Deal 790: Diamonds off Krakatoa

“There’s treasure for the taking in the South Pacific, and I know how to find it.”

That seemed like an odd claim for a beggar on a street corner. But then, this is also a busy dockside, and folks wash ashore here from all corners of the world. Of course, the more interesting the come-on, the more likely there is a scam somewhere in the shadows behind it.

But as they say, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, so why not at least listen. So I say to him “Really, sir? Can you back that bold statement up with something tangible?”

“Of course, sir. Don’t let my present circumstances fool you. I was the purser aboard the Pinafore, which you might have heard in the papers went down with all hands shortly after passing through the Sunda Strait. What was not reported widely was the cargo, a large quantity of fine diamonds. A million carats of rough diamonds, in a thirty cartons each about a foot on a side.”

Well, the Pinafore was a famous ship after all, but it was famous in fiction not reality. If it had been real, it would have been a ship of the line, and not a cargo hauler. Of course, a cargo of half a year’s world production of rough diamond would have been an unusually valuable cargo.

“Come sir, you know you want to learn more. Invest in me now, and see returns beyond your wildest dreams when I return with the diamonds.”

No, the pitch was too well played. The offer too dependent on my acting on impulse, and containing no clear provision for mitigating my losses should he prove to be a fraud.

After a moment’s fancy of what owning a quarter of the world supply of diamond might mean to my personal fortunes, I came to my senses and moved on.


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