Trail of the Pirates is a travel series exploring maritime history, culture and lore between Key West and St. Augustine on the east coast of Florida.
Earlier in this series, I interviewed Sandra Riley, a Miami author who wrote a novel based on the lives of two female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. While on the St. Augustine leg of the journey, I had the opportunity to speak with Michelle Murillo, who portrays Mary Read in historical reenactments.
Murillo happened to be in town during the St. Augustine Pirate Gathering. I met with her on a groggy Sunday morning at the historic Taberna Del Gallo, founded in 1734, located on St. George's Street in the old quarter. At this point, I had been on Trail of the Pirates for six days and was so swept up by pirate events in St. Augustine, I didn't even know what day it was anymore!
During the weekend, a handful of "pirates" set up camp on the adjacent grounds of the Spanish Quarter Museum, where reenacters portray life in St. Augustine exactly as it would have been in the 18th century. Murillo was among the visiting pirates who eschewed a comfy hotel for a more authentic experience. The night prior to the interview, folks from the Pirate Gathering showed up at the Taberna to sing songs around a fire while musicians played on period instruments.
The Taberna serves delicious sangria and beer and is lit only by candles ... the perfect setting for pirate revelry!
Check out the video for Murillo's own thoughts on Mary Read's unusual and courageous life.
Based in Melbourne, Murillo is a reporter for the Florida News Network and got hooked on pirate history while covering an event. Visit I AM MARY READ website for more information on her appearances. Trail of the Pirates will stop by Key West later this year for Pirates in Paradise, where I'm looking forward to see Murillo perform her reenactment of Mary Read's trial.
Special thanks to Annie's Costumes, Visit Florida, Florida's Historic Coast and Hilton St. Augustine for supporting this part of the journey.
PHOTO CREDIT: Michelle Murillo