Expedition Week (2011– )
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Ben Franklin's Pirate Fleet 

A shipwreck is discovered off the coast of Wales by a team of archaeologists and divers. Could it be one of Ben Franklin's Revolutionary Pirate Fleet?


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Episode credited cast:
Everett Howell ...
Prisoner & Franklin's Assistant
Molly Larsen
Alastair Lumsden
Aaron May ...
Himself / Narrator
William Myers
Celeste M. Sherry
Jack Sherry ...
Ben Franklin
Roger Tilling ...


Join the Deeptrek excavation team as they scour the Irish Sea for groundbreaking evidence of Benjamin Franklin's controversial navy in the America's Pirate Fleet. He may be celebrated as one of America's great statesman, but Benjamin Franklin had a lesser-known role in the American Revolution: as director of a cut-throat fleet of ruthless privateers. Tasked with capturing British merchant prisoners to exchange for US captives rotting in English jails, this rag-tag band of hired rogues terrorized the busy shipping channels of the British Isles. But their activities were, unsurprisingly, risky - and some of the specially commissioned ships never made it back to port. With local legend telling of a sunken vessel off the Welsh island of Holyhead, expedition leader Jay Usher and marine archaeologist Jim Sinclair and their team hope to unearth conclusive proof that the lost ship was the Black Prince. Early dives confirm the presence of an 18th-century wreck but, faced with violent seas and ... Written by National Geographic

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6 April 2011 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Wow...those divers were a bit nuts!
19 February 2013 | by See all my reviews

The show is about an expedition looking for one of the American privateer ships sunk off the Welsh coast during the Revolutionary War. Much of the show is a history lesson where they explain Ben Franklin's role in this rag-tag navy--along with historical re-enactors pretending to be these characters. The rest is the expedition looking for one particular wreck--showing their work and the artifacts they recover.

Because I am a scuba diver, I had a greater appreciation for this National Geographic show. It's because the diving conditions that this team are up against are TOUGH. The water is REALLY cold on the Welsh coast (even in summer) and the men are forced to use dry suits. But what really made this a bit crazy was that the shipwreck was up against a sea wall--and the current is, at times, smashing them up against the rocks. And, to top it off, the visibility isn't particularly good. It sure makes me feel blessed to be living here in Florida--and other divers will likely marvel at the conditions under which these folks worked.

While I enjoyed this show, one serious weakness is that there are a lot of COULDS and MIGHTS. In other words, much of the data doesn't conclusively prove anything...just that it COULD be one of Franklin's ships. And, despite the show talking about 'compelling evidence', it isn't. Because of this, the show might have been better to focus more on the historical background than the shipwreck itself. Mildly interesting but not exactly convincing in its conclusions.

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