Buccaneers, swashbucklers, pirates, privateers ...
They all sailed "the
Spanish Main" during the days of frigates and sloops, brigs, schooners
The heyday of the buccaneers was from circa 1650-1725 when working
either individually or in great pirate fleets out of strongholds like Port Royal
Jamaica, they raided as far north as Canada and as far
south as Brazil and equatorial Africa. Their targets of choice were not only
Spanish treasure galleons and rich merchant vessels but also coastal towns and
cities in Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and the many small but valuable islands of
the Greater and Lesser Antilles chains of the Caribbean Sea. Though mainly a 17th
and 18th century phenomenon, piracy in the Caribbean did have a brief
resurgence around 1820 before disappearing.
Some swashbucklers operated legally, by commission, in time of war such as
the privateers (private vessels licensed by their government with a "letter of
marque" to prey upon enemy commerce) which abounded during the naval wars
of the 1600s, the American
Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. Others were entirely outside the
law. Still others moved in and out of legality with ease as the circumstances
They were Englishmen, Scotsmen, Welshmen, Dutchmen,
Frenchmen, Spaniards, Portuguese, Danes, Americans, Indians and Africans. Some
were loyal to their king, some to their fellow buccaneers and some only to
themselves. Some had impeccable manners, some were implacable thugs. Now and
again they would gather and celebrate the success of a great raid from which
all returned laden with booty.
But in 2008 it was all in good fun with We Make History's
annual Buccaneers' Ball!
Yohoho... Avast there matey... Pieces of eight,
pieces of eight... Dance a proper jig or walk the plank. Booty for all
and plunder a'plenty. Shiver me timbers and boarders away... A r r r r ...
We look forward to seeing you shipboard again next year ....
Click here for
2007 Buccaneers' Ball
2006 Buccaneers' Ball
2005 Buccaneers' Ball
Message in a Bottle
ye gentle seafarers, ye make-believe rogues & rascals, ye dreamy eyed
landlubbers, ye fashion pirates all...
sailed the seas together. Hailin' from many a' port 'twas the haven o'
Prescott we shared as destination as "X" marked the spot for ye Buccaneers'
colourful crew signed on - and not a one wi' the grievous shout o'
"Shanghaied!" Nay, we was willing accomplices in merriment and dance.
crew from many nations paid tribute to Noah "The First Seafarin' Captain of
all", his sons Shem, Ham & Japheth, their Merry Wives and ye crew of animals
- Elephants, Giraffes, Gorillas, Icelandic Ponies and all.
Inspired by the antics of dodgin' roundshot on the quarterdeck durin' the
heat of battle a new dance was inspired that many swear will replace the jig
on ye piratical pop-charts. They calls it the Buccaneers' TWIST.
yer winds be steady, yer charts be accurate and ye ships' bottoms be free o'
Cap'n Scott o' The Scarlet Coat
gathering is on land rather than sea.
See you in the Highlands!
would like to thank you for the lovely “Buccaneers” picnic. Coming down the
mountain we were praising the Lord for blessing us with such an enjoyable
afternoon. We appreciated every moment of it. The fellowship was very good
and the weather surely cooperated. What a nice time. We came back refreshed.
The children had a lot to tell me about the Ball. Though I was not there, I
have had lots of pleasure just hearing the account of it. The Balls have
become a beautiful tradition for our family. Every ball seems to be nicer
than the previous one. It amazes me how you can come up with so much nice
new ideas every time. Hats off to you. Arrrrrrrrrr!!!
Once again, thank you so much for being a blessing to us and many others, we
really appreciate you and all you do. May The Lord bless you and your
before have we been surrounded by more merrier pirates than that of the 2008
Buccaneer Ball. My crew of 5 found the dancing to be quite lively. Shiver
me timbers, we kept the punch bowl gals busy that hot night! We humbly
thank you for a joyous evening.
