Randy and I first attended the Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival last year. Our friend, Mary Kay hooked us up with pirate costumes and we all went out. It was a blast and we decided then that we wouldn’t miss this event again.
This year, we decided to get off the dock and take Blue Turtle just north of the Mantanzas Bridge and drop anchor. This made it convenient to ding over to the dinghy dock so we could attend the festivities.
On Friday evening, Randy and I took the dinghy ashore in costume to meet up with friends at Nervous Nellies. As we arrived at the dinghy dock, we had a lot of stares and some actually cheering (or was it heckling?) at the restaurant. What — don’t pirates usually arrive by boat? Sheesh! After dinner and drinks we made our way towards Times Square and landed at La Olas. Randy had his pet fake parrot on his shoulder like last year, but somehow deflected most attention this year (probably because he wasn’t asking people if they wanted to pet his bird!). I did manage to snap some shots of him with fellow parrot-accompanied pirates. We decided to head home after La Olas, but as we passed Pete’s Time Out we heard and rowdy pirate band playing. We went into Pete’s and found a whole music crew in pirate attire with a banjo, fiddle, drum, guitar, etc. Captain Tom decided to buy a round of Jameson shots for everyone and they would spontaneously break out in song. They were excellent and we ended up seeing them play on the Salty Sam’s Pirate Ship during the cannon battle as well as on stage at Nervous Nellies the next day.
On Saturday a.m., Randy took the dinghy ashore to drive and pick up Corey. When they returned, we had a quick lunch and got in the dinghy to watch the pirate ships battle with cannons. We anchored near the Moss Marine docks so we could have a good view of the ships and the cannons being fired from shore next to Nervous Nellies. There were 3 ships in the battle all with fully dressed pirate crew with guns and cannons, however, it was the land cannon that made the loudest boom and most smoke (check out the video below). The battle went on for a half hour and the ships were determined the winners. After the battle, we made a quick stop by the boat to make sure Sophie wasn’t shaken up too much from the noise and then we headed to shore to explore the booths and exhibits. After touring the sites, we then ended up at the Lani Kai for a rum runner and Randy and Corey decided to join the limbo contest. Both Randy and Corey did well, however, they didn’t win. We had an early dinner at Island View (restaurant on the top floor of Lani Kai) and headed back to the boat so Corey could go kayak fishing.
On Sunday, Corey had a golf tournament to go to, so we took him to shore to meet up with his mom. After that, Randy and I decided to stay another night on hook. We went to shore later that afternoon to meet Mary Kay and Tom at Doc Ford’s for a drink. We enjoyed a wonderful evening and sunset and really loved having the extra day on hook.