This Wednesday, April 26, marks the 300th anniversary of the sinking of Black Sam Bellamy’s ship, Whydah Gally, which went down in a sudden, violent storm off Cap Cod in 1717.
Whydah was a slave ship on the triangle trade when Bellamy captured her off Bermuda. They’d already had a successful tour of the Caribbean, and now the pirates had a big ship. They cleared the top deck of the captain’s cabin and other obstacles that made her top heavy, added 10 guns and sailed up the coast of the colonies, taking prizes as they went.
A fairly romantic story about Bellamy diverting the ship from its destination in Maine so that he could visit the woman he loved, for whom he’d gone on the account in the first place (although it might have been the wine they’d captured,), brought them off the cape and right into the face of a fierce storm. The ship capsized, and all but two of her crew went down, taking a legendary treasure with them.
Her fame was cemented in 1984 when treasure hunter Barry Clifford found her. The more than 200,000 artifacts that were brought up aren’t just about treasure – although it’s hard for a pirate NOT to get excited by the sight of thousands of Spanish gold doubloons. (Thousands, I say!) The artifacts tell the story about the real lives, the day-to-day activities of men on the account, real people. The artifacts are the centerpiece of both the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth, MA, and a traveling museum exhibition, “Real Pirates,” sponsored by the National Geographic Society.
Cap’n Slappy and I were fortunate enough to see the exhibition when it was in Philadelphia in 2008. We’d been hired to provide entertainment during the opening weekend of “Real Pirates” at the Franklin Institute. It was a gorgeous display and if it comes anywhere near your town, by all means go.
The Whydah Pirate Museum will be holding an event Wednesday through Saturday.
“It’s obviously a very important day for us,” Clifford said in a report on CapeCod.com. “It commemorates the sinking of the Whydah, not that it’s a celebration, but it’s a time to think back on who these people really were.”
At the very least, for the pirate community it’s a day to reflect, and to raise a glass in memory of the the brethren.
April 23, 2017
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
As those who follow us on Facebook, know, Cap’n Slappy has a new look. He underwent bariatric surgery last week and is recovering nicely. As he said, “I’m home and feeling much better! I’m not sure if I will ever desire food again – but I’m home.”
One of the common after-effects of the bariatric surgery is a thinning of the hair. Since his theme for the previous year has been, “taking control,” he decided not to wait for his hair to fall out. Instead, he took matters into his own hands – well, a professional hair cutters hand’s actually – and took it down to the scalp.
For those who have shaved their heads at any time (and that includes all four members of the Talk Like a Pirate Day crew, although not at the same time) one of the side benefits is learning that your skull isn’t some weird, misshapen thing, but actually looks OK. And that’s certainly true of Slappy, as you can see in the pictures taken by Jezebel the Web Wench.
We’re all wishing Cap’n Slappy well and know that, while he make himself a lesser size, he’ll never be less of a man.
March 22, 2017
I’ve Cleared the Deck – Now You Fill It!
(March 5, 2017) What does Danielle Sampson have that you don’t? Plans, that’s what! Danielle was the first to write in this year with plans for an event celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day in 2017.
If you glance at the map below, you’ll see that it’s pretty empty at the moment. That’s because until now it’s been showing the hundreds of events around the world celebrating the holiday LAST YEAR! Well that wasn’t very helpful, now was it?
So when I got Danielle’s message informing me of plans for a festival Sept. 15-17 in St. Peter all the way up in New Brunswick, I got busy. I spent a good chunk of my morning deleting almost everything from last year, left just a couple of items I knew were planned for this year (and I admit it, at least one I missed. I’ll go back and get it later.) and added the new one that came in this morning’s mail.
Now it’s up to you! We know that there are going to be parties, library activities, school events and even festivals all over the map again this year. Let us know what you’ve got planned by sending me an email at email@example.com, and I will post ’em up just as quick as I can. (Which I admit isn’t all that quick, I’m still getting the hang of this.)
Because between you, me and the parrot, the map is looking kind of sparse right now. It’s up to you to fill it.
Mardi Gras! Pirates Hit the Quarter!
(Feb. 13, 2017) Tuesday, Feb. 28, Ol’ Chumbucket and Mad Sally (that’s me and my lovely bride, Tori) will join with the NOLA Krewe of Pirates to storm through the French Quarter. It can only mean one thing – Mardi Gras!
I thought I knew what a party was. I thought I knew about carnival, I thought I knew what bacchanalia meant. Then I took part in my first Mardi Gras and learned that I didn’t have the first idea. You really can’t explain it. You just have to experience it.
Everywhere else in the world it’ll be Tuesday. In New Orleans, it’s Mardi Gras! The best strolling party you’ve ever been to and barely remember.
Then, about month from now, I’ll be part of NOLA Pyrate Week activities at Algiers Point, on the west bank. At 2 p.m. March 25 I’ll read from “Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter” at Warren’s Corner, 601 Patterson. in Algiers, LA. It’s part of storytelling stage that runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (And needless to say, all of the participating authors – myself included – will have books for sale.) And this is all part of the Family Pirate Day in Algiers, which will include musical performances, a pirate market and cafe, games, and treasure hunting. The fun is scheduled to start 8 a.m.
