself in. The crashing water had completely blocked the entrance from view.

The Discovery

I was anxious to explore this hidden cavern, but first I’d take a short break and relax. Re-hydrate, and have a protein bar to restore some energy. Removing my backpack I sat down on a smooth, moss-covered rock. Funny though … this rock felt strange, somehow too flat and symmetrical. Then, standing up, I opened my pocket knife and began to scrape away some of the moss. This was no rock – it was wooden!

Intrigued, I increased my efforts and soon stared excitedly. I’d been sitting on an old weathered chest. Further to my surprise – it wasn’t even locked. I pried the latch open and tried to lift the lid. The hinges were rusted and it had obviously sat unopened for so long that the suction aided by the moist environment helped it remain sealed. After some struggle, however, it creaked open.

Wide-eyed and in disbelief, I just stared for a moment. Stories may be exciting, but most often they are just tall tales, growing and changing in intrigue as they are passed down the generations. But, this particular pirate story had been true. Standing right before me, was a chest full of treasure. Jewellery, pearls, silver goblets, and hundreds if not thousands of gold coins…Spanish doubloons, I imagine… filled it to the brim.

I knelt down and reached my hands inside. A veritable fortune ran through my fingers. I picked up one of the coins to examine it closer. One side bore the face of some king or queen, I couldn’t tell, but the year was clear 1708.

Suddenly, I gasped…

The Conclusion

Smoke rose from between my fingers, and I suppressed a cry of pain, as the golden doubloon smouldered and burnt into my closed palm.

And from behind me …

“Ah my friend, we meet again! I am glad you took my tales of pirates and their plunders seriously. You saved me much time and effort searching for it myself.”

I immediately recognized the mesmerizing voice of Ostin Rodriguez and turned around to see him pointing a gun in my direction.

Without pausing to think, my reflexes took over, and I tossed the red-hot doubloon straight at the face of my adversary. I had no doubt I’d hit the mark at close range either. My years as a star pitcher for my college baseball team had finally paid off .. in spades.

The doubloon scored a direct hit with Ostin’s right eye, embedding itself and making a sizzling sound. Suddenly, there was a distinct “POP!” and his eyeball exploded, oozing horrible blood and goo all over his cheek. The man screamed, clutching at his disfigured face, and dropping the gun in the process.

I wasn’t stopping to see the outcome, but grabbed my backpack and raced out of the grotto without looking back. Let him have the treasure. His story of the curse placed on it by Calico Jack Rackham was obviously real, whether he actually believed it or not. Well, he would now – if he got out alive. If I was thankful to Ostin Rodriguez for anything, it was for interrupting me.

A cruel thought caused me to grin. If he did get out of there alive, in future he’d be walking around looking like a modern-day pirate, probably with a patch covering the socket where his eye had once been. But I doubted his greed would have let him leave the treasure behind, or that the curse would allow him to remove it, so that was all conjecture.

I didn’t have a pirate treasure to make me an instant millionaire either, but I did at least have proof I found it. I took the phone out of my pocket and clicked on “photo album” – there it was, a crystal clear pic of the chest overflowing with treasure. That would surely add a nice touch of credibility to the pirate story I’d be telling my kids and grandkids.

John Hansen © 2022

Cursed Treasure


For creative stories like The Treasure of Calibishie, by this author see John Hansen on The Creative Exiles.

You can also find great works by John Hansen with the pen name of Jodah on HubPages.

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John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure. Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction, and thoroughly enjoying this, especially flash fiction. I have been fortunate to have two poems made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren. My services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials. It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years are now wonderful material for my stories and poems. I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

10 thoughts on “The Treasure of Calibishie

  • August 16, 2022 at 7:37 AM

    Wow, what a fantastic story, John. You did awesome with this. Do I see the beginnings of an adventure tale of a full-length novel? Just like the story above, it would be a wonderful read for all ages!

  • August 16, 2022 at 7:53 AM

    Hi Kurt, well that it the type of feedback any writer would love. I don’t try my hand at stories very often, but now and then I get the urge. This was one of those times. I don’t know if I could carry it through to a full-length novel though. I really appreciate your encouragement though, and glad you enjoyed it.

  • August 16, 2022 at 7:39 PM

    I agree with Kurt. This is a fantastic story. I was enthralled as you captured my full attention and interest. Well done, John, well done indeed!

  • August 17, 2022 at 3:43 AM

    Hello, Phyllis. Thank you so much for your kind comment. I am so glad I managed to capture your full attention with this story.

  • August 19, 2022 at 2:46 PM

    Yes…surely there are many more adventures for the mild-mannered accounting student and college star pitcher? I will wait patiently for more daring deeds from this young man you write of. Enjoyed your story of finding a hidden and cursed treasure, John…and wondering what might lie ahead in future stories from you?

  • August 19, 2022 at 10:26 PM

    Thank you Steve. I am glad you enjoyed this story and think the hero appealing enough to share further adventures with. Let’s see what happens.

  • August 29, 2022 at 11:49 AM

    You should continue writing short stories! This one was excellent.

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