Let the adventure begin!

His given name was Edward Teach; most of us know him as “Blackbeard”. He was the most infamous pirate that sailed Bahamian waters. Actually, he “owned” the seas – pillaging, plundering and partying. And the treasure that he and his shipmates pillaged and plundered for are rumored to be hidden somewhere in The Bahamas. Blackbeard and the adventures of his fellow pirates have been “resurrected” for him to claim his revenge and you get to experience it on the adventure known as “Blackbeard’s Revenge”. Well… I don’t know how vengeful it all is – because boarding the vessel known as “Blackbeard’s Revenge” means you get to party, albeit like a pirate of yore.

Guests of all ages – men, women and children – get to relive a true, modern-day pirate adventure with live dramatizations of the revolts and plunder of piracy while cruising Nassau Harbour and Paradise Island on “Blackbeard’s Revenge”, a vessel outfitted as an exact replica of an 18th century pirate ship.

Once they step on the gangplank, they automatically become new pirate recruits preparing to set sail for a fun-filled pirate adventure. So, ahoy matey!

You also get to choose your “poison” from four sailing options – a daytime voyage; sunset/evening voyage; night pirate party; and a dinner cruise.

The daytime voyage submerges voyagers into the piracy era from the moment they board and are greeted by staff kitted out in pirate costumes. Once they leave the dock, they’re given history of the ship, harbor, fort and about pirates and the piracy era, as they begin the scenic harbor tour that is mixed with a pirate mutiny re-enactment skit by a cast of actors onboard who perform an actual skit to get people involved in the pirate fight.

The sunset/evening voyage is all about the party – pirate style. You’re invited to sit back, sip and sail, or groove to the music and sounds of a live band along with additional foot-tapping live entertainment. “As we shiver yer timbers you won’t quite experience any sunset cruise like our sit back, sip and sail anywhere else in Nassau” is their promise. It also includes the pirate experience as well as either a cultural music, and/or live cultural entertainment, or a mixture of the two. What you get on any given sailing is a surprise.

The night pirate party voyage for adults only is where you can dance and party, rocking the boat from stern to bow, to beats spun by featured deejays; or you can choose a two-hour dinner cruise that includes complimentary samples of their featured wine, as well as live cultural entertainment.

If you’re like Blackbeard himself and want to “hog” the bounty all to yourself, just for you and your personal pirates, the option is available to rent out the vessel for a private event/party charter.

Not only does “Blackbeard’s Revenge” offer live piracy dramatizations onboard, but they also offer water cannon blasts on their sunset/evening tours and nightly pirate parties. The vessel has three decks, two bars, a VIP captain’s lounge and eight restrooms.

The “Blackbeard’s Revenge” experience is one that has been a long time coming and is needed in the country, considering its history and association with piracy, according to General Manager Robin Cartwright.

“The Bahamas has always been about piracy. We were a haven for pirates from the 1600s starting from the privateer Henry Avery and just growing from there, and no part of that heritage was really captured anywhere. We discuss it, we talk about it, you learn about it, there are TV shows about it, but no one has really captured that. We did have the museum, which did cover it and give a lot of historical aspects, but there was nothing that really submerged you in the experience. And with doing trips to places in South America and throughout the Caribbean, you see the ships there and think we really need this [in The Bahamas], having been a pirate hub back in the day. From that just came the idea that we need to have a pirate ship here, and the idea just grew from there.”

“Blackbeard’s Revenge” is the brainchild of Long Islander Anthony Knowles, who Cartwright said had the dream for the experience for years.

“I think the final ‘I want to do this’ moment [happened for him] when he attended a wedding for his niece in St. Lucia. He went down and after seeing the boat they have down there, he said, ‘This is it, I have to start searching and getting this idea off the ground.’”

He began looking for a vessel, but he had specific dimensions in mind. He wanted it to be about 140 feet long, 25 to 28 feet wide and a draft of about five to six feet. Cartwright said they searched throughout the United States (U.S.) to South America for the right vessel. During a visit to a boatyard in the U.S., Knowles was given a copy of Boat Trader magazine in which was a small advertisement that simply said shallow water freighter for sale, and gave the contact for more details.

“Long story short, lo and behold, when we reached out to inquire about it, the boat was exactly 140 feet long, it had a five to six-foot draft, and was 25 to 28 feet wide – which was the exact specifications that we wanted. When we asked where it was located, it was in The Bahamas, and it was the old Eleuthera Express.”

Knowles put the vessel through a $3 million re-outfitting process over a span of almost two years to bring “Blackbeard’s Revenge” to life.

The vessel was made as authentic as possible and is outfitted with antiques from the piracy era. Onboard you can view chests, some of which are 300 years old; kettles, irons and pots, a carpentry set from back in the day; daggers that would have been used during the era; and items from wreckages such as bottles that were salvaged from Spanish galleons that used to transport liquor and wine. The steering wheel itself is hundreds of years old and Cartwright said it was salvaged from an old pirate ship wreckage.

“We do have a lot of vintage items that showcase the things that they would have used,” said Cartwright.

“Blackbeard’s Revenge” hits the waters in July, and currently offers three-day experiences that Cartwright says can potentially increase to six a day. Their dinner cruise is currently twice a week, but Cartwright said bookings can push it to up to five. Their night-time party trips are slotted in for the weekends.

“[People] need to come and live like a pirate and have the experience,” said Cartwright. “Piracy was always about them having a good time and that’s what we bring. We bring the fun through the theme and the energy. One of our key phrases is, ‘Let the adventure begin!’”

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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