Friday, February 22, 2008

It's hard to be a pirate in the winter

I haven't been posted very often. It's hard to feel piraty when it is snowing outside and the temperature is in the single digits. You think of pirates in the Caribbean where it is always warm. Some pirates did have to put up with northern waters and storms.

The Pilgrims had the worst of some pirates. Shortly after the first Thanksgiving, the ship the Fortune arrived with new colonists and a demand for profit from the investors. They were upset that the Mayflower had been sent back empty. The fact that half the colony was busy dying at the time made no difference to them.

The Pilgrims quickly filled the Fortune with lumber which was in demand because of a timber shortage. The ship arrived in November and was filled in a few weeks so it must have been sailing back in the December-January time frame.

Unfortunately for the Pilgrims and their investors, the ship was seized by pirates off of France and the cargo stolen.

Then there was Bellamy and the Whydah. They crashed in a storm on April 26 off of Cape Cod. It would have been warmer than it is outside my window right now but it would have seemed cold to them. The waters off of Cape Cod are cool in the middle of the Summer. In mid-spring they must have been very chilly.

I know that there were lots more pirates but that's enough to make me feel better about a long, cold Winter.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Get Fuzzy and PoTC

Get Fuzzy mentions the Vasa here and here.

It's a warship, not a pirate ship, but it is a historic ship.

Which sank shortly after it was launched.

In Pirates III (At Worlds End), Jack realizes that they need to escape Davy Jones's Locker by turning the Black Pearl upside down at sunset. He does this by running back and forth on the deck. The others join him and Barbossa cuts loose the cannons so that they can roll back and forth, also.

The captain of the Vasa did something similar before the ship was launched. Thirty men run back and forth across the deck. The ship began to rock after only three passes. They quickly stopped for fear of sinking the ship.

When the Vasa was officially launched a gust of wind caught it and pushed it over. The cannon ports were open in preparation for firing a salute. Water poured in the ports and the ship sank. Many of the crew including the captain were killed.

The inquest into the sinking was a tricky thing. The real problem lay in the design but the king, Gustavus Adolphus, had been involved in the design and questioning any decision of the king was considered punishable.