Respectfully (as a pirate can get),
Sailin’ from Litchfield Park
Dearest Dread Cap'n Scott,
Ye sure do know 'ow t' throw a party! Thank ye fer all yer hospitality, an'
a tip of me cock'd hat t' Bahama Becky 'n The Plankwalkers for an' evenin' a
lively music fer dancin'! Me beautiful lady guest tells me she much enjoyed
hers'lf an' caugh' on t' th' dances righ' away. I so enjoy dancin' wit'
her! An I am thankful fer her understandin' tha' I need to be a gentleman
A case 'n point: durin' a waltz, I spotted a wee lady all alone. Well, I
raced 'cross the floor, bowed t' her, an' led her in somethin' resemblin' a
minuet up 'n down th' ballroom floor. She smiled all through 't, a very
God Bless Ye And All Our Best Mates!
May Ye Sail Forever In Favorable Winds... Under The Captain Of All!
Your Friend And Humble Servant,
Capt. Bartholomew Burgundy
Ahoy Captain Scott - I had a magnificent time at the Buccaneers’ Ball with
all of your splendid guests!
Pirates! Privateers! Corsairs! Buccaneers!
They're all forming a boarding partyin Prescott with
We Make History
-- and throwing in a few twists.
As Recalled By Captain Bartholomew Burgundy
EDITOR'S NOTE: Earlier in the log of the Wayward Star, Captain
Burgundy notes his supplies of ink and parchment are running low,
undoubtedly from a long hunt for Spanish vessels. This explains the
following entry from his adventures in Prescott, which appears to be a
collection of highlights rather than a conventional narrative. Once again, I
have labored to preserve his native English dialect.
21 June, The Year Of Our Lord 1708
Me companion for th' evenin' ganders h'self in the great mirror. She be th'
terror of th' Pacific, Buccaneer Jane (which, I tell ye, be not her real
name, shoul' this log evah fall into 'th hands of me enemies, 'specially th'
"Do I look intimidating?" she says of her black attire.
"Wi' that pistol," I say, "ye intimidatin' no matter how ye look!"
* * *
Dred Cap'n Scott once again' declares there be a truce 'mong us. No
But, however, he be enactin' a new rule. He 'as learned many of us are quite
adroit a' dodgin' cannonballs with this' move call th' Twist. So t' keep us
ready f' battle, anytime someone cries, "Twist!" all of us be twistin'.
All hands on deck! The good Cap'n recognizes us all by th' countries of our
home ports -- including th' French, th' Italians, th' Span'yids (avast!), th'
Russians, an' the Japanese, but he be a bit puzzled when I stan' wi' the
"I thought you would be with the French," he observes 'a me.
"Froinch?" I wonder. Me poppa, maybe. Ah' heah' rumours 'bout me surname,
how Poppa was' nevah born into some fam'ly of esteem, but rather, developed
a peculiah taste for fine spirits ovah th' course of sev'ral raids, spurnin'
th' rum completely. Thus 'is crew, in a bit of indignatious jest, dubbed him
When ye' called to jig, ye jig! Step lively into th' circle when' the good
Cap'n calls ye out!
"All wearing red!"
"All wearing black!"
"All wearing feathers!"
"All from England!"
Wha' was tha'? Wha' was th' order? The music of Bahama Becky an' The
Plankwalkers be fillin' th' spacious hall an' drownin' out th' good Cap'n.
Or maybe it be saltwater in me ears?
At leas' I hear the' call fer a broadside. All join 'ands and rush the'
"YAARRRR!" we cry as we storm into th' middle. A pity fer ou' beloved photo
artist Jack Tar. We nearly run 'im down twice!
