Blog 10/07/2022 - Jeff's Pirates Cove, Guam

Jeff’s Pirates Cove: A Place in a Tropical Paradise

                          By Ray Elliott

Let me tell you about a man and a place far away from the cornfields of the Midwest: Jeff Pleadwell and Jeff’s Pirates Cove at 111 Route 4, Ipan Talofofo, Guam. If you ever get to Guam, it’s one place you don’t want to miss.

The place and the area in that part of Guam has a history, and Jeff helps preserve that history at his Seaside Museum on the 22-acre Pirates Cove area just off the ocean. He is a transplanted mainlander who was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1948. His father was transferred to Guam in 1962 when Jeff was 14 years old.

The Pirates Cove spreads all along the beach and hosts about any kind of activity one can imagine. The last time I was there on the way to Iwo Jima for an annual “Reunion of Honor” ceremony commemorating the World War II battle with the Japanese, both Jeff and I were old and bearded, looking rode hard and put away wet.

He asked me to take a photo with him looking out of an old, nearby Togcha Japanese pill box, a defense fortification built on a limestone terrace with a gun port opening out the south wall toward the beach.

It was that photo that led to my learning that one of my former students, Celeste (Glende) Pleadwell, is married to Jeff’s son, Stephen. {Editor Note – Ray taught high school in Illinois & was an Adjunct Professor of Journalism at the University of Illinois} Small world. Jeff’s presence and greeting help make it even smaller.

“I always take great pride and feel honored meeting all our military tour participants,” Jeff said about his veteran visitors. “The World War II history here at JPC is excelled with the presence of the Iwo Jima anniversary visitors.”

Part of the history in that area is the story of Japanese Sergeant Yokoi (of the Imperial Japanese Army). From the Pirates Cove website at, you read that he was found nearby on Jan. 25, 1972, after hiding in the jungles of Guam for 28 years. His discovery was headline news worldwide. “The story of the lone man’s years of hiding and surviving with very little contact with ‘civilization’ captured the attention of the world. When Yokoi stepped out of Guam’s jungle, he stepped out from the silence of the Talofofo river valley not far from Jeff’s Pirates Cove into the jet age.”

Sergeant Yokoi was the lone survivor of three Japanese soldiers who evaded capture after the war. Yokoi went back to Japan, married and later returned to Guam several times, including visits to Jeff’s Pirates Cove for food and drink. He died in 1997.

The site that Jeff’s oasis sits on is very rich in history—even long before the war. According to the website, “It has been the purported mooring location for Malay Pirates back in the ‘old days’… and was also the site of an ancient Chamorro village, the indigenous islanders of Guam.”

Jeff left Guam after high school graduation in 1967, went to college and worked in the States until he returned in 1973. By 1976, he was the sales manager for radio station KATB. During his four years at the station, he purchased the old Pirates Cove (1959-1979) and renamed it Jeff’s Pirates Cove.

{Ed. – The Author on Guam} And that’s where I first met Jeff in 2005 during my first trip to Iwo Jima. On one of the bus tours around Guam, we stopped at Jeff’s Pirates Cove.

I’ve been there several times since and always look forward to the buffet lunch for the group in an open-air hut not far from the beach, going to the bar and gift shop, the museum, and just walking around enjoying the place.

Since the island of Iwo Jima (now Iwo To) was returned to the Japanese government in 1968 and finalized 25 years later, the Americans traveling with Military Historical Tours (MHT) were only allowed on the island for one day, so most of the time was spent on Guam touring the battle sites, attending a symposium with Iwo Jima veterans and historians talking about the battle, visiting another museum and enjoying free time in a tropical paradise before a banquet the night before heading back to the States.

Jeff was always around for the two-hour stop, talking and posing in pictures with the veterans, answering questions, and always being a pleasant host. Sometimes a two-hour stop there seemed far too short. But over the years, Jeff said he’d developed great friendships with many from the tours.

Once a general from Hawaii on the Iwo tour commented to Jeff: “Pirates Cove is the most peaceful place I have ever visited.” “That meant a lot to me,” Jeff said.

“Jeff’s place is a beautiful cove that really gives you a wonderful sense of the islands,” says Raul “Art” Sifuentes, {Ed. – In white shirt} a retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel, Vietnam veteran helicopter pilot and executive director of the Iwo Jima Association of America that travels to Iwo Jima each March for the “Reunion of Honor” with MHT.

“Jeff’s place is reflective of the wonderful hospitality of the Chamorros, the friendliness and easy-going island lifestyle and culture. The food and service are terrific, and Jeff makes himself visible to welcome all visitors … a pleasure indeed.”

No argument from anyone I know who has been there. John Powell, {Ed. – On the Iwo Jima airstrip filming Gunny R.Lee Ermey’s “Mail Call”}a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, Vietnam helicopter pilot and current President of MHT, is in complete agreement. “Jeff’s is not just a restaurant,” he said. “It is a mini historic site with WWII bunkers and a small museum. Besides the atmosphere and the friendliness, it has the best cheeseburger within 5,000 miles.

“It is worth the trip!”

Join the IJAA on Guam {Ed. – At the U.S. Marine Corps WWII War Dog Memorial on Big Navy, Guam}& Iwo Jima next March –