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Party with the Pirates aboard El Galeón Andalucía in Ocean City, MD

Image Courtesy of National Air, Sea and Space Foundation

Image Courtesy of National Air, Sea and Space Foundation

Are your children obsessed with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise? Are you hooked on the NBC series Crossbones that stars John Malkovich as Blackbeard? Do you long to talk like a pirate more than one day out of the year? If so, then El Galeón Andalucía, docked in Ocean City. MD from August 1 – September 1, 2014, invites you to step back in time and imagine the Golden Age of Pirates.

Best of all, El Galeón Andalucía was featured in Crossbones; now fans can walk her decks. El Galeón will be docked bayside at 3rd street and Chicago Avenue in Ocean City, Maryland and will be open to visitors August 1 – September 1, 2014 from 10:00 am until 6:00pm each day.

Travel back in time 500 years when you step onboard the magnificent El Galeón Andalucía, and experience first-hand what it was like explore the World in the 16th century. El Galeón Andalucía is a replica of the late 16th century fabled merchant vessels and war ships that made up the early navies of Europe. She is the only galeón class vessel sailing the open seas today.

The galeón class vessel was an ocean going ship type that evolved from the carrack in the second half of 16th century. Galeóns were constructed from oak, pine and various hardwoods for hull and decking. Hundreds of expert tradesmen, including carpenters, blacksmiths, shipwrights and pitch-melters worked day and night for months to make a galeón seaworthy.

Image Courtesy of National Air, Sea and Space Foundation

Image Courtesy of National Air, Sea and Space Foundation


Due to the long periods spent at sea and poor conditions on board, many of the crew perished during the voyage; therefore advanced rigging systems were developed so that the vessel could be sailed by a smaller crew.

On one special night, you can “Party with the Pirates” aboard the El Galeón Andalucía during a VIP event. Appetizers, soft drinks, beer and wine will be served during this rare chance for the public to experience El Galeón in the evening and enjoy the sunset onboard. Meet the Captain and crew and hear in their own words what it is like to sail on El Galeón. Learn about the vessel and its history from the perspective of those who sail on it. $75.00 per person.

Save 25% when you purchase your general admission tickets online in advance. Print-at-home or if you don’t have a printer, place your tickets in will-call and lock in the savings.

El Galeón Andalucía
Ocean City, MD
August 1 – September 1, 2014
10:00 am until 6:00pm

Party w/ the Pirates
Onboard VIP Event
August 29th, 2014
7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
$75.00 per person plus amusement tax and $1.00 fee

For more information including ticket purchase options, visit: http://www.tallshipevent.com/Ocean_City.html

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Hang Out with Pirates and Privateers in NJ & Ticket Giveaway!

Image Courtesy of The Tuckerton Seaport

Image Courtesy of The Tuckerton Seaport

Why limit yourself to talking like a pirate one day out of the year? You can shiver your timbers with the best of them at the Tuckerton Seaport on the Jersey Shore on June 7, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Privateers and Pirates Festival.

During the festival, Seaport will be taken over by Captain Black and the Crew of the Valhalla who have been plundering the eastern shore of the American colonies for centuries. This is your chance to set sail for a fun-filled day for the entire family. The Seaport staff has been plottin’ and schemin’ for months to come up with a line-up even a landlubber would enjoy. The day’s activities begin at 11:00 a.m. with a Pirate Meet & Greet. Get your hands on a treasure map as you enter to join in the fun of a treasure hunt. Wear your best pirate costume and you might win a prize.

Pose for a photo on the plank. Winners will be announced at the end of the day on their FaceBook page and prizes will be given for the best pirate costume. Live the life of a privateer or pirate and learn the difference between the two. Enjoy live entertainment throughout the day with Pirates for Sail and be immersed in an interactive pirate adventure for a swashbuckling good time. Channel your inner pirate at the Pirate’s Market, where you can purchase eye patches, swords, and other pirate paraphernalia. If it’s treasured memories you seek, spend the day at the Seaport and live the pirate’s life of plunder.