* * *
anythin' worth doin' once is worth repeatin, even a year apart. So how happy
I was to once again' dance th' Pirate Polka: slidin' an' slappin' an' tappin'
an' clappin' and shakin' fingers an laughin' wi' the ladies as we mix 'round
in a circle. I admit, it fulfills me ulterior motive to dance wi' every lady
a' the ball. I don' wan' to bail out on me lady friend, savvy, bu' I have my
Speakin' a such, I insist on dressin in me finest t' impress me lady Buc,
but alas the winds be not in our favor, an' th' savage heat of th' desert
withers me through my coat. I be grat'ful for the windmakin' devices and the
gen'rous grog, along with the concern of me companion, who notes time 'an
again that I got' to be burnin' up. She and I stand together before th' fan'
But finally, th' sweat and scourage of th' temperature forces me t' do wha'
many've ye would consider ungentlemanly: shed me coat. I feel a bi' odd
dancin' about wi' me weskit plain as day. Th' ladies, Bless Them, don' think
Ev'ry year, we pay tribute t' Noah, tha' first sailor, remem'brin 'is
adventures wi' a ship fulla animals... oh, an' three sons who had to help
repopulate th' earth. An' me crew thinks they're busy!
We pick 'ot someone t' represent Noah, prefer'bly with t' beard 'an all
like. An' he chooses a wife. An' we need 'is three sons, Japeth, Shem, an'
Ham. So ou' Noah follows orders from the Dread Cap'n and chooses two young
lads fer Japeth and Shem. An' he chooses a youn'-a'-heart one fer Ham. That
be your humble cap'n.
Now his sons nee' wives. So now the' pick from th' fine ladies of th' party.
Ye think fer a minute I'd choose anybody besides Buccaneer Jane? Didn' I
tell ye she carried a pistol? An' everyon' else -- they be th' animals!
So wi' th' family all togeth'r, standin' at th' front of the crowd, we all
pay honour wi' a shanty, recounting Noah's righteousness 'n triumph throu'
th' great flood, 'till 'e released th' dove an' discovered th' waters be
recedin', an' everythin' could begin again' anew. Land ahoy!
* * *
Ye up for a game of ninepin? Nay, not bowlin' -- the dance, me mates!
Ere's how't goes, more'r less: Ye take four couples standin' in a square,
an' then ye add one more person 'n the middle called the ninepin. So then th'
couples go back and forth with the ninepin standin' there, dancin' around th'
ninepin. And then one person from each couple dances wi' the ninepin 'n a
circle 'til they get the call to break off and find a partner to swing. If
ye ain' quick, ye get left with no partner an' ye end up as th' ninepin.
I remember dancin' this 'n schoo' as a wee one, yet I 'adnin't learned th'
part about endin' up as th' ninepin if I didn' swing some'un quick enough.
They all laughed 'a me as they danced 'round me.
Yet now, ev'ryone wants to be th' ninepin -- includin' meself! Me dancin'
mates intentionally don't find somebody t' swing, an' they offer t' take
turns bein' danced around, as if t'were a dance 'n their honour. Most of th'
ninepins stan' in place. But I dance a jig, 'appy to be th' centre of
An' I adore gettin' trapped by me mates when we play "Catch The Pirate."
The Dred Cap'n feels 't necessary t' honour a few more brave bucs. He sings
a shor' shanty of an Irishman who sailed t' Portugal, where 'e found 'is
true love. An' now they 'ave a brave and lively son, an' a beatiful an'
graceful daughter. Ah, dubloons and pieces 'f eigh' be not th' only
An' a few of us be puttin' candles on th' cake this month an' next. What do
we do wi' em? Make 'em walk th' plank? Nay. Keelhaul them? Maybe 'in some
primitive time, aye, but not this evenin'. Twist? Aye, a little. But we join
hands' an' dance aroun' them -- singin' "Fer they're such jolly good fellas!"
It seems not a lot 'f us be havin' birthdays 'n June or July. I wond'r why.
Maybe ye not up for a polka or a refin' country dance. But if ye can't danc'
a jig, how 'in blazes can ye call yeself a sailor?
Buccaneer Jane an' I 'ave the pleasure 'a bein' the firs' t' demonstrate it.
