Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Tue January 26 2016

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | January 26, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Avast! Feast and Fun Aboard a Cozumel Pirate Ship

    Avast! Feast and Fun Aboard a Cozumel Pirate Ship

    Photo via Facebook/Sara Sandro-Ruben

    I had no intention of journeying to Mexico to hang out with pirates. Cozumel was a popular hideout for swashbucklers during the 17th century, but that time period is long gone. So when I gazed at the Jean Lafitte floating slowly toward the Cozumel dock, I didn't know what to think. 

    The ship’s dark, burnished wood shone against the water and the skull and crossbones painted on the side glistened eerily as it inched closer.  As we were ushered aboard, I felt really doubtful until I spied Pork Chop or “Chuleta,” as I liked to call him, in his Mexicana pink shirt, brandishing a sword. That’s when I knew there would be trouble.

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    Decked out in a black headscarf, flowing blue shirt and a fuzzy mustache that would make any hipster proud, El Capitain peered down from the ship's mast with a nefarious expression. He looked like he was sizing up people to loot. El Capitain climbed further up the mast with Sparky, a crewmember in an unfortunate gold-buttoned vest. They hovered over everyone and everything in the ship. My stomach dropped. Should I jump overboard? Hide in the lower deck? Break out my silk scarf, fashion it into a pirate doo-rag and join them?

    Then the whole motley crew descended upon us. They started going through purses, pulling off rings, hugging and kissing women and eyeing watches. El Capitain examined my friend Laura's pearls but decided not to snatch them. He looked at my necklace but since it was only an abalone shell purchased from a local vendor, he left it alone as well.

    Despite such thievery, I began to warm to these pirates. They sang. They told jokes. They looked really good in tight pants and eyeliner. Then they did something I've never seen pirates do. They danced. In rhythm. They performed a limbo dance, swiveled their hips to salsa and performed a rousing rendition of “YMCA” that let me know that indeed, these were my kind of pirates.

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    If that wasn’t enough, they cooked for the entire ship of hostages, I mean passengers. Perfectly prepared lobster, steak and for me, chicken, filled the tables. We feasted until we forgot we were on a ship, in the middle of the sea, surrounded by pirates.

    Perhaps it was the gallons of rum punch, margaritas and beers that they steadily pushed at us but after three hours, I felt like we were all friends. Bawdy humor became the norm and we played games — many involved tying up fellow guests.

    Finally, with a melancholy spirit, I watched as the Jean Lafitte sailed off into the brilliant Cozumel sunset. Afterwards, I caught a lot of flack for hanging out with pirates. But wouldn't you do the same thing if they were that much fun?

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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