The questions everyone asks about pirates and privateers
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Question of mahé (10.20.2015): How was life on a pirate ship? A:
Between attacks and looting the pirates were likely to be immensely bored and become very irritable aboard their narrowboat.
The space under the deck was very confined, dirty, smelled of stale water, tar, dirt, and rat feces. The crew slept in hammocks or audience, but some spent most of the time on deck for lack of space, except in stormy weather. In good weather we opened the hatches and portholes to bring a little light and air to the bridge because it was dark, damp, and stuffy!
The crew members were constantly busy with their chores because they had to climb aloft bringing the sails or placing new ones, handle the ropes to navigate, repair damaged equipment, and clean their weapons. This last task is mandatory and stated in the act of pirate code. In good weather they had to scrub the decks to moisten them, because if they were left to dry, they’d crackle because of the properties of sea water, and sailors could cut their bare feet.
The hull had be cleaned to prevent algae, shells and various marine creatures slowing down the ship. Pirates should therefore regularly dry dock on a beach, scrape the hull, then add a mix to better drag the ship on the water, and repel creatures fond of the wooden hull.
The food was very varied and not really appetizing as they had little opportunity to pick fresh food for their long journeys. However, they boarded chickens for fresh eggs, pigs, goats and caught fish. Drinking water was spoiled very quickly, therefore they would mix rum with water to make the rum last longer. Pirates eat their biscuits (hard as wood!) in the dark, not seeing maggots crawling inside. The cook of the ship was called Rooster and was generally a pirate who had lost an arm or a leg and could not be used for anything else. He lit his stove only in calm seas to avoid a fire onboard.
Gambling was prohibited to avoid fights. Luckily they had to entertain the parrots they had captured on the islands, or they sang for their hard work.