Random Asides

Brief update from Evelyn('s mom)

Evelyn’s mom just told me that Evy’s boat was attacked (threatened?) by pirates, but the crew scared them off with flare guns. This is, to say the least, unconfirmed, but I guess everyone is okay and I’m also guessing the pirates didn’t actually board the boat. Hopefully more info will come from Evelyn. In the meantime, here’s a pirate scarecrow they made. Apparently.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon mstdn.social/@rebeccawatson Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky @rebeccawatson.bsky.social

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  1. That is just nuts. As scary as that is though, part of me can't help but be just a tiny bit envious. How many people can actually say they've fought off pirates.

  2. Yikes! I hope they STAY scared off…that's just too scary.

    And, on a lighter note, I have a diseased mind: My first thought, upon reading that the boat had been attacked (threatened?), was a pirate ship full of Johnny Depps making lecherous advances on Evelyn's boat. The flareguns repelled the pirates because, in short, who wants a flare to the crotch? I have no idea why this was the first scenario to enter my head… At least THAT kind of attack is only frightening in the "dirty pirates have STDs" sense, and is less scary than the real ordeal must have been.

    Regardless, I wish Evelyn a pirate-lechery free remainder of her voyage!

  3. I've studied Pirates a very great deal.

    Modern ones are to be feared, MUCH more so than the 17th century ones we think of when the name is involked.

    Back then, you got a ransom back home or, as often as not, a chance to join the crew, not so much these days.

    I hope all is well,


  4. Real pirates = very scary and I hope Evelyn is fine. Johnny Depp pirates not so scary and I don't think I would be firing flare guns although pushing them into a shower might be a good idea.

    Hmmm, Johnny Depp in a hot, steamy, wet shower …

    I have to go now.



  6. And yet, Johnny Depp is not who I prefer to think of when thinking of pirates. I'll go with Keira …

  7. Damn that's scary! Pirates would kill you just as soon as go fishing. It's a little hard to believe they would have been scared by flares like the ignorant savages in old movies.

    Rebecca used "unconfirmed" and "guess" in this entry. Are we sure miss Evelyn is okay?

  8. Damn scary. As others have noted, contemporary pirates are not a joke or the stuff of Hollywood fantasy. Hoping that Evelyn and her shipmates are safe…

  9. Shoot, Rodney et al. are right – modern pirates are scary in a way like car-jacking is scary. A few weeks ago I mentioned Evelyn's envious seafaring trip to my step-mother and she mentioned a couple she knew who had been sailing in those parts – they found the boat, the couple was never seen again. Based on what they found they attributed their disappearance to pirates. I'm not a gun-toting kind of person, but I'd seriously consider arming myself on such travels.

    Glad everyone is OK and I hope that's the first and last encounter! I'm curious to hear the details.

  10. Briarking wrote:

    Damn that’s scary! Pirates would kill you just as soon as go fishing. It’s a little hard to believe they would have been scared by flares like the ignorant savages in old movies.

    Much would depend on what those flares were aimed at …

  11. Shades of the "Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou".

    It's my understanding that in general pirates aren't really looking for a fight, so any sign of resistence can be enough to scare them off. They probably didn't stick around to see get a ID on the flare guns and simply skeedaddled.

  12. Yeah. There's also the fact that during night battles, flares are often used to illuminate targets before opening up on them with weapons fire. ;) So a smart pirate would think twice about ignoring a flare fired their way.

    And of course a flare could also start a fire, and fire on a ship is a very bad thing.

  13. all I got was an early morning phone call from Singapore, so yes everyone is safe. She was in far more danger from the giant rogue wave. Now that is a scarey photograph!

    Look, think MIT grad students with pirates after their laptops. The pirates never stood a chance. Most of the crew of the ship are ex military, so I think the pirates just attacked to the ship wouldn't feel slighted.

    She did mention that they ran into a couple that was sailing alone, and were very worried about their safety.

    She appears to be playing tourist in Singapore right now. And there is some sort of giant snake thing going on.

  14. “Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”
    That was such a bazaar movie. It was like a train wreak. I couldn't stop watching. The more I watched it the more I liked it.

  15. Okay, glad to hear the pirate incident was resolved successfully. I'm with bug_girl; more about the giant snake!

  16. Did the giant snake cause the giant rogue wave? Did the flares scare off the pirates because they knew flares can summon giant, rogue-wave-causing snakes? Did Godzilla and/or Jet Jaguar get involved? These are things we MUST know, and we must know them NOW.

  17. I've got some small experience both with flares and with pirates… and a well used flare gun can be a very effective weapon against a small vessel. Espceicllay if you have illumination rounds – which bur for 10+ minutes (as opposed to signal rounds which burn a minute or 2 at most). Remember that flares are VERY hot, and very very hard to extinguish. An illumination flare into a hatch or a wheel house can do alot of damage to a small vessel – it's hot enough to melt steel, fills the space with smoke in a heartbeat , and will ignite absolutely anything flammable that it touches… fire at sea is no joke.

    Still, I'd not like to have to rely on flares alone. Most pirates will leave at the first sign of resistance… but not all. In that case it's better to have a well supplyed weapons locker and crew that know how to use them. After all, if a pirate does board you the odds are very much against you're ever leaving that vessel alive. A few well place rifle rounds across the bow will make most any pirate think very, very hard before trying to board you. Fire hoses also make for an excellent repel boarders weapon and can sawamp a small vessl in short order if they come along side… :)

  18. I remember seeing a documentary on National Geographic about a container vessel, and the crew having, among fire drills, also pirate-assault drills, which looked very similar to the fire drills, except the firehoses would be pointed over the side instead.

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