May 23, 2024
Mysterious pirate life

Mysterious pirate life

The word pirate is shrouded in mystery. Many of us dreamed of becoming a pirate when we were children after reading the strange stories of pirates. Many books have been written, songs have been composed, great movies have been made about the stories of Mysterious pirate life, their expeditions etc.

At least one day in life who does not have to live like them! Floating in the blue sea, fighting ship to ship, recovering treasure, sailing towards the horizon, embarking on an adventure‚Ķ everything is quite exciting, isn’t it?

But was the life of pirates really so colorful and vibrant? All the stories those have come are true so far? Or is there a different story behind it? But let’s show you what daily life was like on their ships during the ‘Golden Age of Pirates’. After knowing that, maybe you will cancel the thought of becoming a pirate right now!

Eating of mysterious pirate life

Let’s start with the food. Pirates were usually at sea for months at a time. At that time there were no refrigerators or anything that could store food. As a result, food wastage was very common. So they had to take food that could last for a long time. Their food list consisted of salted meat, vegetables, bone soup, bread etc. Yet often the food was spoiled or smelly and they had to eat it.

Another food popular among pirates was known as hardtack or sea biscuit. These biscuits are made from flour, water and salt. No one would like to eat this very hard and dry food. The main reason they are taken on board as food is because they last a long time.

Even today, the two-in-one hardtack biscuits made in 1850 are still in use. However, one of the biggest downsides of this food is that it is very prone to insects. The sailors have given this food a name ‘Worm Castle’, meaning the castle of insects! Pirates devoured this hardtack.

Hearing this, a question may arise in the mind – if they live in the sea, why don’t they catch and eat fish? In fact, the mentality of pirates was not such that they would sit around with a whistle all day just to eat one bite of food. But as the saying goes, even a tiger eats grass in bad times. They also had to do this in that situation.


Pirates used to drink a lot of alcoholic beverages. Rum was a very popular drink among pirates of the Caribbean. Besides, beer, ale, mead, brandy, wine also went well. Not always that they buy them. Often when various ships were looting, they took these drinks on board along with other things.

Wine was their best friend to pass the time on the ship for a long time. Pirates used to mix some rum or brandy with the drinking water to make the water taste a little sweeter. That which is made by mixing water with Rum in this way is called Grog.

A good thing about this is that adding strong alcohol like rum or brandy to the water keeps the water free of bacteria for a long time. Besides, the water reserved for consumption would have an old smell because it had to stay on the ship for a long time. Adding rum or beer would remove that smell.

Ship environment

Usually the ships used by pirates were not very comfortable. There was no good ventilation. The large holes in the ship’s hull were used to hold out the muzzles of the cannons. All day long, there was a buzzing atmosphere on board the ship under the intense sun. Besides, there was always a strong stench here and there in the ship. Especially in the bottom of the ship, where there was always water.

The source was water or rainwater coming through a small hole in the hull of the ship. The water mixed with oil, dirt, dust etc. had a terrible stench. Besides, it was often added here after washing that some had vomited on board for sea-sickness.

The toilet facilities on the ship were also not very convenient. Most ships had a hole in the middle of a square piece of wood, which served as a toilet. Through the hole, the waste went straight into the sea. This toilet was called the head, as it was located at the front of most ships. Some ships had only ropes to hold on to and perform natural actions. Toilet paper was not invented then. Pirates usually used pieces of cloth, rope or sponges as toilet paper.

Sleeping place of mysterious pirate life

Only the ship’s captain or someone higher up had a cabin. The rest had to take up space on the ship’s deck or somewhere inside. No privacy concerns. Everyone had to sleep side by side with little space to accommodate more people. Many used hammocks or hanging beds to sleep. This is convenient at sea, as it does not disturb sleep for shipwrecks.

Cockroach was infested almost every ship. There is a good chance of cockroach walking on someone while sleeping. In addition to cockroach, there is also a possibility of rats, spiders, other common and poisonous insects on board. It is not surprising to be bitten by an insect in your sleep. And there are other such examples too.

The habit of being dirty

There was a possibility of shortage of food and water as pirates were at sea for a long time. That’s why clean water was not used for any purpose except for drinking and cooking. As a result, pirates had to live without bathing. Because the sea water was salty, no one bathed in that water. However, in the intense heat, some people tried to cool down by dipping their bodies in the water.

