Tales have been told for centuries of pirates plundering and shipwrecks aplenty off the coasts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. If you truly believe such tales, the sunset is just right, and you happen to be looking west across the Isle of Wight Bay in Ocean City, you may just be able to conjure up the image of a pirate ship! Or, it may be the Duckaneer, a modern day pirate’s paradise, out for an evening voyage.
Board the Duckaneer at the Talbot St. Pier, and ready yourself to be appointed members of the pirate crew. Kids receive pirate tattoos, as do some adults. (The head pirates seem to favor mustaches on women, and if you aren’t equipped with one of your own, they will happily draw one on, for you.) The PIC’s (pirates in charge) weave tales of adventure for the little ones, promising stolen treasure and rewards…if only they could read a map! Then, just as the story really gets going, a vested pirate in a fast moving boat ambushes the Duckaneer! Be forewarned, this scurvy pirate has a no-holds barred approach to using his water gun. Little old ladies, mothers with cell phone cameras, small children…all fair game. Finally, the dread pirate is defeated, thanks to numerous small children using cannons, and as it turns out, the stolen treasure is returned. The PIC’s promised authentic pirates booty, and they delivered.
The Duckaneer is a prime example of an activity that capitalizes on folklore in a very positive way. It makes history current, and very entertaining. And although the tales told by the PIC’s are most certainly made up, there truly are shipwrecks that dot the coast from Delaware to Virginia. A shipwreck was uncovered last year along the shores of Assateague Island during a large storm. It appears from time to time, giving us glimpses of how treacherous traveling used to be. Blackbeard, perhaps the most notorious pirate of all used to travel the Chesapeake Bay, and infamously took over a vessel just off the coast of Cape Charles, Virginia.
The next time you are looking to “make a memory” that represents your time spent on vacation, consider playing pirates for a day. Before the beaches were used for sunbathing, they were viewed as dangerous to seafaring vessels. Before there were highways and condos and hotels, there were very large ships and questionable folk who manned them. Step back in time on the bay, aboard the Duckaneer.