The Bahamas are an archipelago roughly the size of California. They stretch from Palm Beach to Haiti – seven hundred islands and cays set within the world’s most breathtaking waters. Having achieved Independence from Britain in 1973, the country was finally in control of its destiny. But the islands quickly became the transit route for South American drug cartels seeking the rich markets of the U.S. With a skeletal security apparatus and poorly educated population, Bahamians were ill-equipped to cope with the anarchy that bled through their borders. Corruption became endemic at all levels of society and ordinary families were swept into the maelstrom. What happens when an entire country is addicted to the easy money of cocaine?
Salvage is set during the drug wars that ravaged the islands from 1978 – 1983. It’s about cocaine cartels, red neck dope runners and the ordinary Bahamians and Americans caught in between. It’s about the birth of modern Miami, the creation of the DEA and the CIA’s covert agenda in Central America. But at its heart, it’s the story of two brothers who picked a path through this chaos: Ben and Patrick Lawson. Third generation marine salvage operators who discovered a ditched drug plane and its ominous secret.
Unique to our show is the beauty and treachery of its world. Life in the out islands is both rustic and romantic: you must be inspired to live there yet resilient enough to survive. All our characters are based on real people who did just that: rejected conventional life and moved off-the-grid. They drink rain water, fish for their food and can fix just about anything. It’s these qualities that made them natural accomplices and adversaries to the drug traffickers.
Salvage is set in a tropical, analogue wild west – a time when cigarette boats met in the ocean armed only with a compass, a VHF radio and a chart. The physical and logistical processes which underpin drug smuggling are identical to those governing marine salvage. It’s about preparation and improvisation. It’s about life beyond the radar where split second decisions can make or break a mission. It’s about meticulous planning and adrenaline-fueled pay days.