While going through some of his dad’s things, Jason comes across a plastic box. On the bottom is an inscription: “Jack and Whit, Cove Cave, Bath, N.C.” Inside is an old gold coin. Jack can’t believe it — Whit actually kept one of them!
In a flashback, Jack tells Jason all about the summer when he and Whit were kids, vacationing in the historic little community of Bath, North Carolina. Whit’s Uncle Randy is the sheriff of the town. Whit and Jack sail up and down the coast of Pamlico Sound, exploring the area. One day, they come across a cave in the middle of a small cove. The cave is accessible at low tide, so the boys decide to explore it.
Inside, they have a series of scary and exciting adventures which lead them to a buried cache of Spanish doubloons — valuable gold coins! But as they look for more coins, they suddenly hear strange noises from further inside the cave. They turn, and coming straight toward them is what appears to be the ghost of Blackbeard the Pirate — who’s roaring that they have uncovered his treasure!
Whit and Jack run for their lives and head back to Uncle Randy’s office. He’s gone, but Whit checks some of his uncle’s books about rare coins. Whit is sure they have discovered Blackbeard’s lost treasure and is determined to go back to the cave. Jack thinks Whit’s crazy, considering their experience. Deputy Arnie shows up — and is quick to tease the boys about their wild imaginations, so they make excuses and leave. What the boys don’t know is that their entire conversation was overheard by Ewell Mosby, a lowlife who’d been jailed overnight for being drunk and disorderly. Deputy Arnie had thought Ewell had learned his lesson and set him free earlier.
Taking a shortcut from the library where they’d been doing further research, Whit and Jack bump into Ewell and his partner, Jocko. They grab the boys and force them to lead the way to the cave. On the way, Whit succeeds in scaring Jocko about the “ghost,” but Ewell won’t hear of it. Once inside the cave, Jocko ties Whit and Jack to the ground, where they’ll likely drown when the tide comes in! Whit tries to persuade Jocko that, the first chance Ewell gets, he will double-cross Jocko for the money. Jocko tries to ignore Whit’s warnings. Ewell and Jocko go into another part of the cave to look for the money.
While they’re gone, Whit uses a knife that fell out of Jocko’s pocket to cut himself free...but not before the “ghost” of Blackbeard can be heard in the hollows of the cave. Jocko and Ewell return and are terribly nervous about the sounds. Then the apparition appears, and Jocko and Ewell run for their lives — right into a cave wall, knocking themselves out cold. The “ghost” comes closer and closer and, rather than attack the boys, commands them to follow him. The “ghost” ties up Ewell and Jocko and leads Whit and Jack to safety.
Whit and Jack learn that the “ghost” is an old hermit who lives near the cave and uses a “Blackbeard” get-up to scare away trespassers. Even though the boys disobeyed by going into the cave, the hermit simply gives them a warning and allows them to keep some of the coins they’d found. Jack learns from Whit an important truth about having faith in something greater than legends and ghosts — a lesson worth far more than money.
- Should Whit and Jack have gone exploring in the cave?
- Why or why not?
- What did Whit mean when he said that he isn’t afraid of ghosts because he is a Christian?
- When was the last time you talked to a friend about Jesus?
- Sheriff Randy and Deputy Arnie from this episode are spoofs of the characters from The Andy Griffith Show, where the Sheriff is Andy and the Deputy is Barney.
- This episode was re-aired on August 6, 2016 as a commemoration of Alan Young (Jack Allen). This version included an introduction by Dave Arnold.
- This episode explains how both Whit and Jack were able to fund their respective college educations despite coming from relatively humble backgrounds. Whit likely also received tuition assistance from U.S. government due to his military service beforehand.