© 2017 by Tiago Rocha 

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PIRATE ENCOUNTER

September 5, 2017

 #WaterAid The artwork above is available as a print - get yours here

 

This is the closest I ever want to be with pirates! 

 

'Must come back when I'm rich!' I said to myself. And it was early in the morning as we left.

 

In less than two hours from then, we were anchoring again - this time in 'Charlestown'. And, hazy and cool as it was, it was a beautiful day.

 

Much of the day was spent reading, and vaguely entertaining the idea of setting up our wooden dinghy to go ashore. But laziness took the best of us, and it never happened.

 

It was only later in the afternoon that I heard the unmistakable noise of a little engine roaring in the distance. I knew we were on a large bay but it still felt odd as we had grown used to the silence that, until then, surrounded us. I went outside to check what it was.

 

SMOKE!

Here's a word you don't want to hear on-board a boat! It looked like a small fishing boat was in trouble. White smoke all around it. And a lot of the stuff. It was less than a mile from us, near the harbor entrance and, although I could not actually see fire, things definitely didn't look right.

 

We tried to hail the harbor-master over the radio on Channel 16 - but had no answer, nothing at all! Was my radio working OK? Let's try over the handheld... Nothing. 

 

I started scanning channels to see if a 'Mayday' was in place, and again, frustratingly, nada.

 

Out came the binoculars and we could see 'dozens' of people at the harbor promenade, witnessing whatever was going on. And it calmed us a bit. Whatever their problem was, somebody must have alerted the authorities - we thought - and help would be underway.

 

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SURREAL

The noise had either ceased, or got us too used to it for a while - I can't remember which one. But nearly a couple of hours must have passed until I went out to the cockpit again to double check things, and I tell you now that what I saw made my heart jump and my legs shake! I shouted out to Adriana and I could literally see her jaw drop as she looked out of the window. 

 

This was one of those moments that have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief, not unlike in the movies! One M A S S I V E galleon Pirate ship, heading dead on at us!!!

 

?!?!?!?! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTT ?!?!?!?! 

 

We could see at least half a dozen people on it and, as if in slow motion, a giant black flag got up the mast! 

 

A PIRATE SHIP

Like........REALLY?!?

 

It came so close to us you could almost touch it. Think impressive and double it!

 

As it rounded us - missing us by only a few meters - we saw a HUGE SKULL on its transom - I kid you not - and all the crew (?) greeted us at the top of their voices - AHOOOOOOOY!!!

Everyone dressed in pirate fashion, swords in hand and all!

 

YOUR EYES WILL TRICK YOU

From behind the pirate ship the "little fishing boat" we had seen in trouble earlier zoomed past it...still dispensing A LOT OF SMOKE!

 

And it was only then, still in confusion and awe, that the penny dropped.

 

We had somehow managed to anchor in the middle of a movie set... or something. The smoky boat was doing it on purpose, perhaps in a way it would look like 'fog' in the movie? Maybe trying to conceal the 'modern looking' background of the pier, or modern looking houses at the hilltops - who knows.

 

After a brief 'Phewww!' moment, we decided to stay put for the night. EYES. WIDE. OPEN.

 

 

 

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