What started as a crazy idea celebrated by a handful of friends has turned into an international phenomenon that shows no sign of letting up.
Maybe you’ve read about it on line. Maybe you caught it on the radio or television. Or maybe you just stumbled upon it while googling around.
Or perhaps you’re one of the millions of people from South Africa to the North Pole, from New York to the Pacific Northwest, who’ve made it your own personal excuse to party like pirates every September 19th (and sometimes days before and after)!
This is Russ and my precursor to our annual Buccaneer’s Day on Catalina Island held the first weekend in October. This is the only time of the year Russ can get away with calling me a scurvy bilge rat and order me back to the galley.
When Sept. 19 rolls around suddenly tens of thousands of people are saying “arr” and “weigh anchor” all over the world.
Pirate lingo is rich and complicated but there are five basic words that you cannot live without. If you master them you can face “Talk Like a Pirate Day” with a smile and a parrot on your shoulder, if that’s your thing.
• Ahoy—is our standard “hello”
• Avast—Stop and give attention. It can be used as a sense of surprise.
• Aye—“Why yes, I agree.
• Aye Aye!—I’ll get right on that sir, as soon as my break is over.
• Arr!—This one is often confused as arrgh, Arr! Can mean “Yes I agree,” I’m happy, “I’m enjoying this beer.”
Some believe the origin of the pirate accent came from the actor Robert Newton who portrayed Long John Silver in the film “Treasure Island” and also the title character in “Blackbeard, the Pirate.” His native dialect from West County England resembles what is now considered the official (or not) pirate accent that is commonly used today.
There have been numerous pirate movies including the most recent pirate Johnny Depp as captain Jack Sparrow from Disney’s “Pirate of the Caribbean” series.
But one of my favorites “The Goonies,” is about seven youngsters on an adventure filled with “One eyed” Willy’s hidden fortune, maps, long lost ships and secret caves all while running from the clutches of evil Mama Frateli and sons. Maybe the reason I enjoyed this 1980’s swash buckler so much is because my now thirty-year old son used to act out all the parts for my entertainment.
Two Harbors Catalina Island has been harboring pirates for over twenty years. For two to three days during the annual ritual known as “Buccaneer Day’s ” everyone is dressed in pirate costumes and the booty they seek is not gold, silk or other treasures. It’s rum, wild times and hanging with modern-day buccaneers.
Boaters from all around come together and when the sun sets, the raucous pirates start to arrive, For those who want to venture onto land to plunder a drink or find a mate to dance with, a band and DJ are assembled on the front deck of the one and only restaurant.
Once anchored the pirates motor around on dinghies, kayaks or canoes. Most of the time, with cocktail in hand, they are headed to pillage drinks from other boaters.
I’ll be ready for my day of feasting, merrymaking and the excuse to talk like a pirate—even if only one day a year.