Life on the ocean wave

We woke up to a lovely, warm sunny day and decided to head out for a walk and a cup of tea.

We thought we would go to the cafe at the end of the causeway leading up to Pigeon island, so imagine our surprise when we discovered a building site where the cafe should have been.

The reason?…. the whole island was under restoration.

Pigeon Island or Guvercin Adasi is a small island by the port in Kusadasi, it’s surrounded by fortified walls and there is a small castle in the middle, all of which are being restored by an army of workers.

pigeon island

There has been a castle on the island since the  Byzantine era, it was rebuilt by the Ottomans and they used the island as a protection against pirate attacks.

Piracy in the Aegean Sea has been a problem for many many years. In ancient Cilicia, in south east Turkey, there was a community of pirates who terrorised the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. In 75 BC Julius Caesar was taking a voyage across the Aegean and was captured by Cilician pirates and was ransomed for 50 talents of gold, after his release he raised a fleet, captured the pirates and put them to death.

During the Ottoman period the most famous pirates of all time were the Barbarossa brothers, Ajur and Hizir. They were Barbary Pirates, so named because they hailed from Tunis, Tripoli and Algiers,  AKA the Barbary Coast.

From the 16th century a Barbary pirate’s primary goal, as well as plundering and pillaging, was the capture of white slaves for sale and use in North Africa.  An estimated 800,000 to 1.25 million people were captured as slaves between the 16th and 19th century.

The work is really coming along and it’s looking great. But I hope that they remember to build a cafe there so that the next time we feel like a cup of tea in a beautiful setting we’ll be able to go there.

Ahoy me hearties

On Saturday night I went out with some of the staff from where I worked before I got ill. One of the nurses was leaving to start a new job and we all went on a trip around Bristol docks on the Matthew.

The Matthew is the boat that John Cabot sailed in when he discovered America before Columbus. He was an Italian but made his home England, he set off from Bristol in 1497 originally heading for Asia to search for traders. But navigation was obviously not his strongest skill as he ended up at the Americas on the coast of what is now known as Newfoundland.

The replica that we sailed around the docks in was built in 1996 ready for the 500 year anniversary of the voyage and on May 26th 1997 the new Matthew made the same journey as John Cabot did.

The theme of the evening was pirates, so we all stepped out in our best fancy dress. It’s not an unusual sight to see pirates in Bristol there is a long history of piracy in the West country. One of the most famous pirates, Blackbeard, was a Bristolian. His real name was Edward Teach, was born in 1680 and married over a dozen women bigamously. He captained the Queen Anne’s Revenge, a captured slave ship, with a 500 strong gang. They terrorised the American coast and the West Indies for years and were responsible for over 2000 deaths. He eventually died in a bloody battle with pirate hunters, he was shot 5 times and had multiple sword cuts.

In my neck of the woods we take the annual International talk like a pirate day on 19th September very seriously and to help all of you who want to join in, here are some well known pirate phrases for you to practice:

Ahoy – Hello

Arast – Stop and give attention or Check it out or No way!

Aye – Yes

Arrrr! – I agree

Shiver me timbers – exclamation of surprise

Me hearties – My friends

Landlubber – someone who stays on dry land and is rubbish at being a pirate!