Henry Morgan

Signs Your Cruise Ship is actually a Pirate Ship

You may think you’ve signed on for a fantastic cruise in the Caribbean, but you may be in for the surprise of your life.

My wife and I recently booked a Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean and were shocked when, at the last minute, it was canceled. Whoever heard of a cruise being canceled where hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake? In all fairness, the cruise company refunded our money along with some malarkey about renovations, but I think a whole lot more than that was going on. Just between you and me, and please don’t tell anyone this, because I don’t want it to get around, but I think it had a whole lot to do with pirates and less to do with making a ship looking good for a bunch of tourists, most of whom are half in the bag for seven straight days.

Think about it before you take another sip of your rum. Our ship was supposed to be travelling in the Caribbean. The Caribbean! The epicenter of piracy during the Golden Age of Piracy. I’ve studied this topic pretty intensely, so it’s hard to pull the wool over my eyes. Maybe an eyepatch but not wool. Let me put it this way. The spirit of Blackbeard and his kind is alive and well in the Caribbean. If you doubt that, you obviously haven’t been to a Jimmy Buffett concert or heard his song, A Pirate Looks at Forty.

At the risk of betraying my brothers under the black flag, I’m going to say no more. What I will do is give you a list of thirty signs that the next cruise ship you sign up for may not really be a cruise ship at all. You can do your homework, but sometimes that just isn’t enough. My wife and I know that firsthand.

  1. Your travel agent’s name is Black Bart Jr. or Black Sam Bellamy.
  2. Crew members refer to passengers as Scurvy Dogs.
  3. The navigator of the ship uses a treasure map instead of navigational equipment to set the ship’s course.
  4. All the crew members finish their sentences with, “Aarrrgh!”
  5. Pirates are constantly doing cannonballs in the swimming pool.
  6. Every itinerary ends up the same way. On a desert island with you and a shovel, digging for treasure while 50 pirates look on, sipping rum.
  7. Half the crew members have one leg. The other half wear an eye patch. And the other half have a hook. {And before ya go correctin’ me math, quit yer bellyachin’ because I gave ya an extra fifty percent. It’s the pirate way!)
  8. If you’re awakened every morning by the thunder of cannons, it’s a good bet you’re not on yer typical cruise ship.

 

  1. The black flag flying from the topmast is another good sign yer not gettin’ a normal cruise experience.
  2. When your ship pulls into a foreign port, instead of receiving a hearty welcome, everybody’s firing cannonballs at ya.
  3. No matter what drink you order at the bar, ye always get rum.
  4. The ship’s dress code is pirate-casual. For the uninformed of you, that’s wearing the same t-shirt you had on last month complete with stains from every dinner ya ate.
  5. Instead of presenting you with a menu, the head waiter wears a shirt with stains from all the meals of the last cruise. To order, all ya have to do is point to the appropriate glob.
  6. Your bed is a hammock stretched out next to 2,000 other hammocks.
  7. Bathroom facilities are at the very fore of the ship where a single seat with a round hole perches over the sea. Magazines are considered amenities so expect to pay extra.
  8. If you sign up for a deck activity and find yourself swabbing it, you need to have a little talk with yer travel agent.

 

  1. If ya still think yer on a pirate ship, see if ye have a Sail and Swipe card. If not, then yer going to have to pay with pieces-of-eight or doubloons. Lacking that, everything’s going to cost ya an arm or a leg.
  2. On the upside, every itinerary includes three visits to Port Royal, “the wickedest city on earth.” Tell ‘em Captain Morgan sent ya.
  3. Every night, it’s always the same movie, Pirates of the Caribbean.
  4. Normal cruise directors don’t wear a tricorn hat and wave a sword wildly at the passengers. Ya could complain, but it’s going to be a long swim back to port.
  5. Unlike real cruise ships where they’ll confiscate any rum you smuggle on board, a pirate crew will regale you as a hero.
  6. But be forewarned, mate. If you smuggle deodorant on board, expect to be clapped in chains.
  7. On a pirate ship, be prepared to swap omelets and bacon for grog and hardtack. That’s a dried piece of bread that’s had the life baked out of it. Any weevils that crawl out of it are complimentary.

 

  1. There is no art for sale on a pirate ship. But don’t be surprised if you find things in your luggage being auctioned off.
  2. Instead of attending mandatory muster where everyone is taught how to abandon ship in an emergency, passengers are taught how to dodge flying cannon balls.
  3. When you win a trivia game, you get a choice between a shot of rum and a little booty.
  4. Your beverage package consists of light rum, dark rum, and ale. In fact, it consists of anything except water. With all the disgusting things fish do in it, pirates aren’t taking any chances.
  5. There are no slot machines on board a pirate ship, but there are dice and card games run by dealers with a hook. But don’t try to cheat. The next hand that’s dealt might be yer own.
  6. Real cruise ships have deck chairs, so if you have to sit with 14 others on a Dead Man’s Chest, you’re probably not on the Celebrity or the Carnival.
  7. Finally, remember the galley doubles as the infirmary, and the cook moonlights as the ship’s doctor. And they don’t accept Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

That’s it, folks. If you’re planning a cruise in the near future. I suggest you pay close attention to this list. And if you talk to Black Bart, tell him the Uncommon Mariner sent you! Maybe I’ll be seeing ya out there on the high seas. And remember me motto: A little booty, a little rum, and me saucy wench make for a lot of fun.  Aarrrgggh!

