After a full night and day at sea, steering through rough waves, crashing through the white water, seeking the breeze to push the large boat along the calm waters and navigating the narrows straights when many a pirate ship before them had failed the pirate captain finally held his reward in his hand. Standing around him, his fair maiden and the selected nine men of the retrieval party stood in awe of the massive collection.
“Aye me lads! We’ve found ‘er, I told ye we be rich by ye end o ye day!” the captain said.
“What they be capt’in?” the question came from Scurvy Pete second in charge to the second mate.
Holding one of the golden coins in his right hand and lifting it high for all to see the pirate captain told them all of the booty.
“They be Spanish doubloons from the 11th century.”
The men cheered, none of them knew the true value of the find but with five large chests of them even they knew their pay day was going to be a good one. The captain on the other hand knew that each one of the doubloons was worth more than he paid any one of his men for a week’s work. Even splitting one chest between all his men was going to provide them more than many of them had ever known.
“Aye, lets get th’ lovely booty back th’ ship ‘fore night falls.” The captain said to his men.
With five chests and nine men the captain had decided it was going to take more than one trip back to the long boat, he also knew that the heavy chests were going to make the trip back slower than the trip in, but he had no choice, he wasn’t going to leave the treasure on the island for another night. He delegated jobs to each man at which time the fair maiden must have realised the situation and how she could help remedy it.
“Cap’n, I gunna be helpin’. I be not here to watch.”
The captain hadn’t actually thought about his fair maiden helping, it wasn’t that he thought her incapable it was that he didn’t want her exerting herself, but she had a different idea. As part of the crew, she expected to assist where required to ensure the jobs was done. She didn’t promise to lug the chests like a well seasoned pirate hand but she did promise that with her assistance they would not require a second trip, and she did just that.
It took them nearly an hour and a half to navigate their way back to the shore where the long boat was moored and the tenth crew member sat patiently waiting. As he’d been ordered the long boat was still afloat and hadn’t been left high and dry by the lowering tide, which would make loading easier.
At one point the captain found himself contemplating whether the extra weight of five chests of doubloons added to the weight of the twelve man treasure party was going to be too much for the long boat, especially as it traversed the white water near the shore. Deciding that the time they had saved thanks to his fair maiden and her assistance with the heavy lifting was indeed beneficial he quickly decided to make two trips in the long boat.
He trusted his men and knew they wouldn’t make a run with the booty but there was no sense in risking such a large haul for a little stupidity so he decided the first trip to the Privateer would consist of three chests, six men and his fair maiden who would oversee the trip and the loading of the booty onto the bigger ship. The long boat would then return for the remaining men and chests. Despite night approaching the the pirate captain felt good about the second trip being done in darkness, it was a short and easy trip and the full moon would be more than enough to see what they needed.
What the pirate captain didn’t foresee was the galleon, not that different to his own sailing around the island spotting the ship sitting in the calmer waters of the straights. To be fair the captain of the other ship wasn’t expecting to see the Privateer either, he was neither hunting for treasure or looking for a fight. However seeing the Privateer anchored where it was he knew that only one of to things was happening, either the ship was striken dead in the water or they were there for a reason. It didn’t matter what that reason was he figured he would take the spoils by attacking the unmoving ship and sinking it where it floated.
The long boat was being raised up onto the deck, booty and crew aboard when the second mate spotted the second galleon.
“Aye, cap’in thar be a ship at our stern. What we be doin’ about ‘er?”
From his position on the long boat being lifted to the main deck the captain could see the boat. He took out his spyglass and looked along the ship trying to hold his balance as the men on board the Privateer craned the long boat onto the deck. Staring at the ensign flying on the rear of the ship, one the captain didn’t recognise, he sized up his opponent and considered his options. He could tell from the way the ship was positioning itself that the captain was preparing for an attack. The captain worked out his attack.
“Aye, ye best defence is a jolly offence!” he called to the second mate, followed by orders to get the long boat on board as quickly as possible and raise the anchor.
Because of the outgoing tide the Privateer had turned stern to the open water hanging on the pick in the sand and the pirate captain knew that turning the large boat side on and preparing for attack was not just a time wasting exercise but one that would probably see them start the battle with a disadvantage. He also wasn’t prepared to risk loosing the booty he’d worked so hard for in a cannonball fight. He had a better plan and as soon as the long boat was lowered onto the deck he ordered several men to secure the booty and the long boat and put his plan into place.
“Ye gunner decks are ready cap’in” the second mate said as the pirate captain and the fair maiden joined him on the navigation deck.
“We shant be fightin’,” the captain said, “we be livin’ to fight ‘nother day. We set sail now.
The crew were on their feet quickly and no sooner had the captain given the order than they were under way. The evening winds were low but they provided enough for the big sails to push the ship along into the straights. The captain new their best chance of survival was to flee into the straights, he’d navigated them once, and in prevailing light he could navigate them again, it would be a brave captain who would follow him blindly.
As a cannon ball blasted into the water beside them causing nothing more than a bow wave into the side of the ship the Privateer sailed into the straights. It was a move the other captain obviously wasn’t expecting given that the second cannonball fired missed the moving boat by more than 50 feet. The second ship gave chase, obviously figuring the Privateer had something of value aboard if the captain was willing to run into the straights.
The captain hoped that with the two ships being so similar a successful cannon attack from the bow of the trailing ship was unlikely and that all he needed to do was keep his ship in deep water and off the rocks. He also knew that if both ships successfully navigate the straights and ended up in open water they may end up having to defend, he just hoped it wasn’t going to come to that.
The darker it got the harder it was to see the landmarks but between the captain and his fair maiden they excelled keeping the Privateer away from trouble. About half way along the straight the captain realised the that trailing ship, although a good distance behind, was doing an extremely good job of following his course. He quickly decided it was time to take some risks and instead of staying in the middle of the channel, he moved from side to side, riskily scouting the edges he knew could see their end.
The second boat followed his moves and followed his wake and when the Privateer could see the open waters at the end of the straight the captain knew he was going to have to make a new plan. He was in the process of processing that plan when the call came down from the crows nest that the chase ship had mis-navigated and sailed too close to the edge of the channel. The port side had skimmed the edge of the sand bank and the massive ship had listed.
Even in the last minutes of light the crew mate in the crows nest was able to see the big ship list far enough until the sails began to dip into the water, he knew then it was too late and he could report the good news to his captain, they’d won.
The following afternoon the Privateer sailed into port, every man, and woman, on board richer than their hearts desired, richer than they ever thought they’d be!
Previous Pirate story here.