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Pirates in Paradise 2007 - Key West, Fl

Chapter 5th - A full accounting of the sorry absence of Mercury's surgeon from the first battle; the complete tale of the battle in which the pyrates were repulsed (to say nothing of repulsive) as told by said surgeon who knew not at all what happened. The surgeon also discovers the pub, leading to an absurdly profound new understanding of his captors. Rum seems to do that.

November 30th, PM Now, about that battle which the trusty, reliable, compassionate ship's surgeon missed...it was like this...um... See, a wonderful fellow who goes by the name of Boo arrived Wednesday morning and set up up camp. His camp is really a sight too - he used bamboo poles for all of his equipment and has a neat little setup rife with details. Even the box to hide his cooler looks good. We got to talking, Boo and I, and he starts raving about the Cracked Conch on the island. Even though I am a 15 trip (or so) veteran of Key West, I had never had cracked conch. So I said to him, "Boo, next time you're going out for cracked conch, let me know because I want to try it."

Boo's campsite
Photo: William Red Wake
Boo's Cool Period Camp - note the bamboo poles and many details
Details of Boo's campsite
Photo: William Red Wake
Boo's camp chests. coconuts & details

Well, the day was a might slow and lazy and Boo suddenly looks up and says "Cracked conch!" It was about one in the afternoon according to my insulin pump clock, so I figured we would have plenty of time because the place he mentioned was right across the street from the wonderful Blue Heaven restaurant which is about two blocks from the road leading to the road leading to the encampment. We went by only to find the place closed. "I know another place in town," says Boo. Off we go to downtown Key West. Town is a further drive and parking there can be nightmarish. By the time we got our food and were seated, I had lost all track of time. My non-period-correct insulin pump with the clock has to be hidden under my garb, see?

Boo and I got to yarning and all thoughts of first battle flew from my head. Boo is a fascinating fellow. Those of you who read my email success newsletter will learn a great deal more about him because I think he's done some fascinating things. His philosophy is essentially, 'If you have to live a full life, you have to try new things.' Boo showed up at the site this year all by himself. His wife was coming in to meet him tomorrow night. He had never done a pirate period tent encampment, yet he created the amazing setup you see above.

Anyhow, you can already guess what happened, right? The only Mercury ship's surgeon missed the battle because he was having lunch. On top of everything else, my pump clock slips alarmingly given the fact that it is supposed to be a precise medical instrument. According to it, we arrived back at the fort 2:15pm. The battle was scheduled for 2:30. (Or possibly 2:00 - on top of everything else, I heard conflicting stories. See how this all went?) Bloody pirates - where are the ship's bells?

So that's what actually and honestly happened. (Don't believe a word that Silkie McDonough or Quartermaster William tells you on the topic. Lies. Dammed lies.)

Harry firing the cannon at the tourists on the fort wall
Photo: Tony Callahan
The battle was apparently brief. We had one small cannon and several black powder guns against an unruly mob of settlers (and tourists) at the fort. In fact, I understand that they had to recruit a few rogue pirates into the group inside the fort because the Redcoats Local Key West 4077th were off on a training mission or some such. I'm told (for I, naturally, only saw it as we were driving up) that the pirates outside the fort kept charging and, despite an incredible amount of shooting and cannon fire, sustained no wounds until Edward O'Keefe pointed this oddity out. So QM William said that wherever Captain Sterling (who was in the fort - turncoat!) aimed, that person should fall down. Unfortunately the captain appeared to aim at a group of them (or so they thought) and five people fell to her single shot. Now that's some fine shooting!

Left: Gunner Harry Smid (who works for the fort) fires upon his charge. (No tourists were wounded in the making of this photo.)

The pirate's battle line in the field
Photo: Tony Callahan
The cannon going off and the pirates reloading...or something. The Schooner Wolf offers ocean-side support.

Silkie ministering to the wounded while the pirates confer
Photo: Tony Callahan
Silkie had to pitch in as temporary ship's surgeon as myself was not there as explained. (For which I received a wicked tongue-lashing and had to hear about for the rest of the weekend. However, I did have a good lunch. You should all try cracked conch - just not during the POORLY SCHEDULED battle ;) ). Haunting Lily was supposed to be assisting...I think...but decided instead to roll the wounded, searching through their pockets. Bloody pirates! When I actually gained the field, all the dead had miraculously been healed. I guess it was something in the water that Silkie used.

Left:Angel of mercy Silkie ministers the wounded, while the pirates dither.

December 1st,2007 The Wee Small Hours Oyyyy....I've had far too much rum this night. (Fyne single-malt rum what I obtained for Haunting Lily and Edward O'Keefe, only to pass it 'round to all me new mates from the Mercury.) I've only just arrived in and if the misspellings flow freely...well, be understanding of this sorry pyrate. We (QM William, Haunting Lily, Edward O'Keefe and I) got back from dinner at Abondanza's where the waitress was the same as at Blue Heaven this morning and what called out to your humble ship's surgeon. Lily assured me that she was sweet on me, but I demurred. Your own ship's surgeon (or the Mercury's own ship's surgeon) is saving 'imself for his second marriage. or something.

Mission in front of a lantern
Photo: William Red Wake
We went to the Pyrat Pub in the fort and...folks...you have to see it to believe it. The Pirates Of The Caribbean set for Tortuga (Aye, Tortuga!) has nothing on this. It was like being in the Pirate's own tavern - complete with singing, dancing and revelry far beyond what you think it might be. Your Mercury's sawbones, Mission, found his own self joining in the singing, much against his upbringing. The mood, the candle lighting, the singing and the noise compelled one to join in (see me at left). It was truly amazing and it was truly incredible. The sights, sounds, smells and drink had to be experienced. It was like being transplanted right into the pyrate era. Wish you were here, if only to see how it probably was.

The Bone Island Buccaneers sing in the tavern
Photo: Tony Callahan
A group of pub singers entertaining everyone with sea shanties.
People gathered in the tavern Doorway to the den of thieves...the Pub!

Silkie and Lily Alexander drinking mead
Photo: William Red Wake
We then repaired to the Mercury camp where several further bottles of rum were abolished. I had a rather lengthy discussion with Patrick and some people from the Tortuga -pirates by the name of Weird Beard< and Leatherback and some other well-met fellow. Weird Beard sold me a mug and told me the tale of the glass bottomed tankard. He also included a draught of spiced rum which I readily accepted. The frivolity lasted until... sometime before now. Then your poor ship's surgeon found his vision swimming and his gait listing and headed for his hotel room. Water's all around; belay that hangover.

Right: Silkie and Haunting Lily toasting the night at camp.

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