Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, we woke too, guess what? Rain. We all packed up and staged the luggage downstairs. That was the quickest path to the van. The Bosun and Powder Monkey worked with the thule in the pouring down rain and got soaked. They decided it would be best if they loaded up the suitcases that went on top of the van, drove somewhere under shelter and then loaded the thule. By the time they got back, it was just misting outside. Murphy’s Law always hold true.
By 10:30am, we were loaded up and on the road making plans for next year’s Pirate Invasion.
Saturday morning was dull and gray. We took our time getting up and getting ready. Since the parade lineup was at 2:15 (well, really 2:30… so I fibbed a little), we decided to have an early lunch at The Crab Shack. The food was good but the atmosphere/décor (if you can really call it that) was awesome. It has its own little animal sanctuary; seventy-eight live (baby) alligators, cats that rule the world and rescued exotic birds.
I had the Crab & Shrimp Au Gratin and it was delicious. Also, I am not a fan of coleslaw but there’s was the best I had ever tasted.
After lunch, we had to get ready for the parade. As we were getting geared up, it started to rain. It continued to rain. As we went to the van, it was raining. As we arrived at the parade line up, it was still raining. We had signed up to walk the parade. I was not walking in the rain. We decided to ask if we could drive the van. If so, we were in. If not, we would head back and watch the parade from the front porch. The organizer’s name was Katrina. As she came down the parade line, she spoke with each entrant. When she got to us, Jesse explained about the weather and said don’t worry about, we could take the van. Then, as if on queue, at 3:15pm the clouds parted and the sun came out. The parade was on.
It’s a good thing we had the van. It was a mile from the parade lineup to the official parade ‘start’. Then, the parade itself was another 2.5 to 3 miles. Darlin', Darrell, Steve and I walked and handed out beads. Jesse drove the van and my dear, sweet Powder Monkey carried the flag. One thing is for sure. People like beads. They really like beads. One thing they like more than regular beads are ‘special’ beads. In our case, it was Bunny beads. The Bunny beads were like crack cocaine to these people. Luckily, we had saved a slew of Bunny beads for the last few blocks of the parade; where some of the biggest crowds were going to be waiting. The only problem we had was one group of African-American’s that literally mobbed us and ran to the back of the van to grab beads. I actually had to tell a grown man to stop pulling the beads off my arm. Other than that, it was all good. Darlin' Bunny beaded as many puppies as she did people. Did I mention she loves animals?
Once again, as if on queue, just as the police cars at the end of the parade rounded the last corner, the rain started. We literally jumped in the van, closed the doors and went back to the house.
We wanted some photos of the crew on the beach, so we waited awhile to see if the rain would break. About 40 minutes later, we were headed to the ocean. It was high tide and the wind was fierce. We where holding hats on and hoping the flag wouldn’t take Josh’s arm off.
We struggled through pictures until the camera decided it was done. It was back to the house. While Steve stayed in costume, the rest of changed into Bunny attire. Darrell and I did wear our hats. We loaded up with some Bunny buttons and the last 20-30 strands of Bunny beads to head down toward the festival. It was sprinkling when we left, but nothing major. We stopped at String Ray’s to see what the wait was – 1 hour. No, we headed on down to the pier. As we got closer, the rain and the wind really picked up. Darrell wanted to run through the Thieves’ Market or what was left of it while Jesse checked on dinner. Darrell wanted to see one specific booth. By the time we made it, they were trying to keep the tent from blowing away and packing up the merchandise. We took a brief look and went join Jesse at ‘Fannie’s'. We lucked up and grabbed some chairs under the tiny bit of shelter around the restaurant. While it wasn’t bone dry, we weren’t getting soaked. We sat and people watched until our table was ready. It is amazing what some people wear or don’t wear – especially in very windy situations. Thong underwear must be a staple on Tybee Island.
During our wonderful fried dinner, we continued to people watch. Women in leather bikini tops, men dressed as mermaids, drunk, old men wandering by our table telling completely inappropriate dirty jokes. It was a memorable experience. With the rain outside, all the people had poured inside. The staff at 'Fannie's' was busting their tails to take care of everything. It was amazing to see the smiles appear as Darlin' and Powder Monkey started handing them Bunny beads. After dinner, we went outside to find it still raining with no sign of letting up. Our diligent Bosun volunteered to go get the van and pick us all up. Lucky us, we found our same ‘waiting for dinner’ chairs to continue our people watching. The unexpected flashers, the exhibitionist, the drunks, and just the plain stupid were great entertainment. As we sat there, Darlin’ noticed three people still working one of the very few vendor tents left in the Thieves’ market. She felt sorry for them and decided to run over and give them some Bunny beads. She took off in the rain, delivered her treasure and two hugs later came scurrying back. Evidently they had given up the ghost as well. She said they smelled like rum and where three sheets to the wind!
While enjoying all of this, guess who we run in to – Katrina, the Pirate Fest organizer. We had some great conversation, found out more about her and the festival; to make a long story short – she gave us a personal invitation back to next years PirateFest.
Soon after that, the Bosun’ came to our rescue and sailed us back to the house through the treacherous rain. We retired to the porch and enjoyed watching the rain and partaking of the bar. Then it was off to bed, or, for some, falling asleep sitting up on the sofa….. again.
Friday morning was our scheduled photo shoot at Fort Pulaski. We woke up to a cloudy sky. And while there was a threat of rain, you could not beat the temperature and the breeze. In hindsight, that cloudy morning was a forecast of the entire weekend.