Privateers & Pirates Festival Highlights
Pirate Meet & Greet
Pose on the Plank Pirate Costume Contest for Adults and Children
Piratology 101: Learn about the Golden Age of Piracy
Cannon Demo: Watch how to handle and fire a cannon. Volunteers will be needed to join the gun crew.
Scurvy Mutineers Sword Fight Show: A live steel combat show complete with action and laughs. Volunteers will be selected from the audience to join the mutiny.
Whip Show: Things will really heat up as tricks and skills are shown.
Pirate Pistol Duello Show: A stage show of how a friendly game of Liars Dice can go terribly wrong. Learn how pirates settle an argument.
Captain’s Mast Show: A funny show about how pirates managed crimes and other issues between crew members. There will be plenty of sword and pistol action.
American Water Puddles Van: Learn about water conservation, where the water locally comes from, how the water is treated and play interactive games where you can estimate your daily water usage
Watch the Parrot Pirate Party with a Parrot that Talks Pirate
Food Court
Make-and-Take Crafts
Live Music by Pirates for Sail
Black Pearl Pirate Ship Rides (Additional Charge)
Treasure Hunt
Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum is located at 120 West Main Street in the heart of historic Tuckerton. Event admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for children, and free for Seaport Members. Event admission includes access to the Seaport’s 40 acres of family fun, featuring maritime activities, historic and recreated buildings, live animals, a boardwalk, miniature golf course, and exhibits. This event is supported in part by a grant from New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism, http://www.visitnj.org. For more information, find the Tuckerton Seaport on FaceBook or call 609-296-8868.


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Sea-going Adventures Cruising the Chesapeake: Part 1

The foamy waters of the Chesapeake veil murder, mayhem and mystery.  About 10,000 shipwrecks sit at the bottom of the bay, of which approximately 2,500 have been identified by name or record, said Donald G. Shomette, acclaimed underwater archeologist and author of 14 books including “Pirates on the Chesapeake” and “Shipwrecks on the Chesapeake.”

Some may, or may not, be Spanish Ships of Exploration.  The Spanish sailed the Chesapeake since the 17th Century, with a mandate to wipe out all English settlers.

One persistent legend involves The Tangier Island Wreck, said Shomette.  In 1926 following a blowout of the bay, the exposed shoals revealed the skeleton of a shipwreck.  Was it a wooden sailing ship dating from the golden age of frigates or was it a fraud?  The oystermen of Tangiers Island quickly explored the buried shipwreck and found some copper things and an item identified as a “pillow sword.”

The Baltimore Sun picked up the story and rumors of the sword piqued the interest of collectors.  Yet it mysteriously disappeared, before its authenticity could be verified.

Shomette said the tale is not out of the realm possibility, there are indications the Spanish were on the Chesapeake in the early 1600’s.  However, replicas of these swords were popular during the Civil War and later during the 1880’s “Oyster” Wars when Chesapeake Oystermen used anything available.

The shipwreck disappeared again beneath the waters of the bay, keeping its secrets and waiting to be revealed again to future generations.  It shares the Chesapeake with wrecks from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World War I.

The British fortified Tangiers Island during the Colonial period since they found brackish waters there.  There are at least 17 shipwrecks in the immediate vicinity of Tangiers Island, said Shomette, and one was used by the British as a navigational beacon during the War of 1812.

Pirates on the Chesapeake

Pirates sailed the Chesapeake from 1610 to 1807, said Shomette, and tobacco was their gold.  Piracy was a democracy, as portrayed in recent movies.  The crew voted where they wanted to go and left when they wanted.

There are legends of buried treasure on the Chesapeake, as there are anywhere pirates raided.  In one local story, said Shomette, the pirates sailed into port and began spending freely.  Since the Chesapeake is a fairly small body of water, everyone knew everyone else.  You were a sailor, a fisherman or a pirate.  Sailors were at the bottom of the social ladder; if someone showed up in port spending freely; with more money than he should have, then he was a pirate.

The officials arrested the pirates, but didn’t find all of their stolen goods.  The treasure was believed to be buried near the port the pirates where apprehended.

Not all pirates planned a life as outlaws.  Many Tories fled to Tangier Island and went a-pirating during the Revolutionary War.  Escaped slaves also joined pirate crews, often with dire consequences.

Oyster Piracy and Oyster War

Oyster Wars: Wikipedia

Crisfield, Maryland was not a pirate town in the traditional sense.  It was created for the support of the oyster and shellfish industries and by the late 1800’s, Crisfield was every bit as wild and dangerous as San Francisco in its hay day.  Gamblers, prostitutes and sailors roamed the waterfront in a port that had as many ships registered as Baltimore.  These ships plied the thriving oyster trade and the oysterman guarded their fields viciously.

Oyster Pirates: Wikipedia

Shomette said ships were armed with cannons and the oystermen fought in “knock down, drag out battles to the death” over their grounds.  Oyster pirates raided the grounds of rival oystermen at night, stealing the prized oysters from their beds. Crisfield became notorious for shanghaiing sailors.  Unscrupulous ship captains would meet the boats in Baltimore harbor, shanghaiing German immigrants for two years. The captains would pay off the sailor’s two-year contract “by the boom”—killing their men with a blow to the back of the head and dumping their bodies into the bay. Maryland and Virginia both maintained navies to protect the oyster ships and try to stem the tide of shanghaied sailors.

This story was first published in the News Journal in 2004 under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All rights reserved.