Netflix’s Pirate Gold of Adak Island is a docuseries that follows a group of treasure hunters trying to discover a long lost treasure on the titular island infested with World War II bombs.
The plot takes you to Adak, a remote island in Alaska which has seen people discover small portions of a hidden pirate treasure over the years. The collection of gold coins — estimated to be worth $365 Million — were buried there by a felonious seal poacher and pirate called Gregory Dwargstaf in 1892.
He used 150 food and milk tin cans to hide the loot when he was trying to evade the authorities. However, he was captured owing to a shipwreck and died in prison before he could ever return.
Fast forward over 40 years when the island was used as a base by America to attack Japan during the Second World War. During the base’s construction in 1943, a worker found a tin can with coins worth thousands of dollars.
Then in 1959, another can with $2.5 million dollars worth of gold was found by a member of a construction battalion of the US Navy’s Civil Engineering Corps, while building drainage. However, since Adak was an Army base, digging was prohibited till 1997, which is when all operations ended.
Now in 2022, the island with a population of just 45 people is on the brink of economic collapse. So, Mayor Thom Spitler has gathered a team of expert treasure hunters, to help the small town rise from the ashes of poverty.
The group comprising Dr M Jackson, Burke Mitchell, Jay Toomoth, Brian Weed and Spitler get down to business and look for the lost treasure as they only get paid if they manage to find it. Out of the total, they plan to use 95% for the Island and the remaining five to reward the team.
The catch? The island is riddled with unexploded bombs from WWII buried alongside the treasure and the team has limited time to carry out their expedition lest winter arrives and causes the land to freeze over.
Pirate Gold of Adak Island is a breath of fresh air when it comes to suspenseful documentaries and is a perfect balance between thrilling drama and meaningful revelations.
The series does not bait you in with false promises and manages to deliver a satisfying conclusion, which is quite exhilarating to get to.
The history associated with the treasure is fascinating and keeps you hooked to the screens. Even though there are eight episodes, they are on average just 30 minutes in length and fly by extremely quickly.
The cinematic shots of the picturesque island alongside the swift editing and intense music is the icing on the cake. The entire expedition is quite detailed.
The series uses its eight episodes judiciously to narrate the tale of the past alongside a very cautious yet entertaining treasure hunt.
There isn’t much to fault in the docuseries except perhaps that some things — like an explosion — do seem staged (they may not have been). However, if you consider the show’s overall narrative, such cinematic liberties can be overlooked.
Pirate Gold of Adak Island does demand a certain interest in history to catch your attention. It may seem slightly unimpressive to people who don’t care about important historical events from our past.
Pirate Gold of Adak Island is a must watch as it brings a fresh perspective to the concept of treasure hunting with added factors of urgency. It creates a perfect concoction of informative story telling and edge of the seat intensity.
You will especially binge it in one go if pirates, gold and World Wars are topics that colour your curiosity.