Captain Bones at the helm: New pirate ship in the harbor

Savannah Vasquez
Madison Walker, Ryan Mendez and Virginia West make up the crew of the Barefoot Bounty.

Ahoy Mateys! A new pirate ship, the Barefoot Bounty, has docked in Destin and it is ready to please even the littlest of scallywags. Ryan Mendez, or "Captain Bones" of Myrtle Beach S.C., is a well weathered pirate ready to guide fun, interactive cruises of the harbor for families with small children.

“This is the kid version of the pirate ship,” said Mendez. “We are a little more cartoony, and we try to specialize in a kid and family oriented trip.”

Mendez told The Log he has 10 years of experience on the water as a parasailing captain and said the idea for the kid-friendly cruise came from working on a similar ship in Myrtle Beach.

“I captained a pirate ship there, but I wanted to create my own trip,” he said. “I wanted this to be like a ride at Disney World, kind of kiddy and adventurous.”

Aboard his 55-foot boat, Mendez has rigged the "sail" ropes from plastic bones, and 12 water cannons are at the ready for sparring against evil pirates.

“The whole trip is interactive,” said Mendez. “We try to let the kids run the trip. During the voyage we have to battle with a villain pirate, ‘Billy the Squid,’ who comes up to the boat in a dingy, and the kids get to shoot the water cannons at him.”

With a crew of characters, and several story lines to choose from, the Barefoot Pirates cruise begins the minute families check in.

“The crew does a dance for the kids to get them involved, and then transforms them into pirates for the trip,” said Mendez. “Each child is given a vest, face painting and a temporary tattoo during pre-boarding, then we get them on board and they take the pirates oath to become part of the Bounty crew.”

To add to the fun, each child receives an eye patch and a loot bag to fill with "treasure," during the trip. Also available for sale at the check-in booth are pirate swords, bandanas and Barefoot Pirate cruise T-shirts. For more information on the cruise or to book a trip visit www.destinpiratecruise.com or call 387-4011.