Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Legal Pirates and a Roman God

My day at the Tall Ships Festival in Dana Point Harbor was filled with fond memories of the brig Pilgrim, fabulous tall ships, and scallywag pirates, which I wrote about in my last two blogs. But there was more to see and enjoy that day, including some privateers and a Roman god.

Remember the cute rat pirate I wrote about in my last blog? Well, as I was talking to his "daddy," I learned that he wasn't really a pirate, but rather a privateer. "There's a difference," he told me. Pirates plundered for their own gain, but a privateer plundered for the queen or king depending on the country he was working for.

If the privateer was a "sea dog," which meant he was working for Queen Elizabeth I of England, it meant that he had a legal right to attack enemy ships and plunder their gold for the crown. The ship would be licensed and carry a letter with the queen's seal permitting attacks without fear of punishment. In exchange, the queen received a share of all plunder and increased the size of her navy without having to pay the crew, maintain, or supply them.The best known privateer is Sir Francis Drake who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I. What a fascinating bit of history!

I have a question for you: How often have you gone out to enjoy the day and you just happened to run into a Roman god? Well, I did and he was amazing! His name in real life is Lou, but for that day he was the Roman god Neptune, god of the sea in Roman mythology. He was 8 feet tall (okay, not really, but it sure felt that way standing next to him) and he had put together a frothy green costume that really looked like he had just walked out of the sea with sea shells growing out of his head.

The kids looked up at him as if he touched the sky and had magic spilling out of his trident! And, of course, they all had to have their pictures taken with him. Can you imagine what their friends and teachers said when they went back to school and told them they had met Neptune!

Well, I can't finish my blogging about the Tall Ships Festival without sharing a photo of a gorgeous exotic bird. There were several on display just outside the Institute. This one was my favorite, because he had such spunk. Every time I tried to take his picture, he would try to eat my camera lens! What a guy. There are more photos of the other birds I saw as well as all the splendid things I saw that day. Please stop by my website and enjoy looking at them, and while you're there, please sign my guestbook.

Next time train robbers and the cavalry. It's a another fun step back into history. Until then. . .

Go forth and make it a day to learn something fascinating!

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