Pirates were usually afraid to go into the water because they believed in sea monsters. Many are not afraid of sharks. Again, strange as it sounds, many pirates did not take to the water because they did not know how to swim. In addition, there was a possibility of getting sick if the salty water went into the stomach by mistake when taking a bath.

Pirates didn’t even go to the trouble of washing clothes as there was no bathing. Usually they would spend months after wearing one cloth. Naturally their clothes were dirty. Besides, blood stains, sweat, parts of food that fell during eating or rum etc. would stick to the clothes as a result of various minor fights. They always had a foul smell from dirty clothes and unwashed clothes.


Due to dirty living, drinking stale food and drink, pirates suffered from various diseases. Many would also get sick from being in contact with a sick person. Pirates were most susceptible to scurvy. This disease was caused by the lack of vitamin C from the sea for a long time.

In this disease, the skin would become pale or strange spots would appear on the skin. Along with swelling of gums, hair-teeth fall etc. symptoms appeared. Many people died due to this disease. Besides, the pirates often had to deal with diseases like dysentery, cholera, diarrhea, malaria etc. By the seventeenth century, more pirates died from disease than from fighting.

When the pirates flocked to the shore, they brought with them various venereal diseases from the brothels. Sometimes they also caused death.

Medical system

It seems sense that a doctor would be needed on a pirate ship due to their hazardous lifestyle. However, after all that research, no doctor would risk his life to join a pirate group! Thus, having a doctor on board their ships was quite uncommon.

The main explanation for this is that, while not all ships carried physicians or surgeons, some of the largest pirates did! Those doctors were abducted in the majority of cases. John Devin, a surgeon, was employed on Henry Avery’s pirate ship. Surgeon Archibald Murray worked aboard three different pirate ships. Such instances are scarce.

Time Spending of mysterious pirate life

Pirates didn’t just hunt prey all day. Sometimes days went by without seeing a victim. Usually during these times various works of the ship were done. In addition to these, ships were occasionally damaged in battle and repaired at leisure. While looting various ships, pirates would take anything useful for ship repair to use on their own ships. As a result, the condition of their ships was quite good.

In the absence of these activities, alcohol was usually the main means of passing their time. They used to spend their days drunk on rum. Apart from alcohol, they used to spend time by smoking, gambling, talking, sharpening swords or knives, oiling pistols, target practice etc. However, sometimes the captain forbade smoking on board the ship, as the flames could cause accidents.

Pirates were also seen to pass the time by singing or playing musical instruments. Many pirate ships also had singers. Many people play musical instruments loudly even while hunting. It is also a psychological trick. In most cases, the men of the hunting ships would be frightened if they advanced towards the prey with loud drumming. And the pirates always wanted the victim to surrender because fighting means loss of blood, loss of manpower.

Pirates had also been seen attacking coastal villages when they couldn’t find prey at sea. But sometimes they did it just for fun.

Death of mysterious pirate life

A short life and a happy one.

The same is true for pirates. Mysterious pirate life is very short. Being registered as a bandit means cutting life expectancy by more than half. Due to dirty living, disease, death in battle, drowning in sea storms, lack of food and water etc., pirates have short life span. While not killed in battle while looting ships, many are wounded by swords or pistols. Even if they did not bleed to death, many would die of infection.

Apart from this, the law for pirates was very strict. If a pirate is caught, his only punishment is death. Pirates were publicly hanged and their bodies were left there to warn everyone of the punishment for being a pirate.

After hearing about the terrible life of pirates, you must be wondering why people join pirates? Actually different people had different reasons. Dismissed sailors, suffering from unemployment and destitution, boarded pirate ships. The problem of unemployment was then as it is now.

Also, a significant portion of the pirates were slaves. They would offer the slaves on board to become pirates while they looted the ships. The offer is tempting enough for slaves. Especially for those slaves who had lifelong slavery written on their foreheads. Because pirates come with both pay and freedom.

Similarly, the pirates offered good wages and food to the petty sailors on the ship. In most cases, those sailors boarded pirate ships voluntarily. Because petty sailors often had to endure various tortures. For example, not getting good food, getting low salary, sleeping all day etc.

Many criminals, except sailors, who were being pursued by the police, would easily join the ranks of pirates. Besides, children of pirates also grew up to be pirates. In many cases, people were recruited by pirates either by kidnapping or by force. Especially those who have skills in a particular job. For example, doctors, engineers etc.

The dark life of a pirate is something we don’t usually see in stories. There you can only see the pictures drawn by the imagination of the writers.

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