2 December 2018: Well, once again, I am late but with good cause (in my opinion!) - I have been kind of "hors de combat" with a total knee replacement and off my feet for a short while. I know, using a computer doesn't require standing per se, but getting to it does! So that's my excuse and I am sticking to it. Following is an interesting (to us) article I came across recently which sort of fits our model for Maritime Maunder. For those of you who might be "geographically challenged," Ile Sainte-Marie is a couple of miles off the coast of Madagascar.
For around 100 years, Ile Sainte-Marie was the off-season home of an
estimated 1,000 pirates. A recently discovered map from 1733 refers to it
simply as “the island of pirates.” Situated near the East Indies trade route,
the beautiful tropical island’s numerous inlets and bays made it the perfect
place to hide ships.
Pirates from all over the world lived in wooden huts,
adorned with flags that signified which captain’s “crew” they belonged to. It
was a pirate’s paradise. There were local women to satisfy their lust, and
plenty of tropical fruit to satisfy their hunger.
When one of the pirates died, they were buried on a scenic, palm shaded
hilltop cemetery overlooking the water. Today, 30 headstones remain, including
a few sketched with a skull and/or cross bones, the international symbol of
Legend has it that the notorious William Kidd is buried in a large
black tomb in the cemetery, sitting upright as punishment for his dastardly
deeds. He was actually buried in England, but his legendary ship, the Adventure
Galley (rediscovered in 2000), was left docked near the Island, and his booty
is said to be buried somewhere in the surrounding sea. In fact, the prospect of
undiscovered treasure, from at least half a dozen documented shipwrecks off the
coast, continues to lure adventurous explorers to this very day.
The pirates were off Ile Sainte-Marie by the late 1700s, when the French
forcibly seized the island. It was returned to Madagascar in 1960. Today, Ile Saint-Marie
is a thriving tourist destination. The crumbling cemetery, its graves half
covered by tall, swaying grass, is open to the public. It is an ironically
peaceful and still place, filled with the bones of violent and restless men.
So if you find yourself in the neighborhood of Madagascar with time on your hands, it sounds like a day trip to Ile Sainte-Marie might be of interest.
Until next time, (and yes, my knee is healing nicely; thank you for asking!