What Your SeaFair Pirates Arrr Reading

When they’re not hoisting the Jolly Roger or broadsiding a parade crowd with their cannons, the Seafair pirates love to weigh anchor with a good book, just like the rest of us. When asked, they’ll admit that Readin’ is their favorite of the “Three Arrrs!” So here me hardies is a brace of the saltiest and swashbucklingest yarns found across the seven seas.

The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists, by Gideon DeFoe. We all know pirates enjoy a good laugh, and few nautical yarns are more hilarious than Defoe’s zany series of misadventures in which the likes of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx and Napoleon rub shoulders with the Pirate Captain and his motley crew of rapscallions and rascals, including my personal favorite: the pirate with the nut allergy. Continue reading “What Your SeaFair Pirates Arrr Reading”

There be Pirates!

Whether it be the sight of black sails of the Black Pearl upon the horizon or the roaring sound of the amphibious landing craft Moby Duck storming Alki Beach, pirates throughout history have been feared and romanticized by myth and legend. And once again, the most famous Pirates in Seattle return for the yearly storming of Alki Beach for the enjoyment of the thousands who come to be entertained.

The Seafair Pirates first banded together in 1949 to promote Seattle and everything Seafair while serving the community with appearances in hospitals and nursing homes. Despite the emphasis of Seafair during the summer months, the Pirates make appearances at charity events, parades, and fundraisers year round. Continue reading “There be Pirates!”

Explore your Inner Captain: Great Reads about Nautical Pioneers

Ah, sailing: the full sail puffed up with pride, the wind whipping through my hair, the salty scent of brackish water. At least, for the next 89 minutes. Then I have to return the rental boat. 

The beautiful waterways in and around Seattle inspire us with dreams of great voyages, whether you’ve got  Old Salty moored in Lake Union or you don’t know a tiller from a topmast. If, like me, you just can’t get enough time on the water this summer, these stories of nautical pioneers are sure to slake your thirst for seafaring adventures. 

Pirate of Exquisite MindA Pirate of Exquisite Mind:  The Life of William Dampier, Explorer, Naturalist, and Buccaneer by Diana and Michael Preston
This real-life Jack Sparrow resembles our favorite fictional pirates: even as he sets sail for daring and exotic adventures, he maintains a rich ethical and intellectual life.  Better still, he has left the lasting legacy of a real man.  If you’ve ever used a barbecue, seen a zebra, or read Gulliver’s Travels, you have touched the journey of this fantastic figure. 

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time by Dava Sobel
Eccentric geniuses, fierce competition, large sums of money and dysfunctional relationships.  This compelling history of the struggle to discover an accurate way of measuring longitude while at sea would have made the best reality TV of the 1700s. 

Sailing alone around the worldSailing Alone around the World by Joshua Slocum
The first man to circumnavigate the globe by himself shares the joys and terrors of his historic voyage.  His detailed nautical descriptions will appeal to the most seasoned sailor, but his knack for encapsulating a natural wonder or a tense situation in a few poignant words can’t miss with the landlubber. 

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
A fantastic introduction to seafaring for adults and children.  The life story of Nathaniel Bowditch, a mathematical prodigy who profoundly affected nautical almanacs, also conveys a wealth of information about ships and sailing.  Bowditch’s extraordinary ability to pursue his dreams despite overwhelming obstacles is a powerful example which transcends the maritime context. 

        ~ Audrey, Central Library

Seafair means Pirates

Ahoy mates! Shiver me timbers and all that pirate talk.  It’s Seafair in Seattle and for many folks that means the Pirates are in town.  With their booming cannon and boisterous pranks the Seafair Pirates give the kids of Seattle a delicious shiver and scary dreams.  Watching the Pirates kidnap shrieking kids and drag their swords along the sidewalk sending up showers of sparks reminds us of our favorite pirate stories.  Stories where the dangers or debauched pirates are safely between the covers of a book or on the silver screen.

If you would rather read about the Seafair Pirates than encounter them in the wild, we’ve got  books, magazine, a cookbook and sheet music!

Pirate Kings: an oral history of the Seafair Pirates, a magazine devoted to the Seafair Pirates and their history
Seafair: fifty years of memories, by Seafair Inc.
At the Seafair : Seattle’s Seafair, words and music by Dick Dennison
Seafair cook book, by St. Andrew’s-by-the-Lake Episcopal Church, Seattle

If you prefer your pirates farther from home – safely anchored in history, perhaps you’d like these books.

The complete Terry and the Pirates, by Milton Caniff.  The classic pirate comic reissued in 3 comprehensive volumes.  Take a trip back to your childhood and Sundays spent reading the newspaper on Continue reading “Seafair means Pirates”