Englishman James Headley signs on as second mate on the whaling ship Falcon in 1836. En route from Australia to the northern whaling grounds, the ship is hit hard and damaged by a typhoon, but it manages to limp into the Pohnpei Harbor. While the Falcon is undergoing repairs, Headley falls in love with an island princess. When the ship gets underway again, just as it is about to clear the harbor, it runs aground on a hidden reef. The captain and four crew members are killed by savage islanders, but Headley manages to escape to the safety of his princess’ tribe.
In the years that follow, Headley finds himself working as a respected harbor pilot, a general store owner, and a mediator between missionaries, local chiefs, and a group of outlaws hiding on Pohnpei. The group of outlaws has grown to include men who have deserted their ships or are escaping from prisons, all of whom are taking advantage of the local islanders. One such rascal, Captain “Black Heart” Hart decides to kill the entire male population of Ngatik to seize the treasured tortoise shell and ravish the island’s females.
Based loosely upon a true story, The Royal Headley of Pohnpei follows the chaotic life and times of a charismatic adventurer!