                       Bill Hegerich

                      The Uncommon Mariner

 

What experience have you had with pirate ships or cruise ships? Go to https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/signs-your-cruise-ship-is-actually-a-pirate-ship/ and tell me about it.

Buried Treasure

 

Treasure Chests come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. What does yours look like?

Treasure Chests come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. What does yours look like?

When I was a kid, I remember a small tin chest not more than four inches wide and a couple inches high. It was shaped like a pirate’s chest with a sturdy metal handle on the top and a hole underneath large enough to slip coins into. The metallic blacks, blues, and browns beckoned this six-year old to a fascinating world of pirates with Captain Kidd’s own name inscribed on the front of the chest.

Looking back, a pirate bank seems counterintuitive. Pirates were the last ones you’d expect to save money though Henry Morgan did and purchased several estates in Jamaica. Not bad for a pirate, mon!

I guess there was more pirate in that six-year old than I realized. I never managed to save more than a few coins at a time, and while rum and wenches didn’t call my name, packages of baseball cards with bubblegum inside did. I can think of a whole lot of pirates that would be proud of me because of my spendthrift ways.

Our piggy banks have changed over the years. There’s still the common pig- mostly see-through glass or plaster of Paris. I have two myself; one large and one small, both are painted blue.

I don’t know if kids still use piggy banks these days. From the looks of the shelves in the dollar stores, there seems to be one for every kid in America with plenty to spare.

But somehow I think most kids and their parents have grown too sophisticated for them. Now there are gift cards in denominations of twenty to a hundred dollars, and it’s not much fun to stare at a gift card lying indolently at the bottom of a piggy bank. It is fun, however, to see a few single coins grow from a tiny miniscule lump to an impressive mountain of change.

I never took a poll, but had I asked the hundreds of buccaneers and pirates that sailed the Seven Seas, I bet my best tricorn hat that ninety-nine percent of them would laugh at me if I asked if they ever buried treasure. “You think wenches and rum come free, you bloat?” they’d likely sneer.

Still I can’t help but think of Henry Morgan who actually buried the treasure he stole at Nombre de Dios. Spanish ships chased his ships away while he was off plundering in the jungles of Central America. When he discovered his predicament, he hastily buried the booty then rowed several hours till he caught up with his ships.

My wife never had that problem, but she does keep her treasure in a chest of sorts. I’d use the word booty, but some you with lurid minds would get the wrong idea. Her booty is in a tall glass jar, not something you could bury very easily. She often wonders why it doesn’t fill up faster till I remind her that if she didn’t plunder it as fast as Henry Morgan raided the Spanish Main, it might be brimming over.

While few pirates ever buried their treasure, I can assure you there were some. Even today part of William Kidd’s treasure is still the target of many a treasure hunt. And that’s a good thing because my grandchildren Luke and Nora buried treasure in my garden last year. We drew a pirate map up to make sure it was official.

I’m taking an informal poll, and I’d like to ask you two questions. Have you ever buried treasure? Hiding money under a rug or in a book counts! At the very least, do you have a piggy bank or chest where you store extra booty.

You’ll have to excuse me, but I hear someone digging out back. It might be a neighbor or it might be a professional treasure hunter. Word gets around.  I’ve got to grab my tricorn hat and sword and check it out. I’ll be back next week.

In the meantime, if you want to read a little more about treasure, you might enjoy reading “What’s in Your Treasure Chest?” Find it at  https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/whats-in-your-treasure-chest/                                    .

                Bill Hegerich

               The Uncommon Mariner

 

If you’d like to respond, please click on https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/buried-treasure/

 

 

April Fool’s Day… Pirate Style

Warning!!! Child in Adult's Body. Expect the Unexpected!!!

Though it’s hard to trace the origin of April Fool’s Day, it’s a safe bet it’s not going to go away any time soon. I’d bet my last piece of eight it’s  been around for as long as pirates, but I know I’d lose. Just look at the old Greek saying: “When God created the sea, he created pirates.” Now that’s longevity for you.

Did you ever wonder though what it would be like to play an April Fool’s Day prank on a pirate? I suspect it wouldn’t be a very bright idea. And that’s something I would bet my last piece of eight on.

Imagine the surprise pirates might have when they dig for a treasure chest under the hot Caribbean sun, and you finally shout as sweat drips from their faces and necks onto their broad shoulders, “April Fools!” Imagine how many pieces thirty angry pirates can cut you into.

Or imagine some polliwog bringing a jar of termites aboard ship and letting them run up and down a shipmate’s wooden leg as he awakens to you shouting “April Fool!” I bet that prankster would feel like a bigger fool after he’s stripped and tarred with molasses then marooned on a flea-infested island.

It’s not that pirates didn’t have a sense of humor. They often put on little skits to while away their time. Some of these referred to dancing the hempen jig. For the uninitiated, that’s pirate lingo for hanging at the end of a rope. They all chuckled at the prospect, knowing full well that if they stayed in the business long enough, that’s exactly how they were going to end their days.

And I pity the fool who would dare spike a shipmate’s rum with salt water. “April Fool!” he shouts as the victim spits out what was once a perfectly good dram of rum. I bet a day lashed to the main mast without a drop to drink might show the scalawag the error of his ways.

Pirates were rarely a sophisticated lot so they weren’t beyond crude jokes, but I just can’t imagine the saltiest of them laughing off a tack on their seat after a hard day of pillaging and plundering. “You think that’s funny?” the victim snorts? “No, this is funny!” he fumes as he pulls his cutlass from his scabbard and shows the prankster the true meaning of being half-assed. Continue reading →