Sarah Graves, here, bracing herself for Eastport’s last blast of the season: it’s time once more for the Pirate Festival. This year at the fish pier we have a special guest, the Bounty, a replica of the ship made famous by Fletcher Christian’s revolt against William Bligh in 1789. As you probably know, some of the mutineers ended up on Pitcairn Island, in whose bay some remains of the original HMS Bounty are still submerged after most of it was burned. This replica ship, built in 1960 for the film Mutiny on the Bounty, barely escaped a similar fiery fate when filming was done. But instead (according to her website and Wikipedia; I don’t know this stuff off the top of my head) she was rescued by Marlon Brando, bought by Ted Turner, and eventually acquired by the Bounty Foundation; you might recognize her from the Pirates of the Caribbean films. She’s also been in Boothbay Harbor twice for repairs and refurbishing; right now, she’s ending her 2012 East Coast sail here in Eastport and will be allowing visitors to board as part of the pirate festivities while she’s in port. (Photo by Leasa Garvin)
The tall ship isn’t the only attraction over the three-day — September 7th,8th, & 9th — festival. There’s a pirate parade, a bed race, the Pirate Ball, fireworks, a pirate-themed pet show, and an underwater pirate treasure hunt, to name but a few of the events planned for the piratical weekend. For 72 hours there’ll be more peg legs and eyepatches than you can shake a cutlass at. And the amount of grog downed by all the wenches and scallywags will probably be enough to float the Bounty right back out into Passamaquoddy Bay, where after her visit she’ll head for some well earned time off — yard time, they call it in pirate-speak.
In Eastport, we too are heading for time off. From the hoopla of summer, anyway: Already the streets are less busy. This weekend they’ll fill again with fun and commotion, but after that the trend is to darker, colder, silent days and long nights of empty motel parking lots and closed up summer places without any lights in their windows. The visitors go home, the kids go off to school….the sudden absence of population pressure is a shock, not entirely pleasant at first. But this very quiet life is what’s normal, here. For nine months of the year Moose Island is more like Pitcairn than like Manhattan.
Not quite yet, though. Arrgh!