scenic blue water with white sandy beach and greenery

Adventures of a Modern Pirate: September 2019

“When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” – Albert Einstein, explaining his Theory of Relativity.

And those were my feelings halfway through the summer of 1985 with my uncle and friends. Like courting the nice girl, everything felt like seconds you couldn’t contain. But encapsulated within a Grumman HU-16 Albatross, life suddenly lasted for hours as I absorbed every second like a sponge. 

Man, I miss those days! Before the dot-com age, GPS, smartphones and companies like Apple, Google and Facebook seemingly tracking our every move. When doing wild things fell under the radar of the authorities, who, at the time, depended on antiquated satellites, landlines, the FAA’s aging radar system, and a pilot’s prerogative. Many times, I wonder what our lives would be like had Bill Gates and Steve Jobs not invented the technology that propelled us into the ever-present eye of the Orwellian overseer: government and the authorities. Their inventions enabled the powers-that-be to grow an ever watchful eye, all in the name of “safety.” 

I count my pirate blessings I had the opportunity of experiencing the days before big tech! When I could take a picture without the device marking the location without my permission. 

Behind me, a saltwater rooster tail extended behind us as the large seaplane flew higher and higher, gaining altitude. When we finally leveled off, the hum of the radial engines was music to the soul. Below, I saw the fleeting view of the island eventually disappear beneath my window. I watched as the flaps closed and things quieted down. I had the odd sensation being inside the belly of the plane that she was alive and happy doing what she was designed for. It was surreal! We were onward toward new adventures!

I stood in the doorway leading into the cockpit. The cluster of gauges before my eyes was vast and comprehensive of all things avionics. Past the windshield, I saw open ocean dotted with white clouds along a blue sky. 

“Technically, I’m not supposed to be here,” Peter said. “But she just had her engines overhauled and this is a break-in period.” 

“Got it,” my uncle replied. “Nothing ever happened.” 


“Where are we headed?” I interrupted.

“First, we’ll refuel in Nassau,” Peter said. “Then Rum Cay.”

I always prefer a pirate’s prerogative.

Gotta get back to my coconut concoctions . . .

This column is part of an ongoing story of tales from the past that continues each month. Read Josh’s previous columns here:

To read more about Josh’s new novel, click here!

Joshua MacLeod is a NSB local and a Florida native. He is the author of Savage Tango and Chasing Latitudes. He lives with his dogs, Durango, Higgins and Oscar.

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