A close call was had the other day as Marianna was nearly pressganged by a roving band of musical pirates! They lured her in with charming sea chanties like 'My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean' and 'The Sailor's Alphabet'. Do you know your ABC's?
A is the anchor that holds a bold ship,
B is the bowsprit that often does dip,
C is the capstan on which we do wind, and
D is the davits on which the jolly boat hangs.
Oh, hi derry, hey derry, ho derry down,
Give sailors their grog and there's nothing goes wrong,
So merry, so merry, so merry are we,
No matter who's laughing at sailors at sea.
E is the ensign, the red, white, and blue,
F is the fo'c'sle, holds the ship's crew,
G is the gangway on which the mate takes his stand,
H is the hawser that seldom does strand.
I is the irons where the stuns'l boom sits,
J is the jib-boom that often does dip,
K are the keelsons of which you've told, and
L are the lanyards that always will hold.
M is the main mast, so stout and so strong,
N is the north point that never points wrong,
O are the orders of which we must be'ware, and
P are the pumps that cause sailors to swear.
Q is the quadrant, the sun for to take,
R is the riggin' that always does shake,
S is the starboard side of our bold ship, and
T are the topmasts that often do split.
U is the ugliest old Captain of all,
V are the vapours that come with the squall,
W is the windlass on which we do wind, and
X, Y, and Z, well, I can't put in rhyme!
While you're studying your letters you may wish to glance over the handy Pirate Alphabet as well!
A: Ehhhhhhh? -- "What's that?"
B: Are -- as in "Be ye ready to surrender?"
C: Si, si! -- To a Spanish pirate, "Yes!"
E: Eeeeee! -- "Maaaaaaaaybe . . . "
I: Aye -- "Yes!"
L: 'Ell -- A destination for your enemies.
O: Oh! -- "Oh!"
Q: Queue -- A sailor's pigtail, usually tarred.
R: Arrrrrr! -- A general expression of glee.
T: Tea -- A very inferior substitute for grog.
Y: Why? -- To be said in a grumpy voice when the cap'n gives an order.
Z: Zee -- To a French pirate, "the."
For more info on Sea Shanties check out
Wikipedia's Sea Shanties
. I wasn't surprised at all to see that shanties and military cadence calls are closely related. Could it have anything to do with the mix of military + diver onboard the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen? One moment we may be singing 'Way, Hay and Up She Rises' and the next moment as a C-130 barrels overhead we just have to sound off with an appropriate cadence:
C-130 rolling down the strip.
Airborne ranger gonna take a little trip.
Mission top secret, destination unknown.
Don't even know if I'm going home.
Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door.
Jump right out and count to four.
As that C-130 is circling about this afternoon doing touch and go's and I feel like my eyeballs are vibrating in my head I'll leave you with that and a few additional Pirate Education Links that we have found helpful:
The Golden Age of Piracy Educator's Guide
National Geographic Xpeditions Pirate Map
New England Pirate Museum Educational Material
merry Pirate Notebook