Ye really don' need t' be fancy with ye' feet, jus' lively. Some like ta'
hop about 'n point their toes, an' some jus' hop about. It doesn't mattah a
wee bit as long as ye have somethin' of a rhythm 'bout ye. But ye better
hope ye 'ave enough stamina to go a few rounds until some'un kindly cuts in
on ye', meanin' tappin' ye on the back wi' a hand so ye c'n bow out
gracefully. I mus' admit, 'tis bettah th'n the method I seen in some taverns
of ill repute 'n me travels, where ye might get a tap on th' neck wi' a
An' gents, just as ye got t' do ye duty in askin' a lady to dance, ye also
got to thow 'er the rope when she be in distress. A couple of ladies dance
an' dance so sprightly, they nearly lose th' wind in their fair sails!
Lookin' at 'em, ye might be fooled inta thinkin' they're not to be
disturbed. But, they be overflowin' wi relief when another cuts in t'
"Oh, thank ye," I heard one gasp.
Speakin' for meself, I keep losin' the wind. But, I couldn' let 't show
around th' ladies. So I jig on and on, throwin me hands up into th' air an'
shufflin' me feet. If I be dyin' on this' floor tonight, I shall die kickin'
and screamin' for joy! Hizzah!
Th' Dred Cap'n be delighted! Such a knowledg'ble crew! He offers plunder in
exchange fer piratical facts, and everyone, save for only one soul, has one
at hand. Buccaneer Jane an' I discuss piece'a wisdom we shall offer 'f we be
drawn from th' hat, fer she didn' know 'bout the fact requirement, 'an blow
me down if I'm gonna see 'er have t' jig to claim her prize.
In th' end, it be me among th' lucky ones, an' I share an' insider's tip fer
every pirate who doesn' want to 'ave to bury treasure:
"In 1652, Samuel Sewell establish'd a free mint in Boston, givin' pirates a
place t' drop their booty without gettin' caught!"
Me prize? Dutch cookies -- tasty! Try gettin' such'a treat from th'
Bahama Becky an' The Plankwalkers get 'round. I spot 'em playin' a tango
durin' an' interlude fer a waltz, an later, durin' the' Pineapple Dance,
they fiddle wi' this dance tune from Hungary! I 'alf expect to see our
Russian' mates dance th' Troika. I be tempted t' break out wi' me rendidion
of a Ukrainian Hopak, but alas, me dancin' legs aren't tha' strong.
So I sashay about wi' th' ladies -- an' a few gentlemen Bucs -- throwin' in
a twirl 'ere an' there wi' a kick -- Hey!
* * *
Thar be’a sayin, “Dance wi’ th’ one tha’ brung ye,” but I cannot, for th’
life’a me, stan’ to see a young lady on th’ dance floor, warnderin’ abou’
like a lost ship, durin’ a waltz. Buccaneer Jane be engaged ‘n conversation
wi’ an ally about her nex’ plunder, so I seize th’ opportunity to sail to th’
lost lady’s rescue.
I run halfway across th’ the ballroom, full sail, me coattails’ flyin’,
until I make a full stop in fron’ of ‘er an’ bow as if she were th’ Queen!
Th’ wee one graciously takes me han’, and we dance a variati’n of th’
Minuet, steppin’ gracefully across th’ ballroom. Me partner, she be a lively
one. She smiles as she prances abou’, complimentin’ me more reserved moves
an’ givin’ her buccaneer mother grea’ pleasure, I do believe.
* * *
A' the end of th' evenin, we share a feast 'n a nearby tav'n, an' it takes
three pints'a lemonade to replenish me. Me lady Buccaneer Jane insists I
chow down, an' I be happy to oblige 'er before I bid 'er farewell an' Bon
Voyage as I make me way back to the Wayward Star.
An' as I sail fer home and thin' back on 'er smile and her prettiness, a
query interrupts me reminiscin': Eh, where be me cookies?
Aye, she not be called Buccaneer Jane for naught, savvy?
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