(And just a side note – our pals, The Whiskey Bay Rovers, will also be taking part! It’ll be good to see – and hear – the lads again.)
So that’s what we’ve got in store, and there’s other plans in the works that’ll make this year another grand, piratey adventure.
Plan to Party Like a Pirate in 2017
(Jan. 3, 2017) Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket want to wish everyone a happy new year. There’s plenty of freebooter fun coming in 2017 and we hope we get a chance to run into you on the road.
Right now, winter has laid its icy grip across most of the country. In much of the land, ports are ice-locked and pirate hearts mostly hibernating as we await the spring thaw. But not in Florida.
Here’s a date for you to scribble into your calendar. If you can get to either of these on Jan. 28, more power to you. You’ll have a grand time.
The first is one of the big ones, Gasparilla, in Tampa on the gulf side of the state. It’s one of the biggest pirate festivals in the U.S., featuring the country’s third longest parade, which draws more than 300,000 to the streets to watch. In all, about a million people are estimated to take part in at least one Gasparilla-related event.
On a smaller scale but deeply piratical, up the coast on the Atlantic side the St. Augustine Swashbucklers will be holding the Old City Pirate Festival that same weekend, Jan. 27 and 28. St. Augustine is the oldest European-settled city in the U.S. and a great site for a festival. The streets of the old city have rung to the boots of some of the legendary pirates, and at the end of January you can add yours to the list.
I’ll have my nose to the grindstone, working on a new book I’ll be excited to share with our fans, but I plan to come up for air Feb. 28 when Mardi Gras rolls into New Orleans. The rest of the world calls it Tuesday – we call it, “The best strolling party you’ve ever been to and barely remember.”
And I’m tentatively scheduled for a road trip March 11 to take part in the Savannah Quill Book Convention in Savannah. We’ll be planning at least one or two other stops on the road to and from the Georgia Coast, so keep your ears open for word of pirates!
And there’s definitely planning going on for getting out there and partying with the brethren throughout the year. We’ll let you know what’s going on as soon as we do!
Win a Signed Copy of ‘Chrissie’
(Dec. 1, 2016) News for my friends who are on Goodreads: Starting Thursday you have a chance to win a signed copy of “Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter.” For the next three weeks Goodreads is hosting a giveaway of four copies of my young-adult adventure pirate adventure novel.
If you’re interested and haven’t signed up or just want to check it, you can go to Goodreads.com.
One of the things they have at Goodreads is giveaways. With three clicks, Goodreads members can sign up to win books offered by authors. The winners are randomly chosen by Goodreads. And from Nov. 18 to Dec. 8, you can enter to win one of four autographed copies of “Chrissie.” When it goes online I’ll post the link.
Give the Gift of Adventure this Holiday Season
(November 2016) If you want to give the gift of adventure this holiday season, check out my young-adult swashbuckling novel “Chrissie Warren” Pirate Hunter.” You can order a copy autographed by the author (me) online at Big Cartel.
Big Cartel is at http://tinyurl.com/nu5ajsz
Make sure when you check out that you use the “Notes to Seller” tab on the checkout page to tell me who you want the autograph made out to. Otherwise I’ll put a generic signature. If you’re giving it as a gift, make sure you tell me the person’s name. The “Notes to Seller” tab is at the end of the payment section – not where I’d have put it, but they didn’t ask me.
You can also find the book (not autographed) in both paper and ebook at Amazon and all the other usual places.
And don’t forget, with the holidays close upon us, you want to make sure you have a copy of “Pirate Santa.” With a story by our own Cap’n Slappy and our pal Clay “Talderoy” Clement and terrific art work by Jun Alvarado, it’s a must have for the pirates at the holiday season. You can order it at:
John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur
Review: Mason’s ‘Pirate Party’ Rocks Corsair Classics
(Oct. 25, 2016) How many versions do think have been recorded of “Drunken Sailor?” Of “Blow the Man Down,” “Haul Away Joe” or “Bully in the Alley?” It’s a rare pirate band that doesn’t have at least one of them – or all of them – on their playlists and CDs. And there are a lot of good pirate bands out there, a lot of recordings.
So if you’re a pirate musician, how do you do something different with it? How do you make your version distinctive?
If you’re Tom Mason, it’s not a problem. Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers have a new CD out, and it’s a must-add to anyone’s collection of pirate music. The album is aptly titled “Pirate Party.” It fits. This is the disc you’ll put on when you gather the brethren for a bacchanal. It’s a lot of fun.
Thanks for Spreadin’ the Word!
(Sept. 20, 2016) Another Talk Like a Pirate Day has come and gone and a great time was had by all. The crew at what we call Team Pirate – Cap’n Slappy, Ol’ Chumbucket, Mad Sally and Jezebel the Web Wench are once again delighted – along with surprised, shocked, awed and, yes, bumfuzzled! – that this idea we had has taken root all around the world with millions of people. It’s the people – all of you – that makes this day, this whole movement, so fun for us. And don’t think for a second we don’t appreciate it.
So thank you all for spreadin’ the word – and the word is “Aarrr!”