Real pirates are bad guys. We all know that, right? So why are we so fascinated with pirates in popular culture? Modern Hollywood pirates are swashbuckling rogues... (What does that phrase mean exactly? And why do we always use it to describe these guys?) They are made out to be more rebels and adventurers than historically-accurate cruel pariahs, kind of a nice image of freedom and independence if you spend your days in a windowless cubicle, or are under about 10 years old.
Anyway, we’ve also fallen prey to pirate-mania while we’ve been here, and options seem to be everywhere. We went for a New Year’s Eve party sail with the singing, storytelling, Disney-style pirates on the Black Raven on our dock. And for contrast, we visited a fantasticmuseum here totally devoted to real pirate history. I was particularly fascinated to learn about several women who dressed as men and ran away to sea...and had pirate careers. We picked up a few books from our local used book store and did some reading on the internet. Our curiosity grew until several weeks later we signed up for – get this – swordfightinglessons with local pirate photographer Tiger Lee.
Special note to our families who read this blog: We’ve learned about Sir Frances Drake’sand Francisco Menendez' privateering activities here in St Augustine; and learned that the infamous Blackbeard hung out in the North Carolina waters that we’ll pass through on our way back to Annapolis this spring. But don’t worry about us running into modern pirates on the waters of the ICW along the way, okay? (Except maybe at the gas pump!) The swordfighting lessons are just about getting into the spirit and being a bit goofy and a unique form of exercise.
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More photos on Life Afloat’s Facebook page!