Cast me away here X! A Talk like a Pirate Day Special
The 19th of September is International Talk like a Pirate Day. I'll admit it's missing the point if I suggest it might be more correct to say 'speak like a pirate' – I just proves that I'm not yet in the spirit of the thing. If I was to suggest it should be “Avast matey holla' ya like a scurvy dog now!” then I would be getting closer. But all this pirate banter did start me off on a daydream about what it would be like to be a pirate, and my conclusion was that the best part of being a pirate would be the getting cast away onto a deserted island bit.
These are the pirate-y islands I fancied myself getting cast away on...
Modern day potential castaways fantasise about the islands of Captain Jack Sparrow. The Pirates of the Caribbean films were filmed off Haiti, but there are plenty of almost perfect Caribbean islands to choose from: Eleuthera looks lovely, all flat with the bounders that look like they'd be easy to make shelter out of, St. Vincent promises warm, turquoise waters and I'll bet there's plenty of food to be found in the jungle interior (it was also used as a location in the Pirates trilogy), Provo Island and St. Barths have the classic beaches I dream of being washed up on, and San Salvador has a Club Med now, but I imagine I can't castaway to luxury can I...
Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island was supposedly somewhere in the British Virgin Islands and that sounded like a pretty picturesque place to end up. Castaways might get a bit of a shock washing up on Tortola: instead of a lush green interior of jungles and rocky outcrops, the weary waterlogged floater would come upon a forest of succulents and cacti, which is bad news 'cause you need a fresh water supply! So build your raft and leave these clean clear waters and head south towards more life sustaining St. John, east for Virgin Gorda or north for Guana. I think you could drift to any of them in a day if the current is in your favour...
If, even after I was castaway, I was still afflicted with the piratical lust for treasure then I'd want to wash ashore on 'Treasure Island' wouldn't I. Which was the original name of Isla de la Juventud in Cuba. My only problem as a castaway here would be that I'd be at the mercy of all the pirates already camped out on the island – this is the pirate island that inspired both Treasure Island and Peter Pan – yes there are crocodiles in these waters as well – so it would be easy to lose yourself a limb ah la Captain Hook.
In reality a lot of piracy happened in far less glamorous – or warm – waters. A whole lot of pirate vessels were based out of Bristol, including those of Blackbeard, so you'd want to be pretty careful where you got sentenced to walk the plank in these waters, you could easily die of exposure. Consulting my charts I think your best bet if you have to give your pirate captain some bad news round these parts is to swim for pretty, sandy Croyde Bay, Southerndown which has a reef full of fish you could live off, or Rhossili Bay which looks quiet and peaceful, though is much improved by the recent addition of an ice cream stand.
Before the Pirates of the Caribbean, there were the Vikings, who were very accomplished seaborne pillagers. Viking castaways would have been in even bigger trouble when it came to walking the plank into the great blue yonder, but if they made it to Smøla they could at least guarantee three meals a day – this is a great spot for cod, salmon, sea trout and halibut. They'd also have lovely views. The luckiest of Viking castaways would end up on Vestvagoy apparently it's one of the world's most beautiful beaches, and even better, there's a hot springs near by.
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