Yo ho ho: Pirate enthusiasts gather at Quebec City port to have fun, 'maybe make some gold'

About 50 people who enjoy dressing up as pirates were busy entertaining the crowd as they waited to get on one of the ships.

50 hearties looked to 'cause some havoc,' but waited in line like everybody else

Pirate enthusiasts got together at the Quebec City port, where tall ships are docked as part of the Tall Ships Regatta. (Saroja Coelho/CBC)

Pirating, it turns out, is a very democratic process. 

In true egalitarian pirate fashion, Marc Ste-Marie and fellow pirate enthusiast Bernard Boivin co-organized a pirate gathering Saturday in the Port of Quebec City, where tall ships have gathered for an international regatta. 

"Everyone is equal, everyone has the same part of the booty," said Ste-Marie, referring to the pirate word for treasure.

About 50 pirates were busy entertaining the crowd as they waited to get on one of the ships.

"Because we are modern pirates … we are waiting in line like everyone else," Samuel Venière told CBC Quebec Breakaway host Saroja Coelho.

Captain Barra, also known as Bernard Boivin, co-organized a gathering of pirate enthusiasts at the Quebec City port. (Saroja Coelho/CBC)

The pirates came from the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec and as far away as Nova Scotia for a day of shivering me timbers, drinking rum and mock mutinies. 

The Crimson Knots, a Nova Scotian pirate crew, are carrying on the democratic tradition in their piracy.

The group of nine friends has a vote if someone wants to join and if that person is voted in, "we have some rule, mostly about sharing treasure, and if they think they can abide by the rules, we induct them into the crew," said Richard Flint, whose pirate name is Iron Dick Flint. 

They will be inducting a new pirate later this month.

Richard "Iron Dick" Flint and his partner Molly Pinchbottom came from Halifax for the pirate gathering at the Port of Quebec City. (Saroja Coelho/CBC)

"It's just fun because there are no rules," said Molly Pinchbottom, who drove from Nova Scotia with Flint for the event.

"If it's not fun, we don't do it," she said.

"We wish perhaps to cause some havoc."

Pinchbottom was wearing sailor attire, which is what female pirates used to wear, with a checkered shirt. The pattern was popular among pirates in the past, she said. 

She also explained why pirates wore bandanas under their hats: "It holds the hat on in the strong wind."

Christian Herring, a Scottish pirate, and his family dressed as pirates for fun at the Quebec City port. (Saroja Coelho/CBC)

When Venière isn't being a pirate, he moonlights as a local historian and often participates in re-enactments on the Plains of Abraham. 

Venière tries to make his costumes as accurate as possible. For example, he says pirates would dress their best on land. With his friends, he participates as a pirate in events and parties, singing pirate hits like "Drunken Sailor."

"When you're at sea with a crew of pirates, it means adventure — and everyone likes adventure."

Samuel Venière is a local historian who moonlights as a pirate, and joined the gathering at the Quebec City port Saturday, July 22, 2017. (Saroja Coelho/CBC)

Christian Herring is a Scottish pirate, like the notorious William Kidd, Jack Ward and Red Leg Greaves, he says, who roamed the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. 

Herring is part of a crew that calls itself Les frères de la Côte Est and makes his own costume, except for the bottle of rum.

"For festival de la Nouvelle-France here in Quebec, we always come dressed like this," he says. "There are many occasions to dress as a pirate."

Saturday, he came with his partner and young lads, who were all sporting their own pirate garb.

Captain Barra, also known as Bernard Boivin, co-organized a gathering of pirate enthusiasts at Quebec City's port Saturday, July 22, 2017. (Saroja Coelho/CBC)

Bernard Boivin, who co-organized the pirating event, calls himself "Captain Barra." He said the plan was "walking around the street, having fun with tourists, visiting the tall ships and maybe try to make some gold."

Ste-Marie, who also put the event together, had prepared a whole banquet, complete with spit-roasted pork.

He says he fell in love with pirates from watching shows and movies about them, such as Captain Harlock, as a child. 

In his native Saguenay, he and about 100 others dressed as privateers get together in a pub once or twice a month.

The outfits were colourful and layered, and ranged seas and eras. One man even brought his parrot. (Saroja Coelho/CBC)

With files from Saroja Coelho