Shipwrecks and Pirates

Shipwrecks and pirates just seem to go together. Whenever I tell anyone I study shipwrecks the conversation inevitably leads to Blackbeard, Captain Kidd and their nefarious Caribbean contemporaries. The two seem inextricably linked. I have a few theories as to why that is, but why do you think pirates and shipwrecks are two peas in a pod in how we collectively think about the sea?

In any case, a new 30-minute documentary on pirates and privateering in the Canadian Maritimes, of all places, offers fresh take on pirates. It aired yesterday on CBS’s Land and Sea series. The full episode should be posted on their website later today, but in the  meantime there’s the trailer above. I’m looking forward to watching it and seeing if it has any shipwrecks!

Here’s the description of Pirates and Privateering from last week’s press release:

Hundreds of years ago, the secluded coves and inlets of the Maritimes were perfect hiding places for pirates avoiding detection by the King’s navy. And with the huge fishing industry, the Maritimes were a perfect hunting ground for supplies, ships and new recruits. Pirates and Privateers introduces the viewer to several notorious pirates who plundered Atlantic Canada, and tells a story that recalls the blunderbuss, the cutlass, evil deeds, and supposed buried treasure.

Not many Canadians know what is meant by the word “privateer”, even though privateering was a significant social and financial force in times of war, whether against the Spanish, the French, or the Americans during the War of 1812. Pirates and Privateers explains how the business of privateering worked, as practiced in one of Canada’s most successful privateering centres: Liverpool Nova Scotia.

“There are so many rich pirate stories in Atlantic Canada, it was hard to know which ones to pick. And how many times have we all heard that Stan Roger’s song Barrett’s Privateers,” says D’Eon. “It brings the house down every time, but it’s amazing how few people actually know what a privateer was.  Hopefully, this documentary will clear up the confusion.”



Filed under Announcement, Shipwreck culture

5 responses to “Shipwrecks and Pirates

  1. Excellent! I will have to forward this to my hubby and we’ll watch tonight. Thanks for the heads up. 🙂

  2. did you hear about this one being released this spring?
    release date 4.27.12

    • Jamin Wells

      NO! Looks pretty sweet–can’t wait to see it!

      • i know, right? me too 🙂
        anyway, why i think the two go hand in hand is that most research links memory with emotions…..and pirates are just so…..evocative? 😉 most people don’t remember dates and data as vividly as they recall experiences/events that are heightened by emotional experience. trauma, disaster, evil…treachery….meets drunkeness and indecence…all those eden apples out there.

        also, i think this is why j. depp’s misfit pirate character is super alluring. he isn’t quite stereotypically right, haha; he is this rebel with several achilles issues to try to compensate for. they did that with c.hook’s character too…he is twisted evil though he draws empathy with his own demise….could be a fun book topic 🙂 i will probably re-watch the pirates of caribbean and write a blog about sparrow soon. thanks for the inspiration!

      • Jamin Wells

        I was hoping you’d have a theory! I think you’re definitely onto something about memory and ‘negative’ emotions. I also think with both shipwrecks and pirates we can put ourselves in their shoes that situation. There’s a deep empathy with the shipwrecked and the marauding pirate. One is terrifying, one is tempting/alluring and both are, as you put it, evocative.

        And I’m looking forward to that post!

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