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Life at Sea

Author: Krzysztof Wilczynski

It’s safe to assume that life at sea was one great bore for pirates. A great contrast from land life: sailing meant weeks of boredom searching for prey, with only intermittent bursts of excitement as victims were sighted boarded and then plundered. With nothing to occupy the attention of bloodthirsty pirates, conflicts, and ultimately fights were common. It was at such times that the captain intervened, and controlled them with either fear or respect. The captain did not have the last word, as in many cases the pirate vessel was run democratically. As with any long voyage in those days, food preservation presented a major challenge for pirates. Pirates would stock up on bottled beer before a long voyage, as water would soon become undrinkable, due to its salty taste. The pirates primarily ate hard tack (long-lasting biscuits); although for longer voyages limes would be provided as a source of vitamin c. If they were lucky, the pirates would have a few hens on board the ship, which would provide both fresh eggs and meat. The pirates found a seemingly unlimited supply of meat with the turtles that thrived in the Caribbean. As well as being delicious, these turtles were easy prey for the pirates.

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