The fun was starting by no other than Charles Mario he was horsing around with one of the crew members and side kicked him with all two feet of his bony leg. His pants down pass his bony knees he was a funny sight to see. I met all these rough and dirty sailors there was: grasshopper the Spaniard, Omar the Mexican by way of North Africa, goose the want to be boss of the top side sailors, King the west African sharpshooter, Porta Rico the charmer, Red the ruff neck boss top side and riggers the boss. Below decks was Rudy and Peg leg and Jewels what a motley crew we are. With nothing but water all around us you would think that we would be clean as can be, yet water was gold and it was not to be wasted on dirty sailors or gun crews. Boom, boom, as the cannon balls hit the side of Queen of the Caribbean it would take a larger shell to go through the mahogany wood of Roatán, it took days for the carpenters to cut the planks that were now the ships armor. I was so lost in my thoughts about the crew I forgotten that we were being attack by pirates. “To your stations!” the boatswain mate yelled out. “Man, the guns!” I replied! “Belay that order.” the first mate replied we put up the jolly roger and let them know that we are hunters also!
Up went the flag and still no reply but more shots by the smaller ship. It’s time to let them know who we are said Captain Jack the French soldates came up from their hole at the bottom desks and one hundred of them a full company let go a murderous fire on the other ships main deck clearing it of all personal. Up went the white flag of surrender and there would be no terms or parlay. Their foolish Captain was killed and we found them to be British fresh out of Liverpool on a slavers run when they found out that the British squadron was patrolling the oceans. We added them to the crew and maned their ship with the same French Guardsmen that killed so many of their brothers. We now had an extra ship and that meant that we had more to feed. I knew that the Captain would invade the nearest island and plant the French flag there. The nearest island was Islas de la Bahia, I knew that the fleet had to refit and what better place now that we have an extra gun ship.
Once the island came into view, we could tell from our gun ports in the bottom deck that it was undefended. That is when that evil boatswain mate ordered us to clean the horse’s stables in the cargo hole. I am now in charge of the bucket brigade. Now this is one job that most of the crew look down on, but we found out that the waste from the animals grew great vegetables if you were smart enough to bring seeds with you on a long voyage. Which we were and a bright place to grow your food with out anyone being the wiser. We found that under the poop deck was a very bright place and one that caught the pee from the sailors and the French, plus the added benefit of looking at French ladies. Oh, I better not say that! When you been sailing as long as I have you get to know that you got a gold mine at every chance you get.
Once we landed the French went ashore and planted their flag and one companies 1st unit of twenty-five soldates established their government over this small island with just twenty-five French men it was now part of the new French overseas territories. No doubt in my mind that they will marry two native woman per man and build a French nation. We took on fresh water and food stuff and my company found seeds of corn to plant in our ever growing garden under the poop deck. By the time we left the islands of Roatán many of the Africans had left the service of the Queen of the Caribbean and set up their own little colonies. Much to the discomfort of the Boatswain mate who was an old English sea man who thought that this was a life work for the crew members. You were free to go at any time you could only take what you had. And many of the crew saved every penny that they earned to set themselves up down here in the Iles. Time to prepare for the weather, the fleet was short now on manpower and we now were two-gun ships and four sloops and one barge. A very impressive fleet still considering what we started off with.
Although we still had no big prize money yet. At five bells the storm hit the fleet we dropped anchor to slow us down and chained the sloops together and weathered the storm. When you look up and the ship is down, and the waves are up that is what they call becoming a sailor and old salt. Many of the crew were getting sick and had to stay tied to one another above deck. As the wind picked up throwing the big ships up and down and back and forth the crews of the sloops were glade that the captain made them leave their small ships and get on the two-gunships for their own protection. I have been in a many storms, but this was the mother of them all. I saw big bad men crying and praying hugging one another for dear life the people up top were tied down to keep them on the ship as we went through this hell. As we were thrown about like so many rag dolls it came to me that the best way to weather this storm was to go to sleep and so I was in dream land remembering when I was young in France running around in the streets of Saint Louis. How the other kids would mock my dark complexion at the same time trying to get as dark as me. I was the big guy in the playground and the defender of the weak. I was the Don Juan to all the pretty little girls. Oh, how they loved me and admire me they were the good old days before the revolution. After the Revolution it was citizen this and citizen that, are you a loyalist or a republican. My father was made the interior commissioner because he could not only read and write but because he was a noble of the lesser nobility that was harassed by the upper class for not being well off and well born.
Join us next time as we move to better situations