The pirates came ashore Saturday amidst the sounds of cannon and musket fire, quickly outnumbering the red-coated British soldiers assembled on the dock.
Thousands of revelers awaited the landing along the waterfront, which turned out to be a relatively peaceful affair. Peaceful, that is, once the swashbucklers successfully kidnapped the governor – or at least the man playing the part of governor for the annual rite kicking off the Pirates Week parade.
Thousands of people lined up along the waterfront in central George Town, eyes shaded by tricorn pirate hats and making frequent use of the word “arrhh.” Many went all the way, from toddlers to grandmothers, embracing the full pirate persona.
As the pirates paraded through town, sword fights and the accompanying sound of clashing steel became a not-unusual sight, along with the best-dressed pirates stopping to pose for photos with tourists and children.
It may be Pirates Week, but the theme of the entertainment before the landing was more about extreme sports. A duo donning Flyboards, essentially water jet boots, showed off what the boots could do, swimming like dolphins before emerging out of the water and hovering 20 feet in the air. Another performer on a powerful Jet Ski did flips and barrel rolls, wowing onlookers with tricks in Hog Sty Bay.
A Red Bull-sponsored “slackline walker,” Alex Mason, performed flips and acrobatics along a form of tightrope suspended a few feet in the air across Harbour Drive.
The skies at times Saturday looked threatening, but rain stayed away for the most part from the main festivities.
In the parade, the float from East End took a shot at some of the cruise berthing debates, featuring a makeshift cable car, one of several creative alternatives to a cruise dock to emerge in recent months.
An AIDA cruise ship stopped in port Saturday with about 2,000 passengers, many of whom took tenders straight to the street party.
Pirates Week signals the beginning of the annual District Heritage Days, starting with George Town on Monday, followed by East End, West Bay, North Side, Bodden Town/Savannah, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Each district will host a celebration with food, entertainment and culture.
The festivities will continue throughout the week, until the Sentencing of the Pirates on Harbour Drive on Saturday, Nov. 21, followed by the final street party of the Pirates Week festivities. Sunday will wrap up with a 10K run at 7 a.m. at Calico Jack’s to work off all the rum consumed during the previous week.