We decided to skip breakfast so we could get to the Fort as early as possible. I had called earlier in the week to O.K. the shoot and they had been very accommodating to the request. I had not mentioned the weapons. When we arrived, Darlin’ and I went to the Visitor Center in hopes of getting the rapier, cutlass and three flintlocks into the Fort for the photo shoot. After a lovely conversation, the distribution of Bunny stickers to the Park employees and Rangers, and weapons inspection by the Park Rangers, everything was OK’d – much to my Bosun’s surprise.
For the next three to four hours, it was all about playing pirate. It took awhile to make it around the Fort. There were so many photo opportunities. We started at the top with one of the cannons. Then we switched sides to get the battle damaged wall and the sea channel behind us. Downstairs, there were windows, doors, jail cells and the catacombs. In between staging and taking our photos, we posed with other guests at the Fort; including children and a honeymooning couple.
After the photos, we changed and went looking for lunch. We were starved! Darlin' had been told about this great local place near the lighthouse. We went looking for it with no luck. Finally, we stopped at the first place we saw to get a meal. The Sugar Shack was far from the best but for a starved crew of pirates - that sandwich, French fries and ice cream was damn good! After lunch, we checked-out one of the local tacky tourist souvenir shops that we all love so well. It was called Waves and had the required large, fiberglass shark out front. It was a good little souvenir shop but not nearly as tacky as we had hoped – it was Tybee Island after all. Darlin' actually found her a shirt (can you call a tube top a shirt?) and Powder Monkey and I found the best plastic shoes ever!
The Bosun decided to ride down to the Southside of the island and scout the festival area. There we discovered even more tacky tourist shops. One thing about these shops on Tybee, most of them seem to carry the exact same merchandise. It was strange. There was one shop down on the right corner that had some different things and that is where I ended up buying my Tybee pirate t-shirt.
Once we made it back to the house, it was time to relax a little. After enjoying the porch swing for awhile, some of the crew decided it was time for a walk on the beach. I had a serious urge to put my feet in the water. We walked toward the Festivities. At the pier, we took a stroll through the Thieves Market and ran into Pirate Bob’s crew. Since we really had not come down prepared to shop, we headed back to the house to gather the rest of the crew for dinner.
We decided to try and find the elusive North Beach Grill for dinner. Now, one would think if you can’t find the place during the daytime how the hell are you going to find it at night? I guess that was the challenge. We drove, we looked and saw nothing. We had been told it looked more like a shack that restaurant but we had seen nothing! We pulled down this dead-end street to turn around and lo and behold, to our left, in a parking lot, we saw lights. Not restaurant lights, just Christmas lights around some trees and a deck. We debated. It could be someone’s house but it could also be North Beach Grill. We decided to give it a try. It took driving all the way over to realize it was indeed what we had been seeking. I don’t even recall if it had a sign. We parked and made it inside just before the rain started. It was a shack with screen windows and fans. The word fancy was no even in this places area code. The waitress recommended the ‘Tybee Tea’. This should have given us a hint of how good the food was going to be. The ‘Tea’ was strong. You could smell the alcohol as soon as the waitress put it on the table in front of you. As you took the first sip, it was amazing how fruity it was and how easy it was to drink. We had to know what was in it. We were told: Cruzan Mango rum, Pineapple rum, Coconut rum, Vanilla rum, Meyers rum with a splash of O.J. and cranberry juice. It was deliciously deadly. I’m glad Darrell and I just split one. Our Cabin Girl now has been tasked with reproducing this wonderful concoction.
The meal was amazing. I ordered Jerk Chicken. Darrell had ordered BBQ Salmon that came with peas, rice, and sweet potatoes. The food was very Caribbean influenced and the peas had a real kick but were so addictively good.
Good drink, excellent food and a big bill (and worth every penny) later, we were the most content pirate crew you had ever laid eyes upon. We waited for the next break in the rain and made a run for the van. It was back to the house for R&R on the big, beautiful porch. I don’t know what time we turned in (or in some cases – simply passed out on the sofa) but we were in no hurry getting up on Saturday.
Busy, busy, busy......
This past weekend, Tybee Island held its 4th Annual Pirate Fest and the Black Bunny Crew was there in force. The Crew arrived on Tybee Island late Thursday night.
Our Bosun had procured the crew a fantastic beach house on Butler Ave, right next to the IGA. It was a short, easy walk to all the festivities but far enough away that the chaos and noise were left behind. The house could easily sleep 7 in beds (if shared) with floor space for (I kid you not) another five or six, easy. The downstairs was a small apartment to itself. It had a king-size bedroom, a separate (and huge) sitting area with T.V., 2 bathrooms, a fridge, microwave and its own entrance and exit. Upstairs there was a small eating area (we never used), a small kitchen (perfect size), bathroom, 3 bedrooms and a den with T.V. and lastly and the most important was the screened porch. The screened porch went across the entire front of the house and down one whole side. It had multiple tables, plenty of chairs and two swings. Needless to say, this is where we spent most of our time when we were at the house. It even had a flag holder for the Black Bunny flag
The first evening, we unpacked and went for overnight supplies (water & soda). We all relaxed on the front porch while Jesse and Josh indulged in their pipes and flavored tobaccos. We turned in relatively early so we would be rested for our first full day.