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© Alaska Whale Foundation. Photo taken under NMFS permit 19703.

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The Scottish Dolphin Centre was swarming with little pirates last Sunday as we invited everyone to join the Spey Bay crew for Pirate Day! We honestly hadn’t anticipated for so many visitors to come and answer our call. What an amazing little festival! The air was buzzing with laughter and the occasional ‘Ahoy me hearties!’ shout from kids returning to the shop claiming their share of gold after successfully finishing Blackbeard’s treasure hunt. I am so happy about all the kind words from visitors appreciating the effort we made in offering many different activities and all the kids seemed to have had a great time.

The idea was to spread the activities over the whole centre area and include all the sights we have to offer. So we had our two captains on the lookout from shorewatch hill, trying to spot dolphins and Nessie who came to say hello for the day. Anyone who fancied getting a proper pirate makeover got his chance there as well, as our face painters were busy with flying brushes. The families had a chance to explore the whole centre area a bit while following the clues of the treasure hunt, leading them to the beautiful sundial close to the ice house entrance. Between our regular tours, we staged the ‘Walk the plank’ game in the depths of the ice house, were the kids could test their balancing skills amidst threatening shark fins and a cheering crowd. Of course, there was a little shiny and sweet prize to be gained as well. Everyone could make their own pirate flag in the exhibition area or equip themselves with a proper hook hand. Furthermore, the little pirates could design their own little paper boats with personalized sails. For the really ambitious crafters, we had the origami parrot challenge on offer. Outside on the green, everyone got a chance to practice throwing a rescue line to a pirate in distress at the coast guard stand which had more than a hundred takers as well!

Fun activities

And let’s not forget our big best dressed competition. It was a very hard job choosing the best amongst all the fearsome little pirates but we had to make a choice in the end. The air was brimming with anticipation as we announced the winner surrounded by all the excited participants. William Peters was the lucky chap and he was positively beaming when we presented his prize, the amazing treasure chest cake made by our skilled café staff member Laura who had outdone herself once again. Generally, I think the whole staff providing everyone with food and drinks were the true heroes of the day. From the ship’s cooks in the kitchen and outside at the barbecue to the all the little helpers running back and forth, dodging around visitors and serving everyone with a smile, they were all outstanding. The pirate dessert buffet was a delicious eye catcher and the kitchen crew created all of these little pieces of art in only two days! After a long and busy day, all the food stocks were emptied and every visitor left happy and fed, a great success for the whole centre!

Pirate cuisine

As one of the main coordinators of this event, I want to thank all the visitors who came by to make this day so special and I hope a lot of you will come back next year! Also, my gratitude goes to my fellow crew members who worked so hard and all joined in the theme, going out of their way to dress up as pirates (and pirate pets) and spreading the spirit throughout the event and the days before. It was a great experience and good fun but you made it awesome! 

Hard working pirates!