By Christ and the cannon

It’s raining heavily as Camara poles our pirogue across the still, shallow waters of the Bay of Rogues towards the world’s only pirate cemetery. My wife and I hold umbrellas high to fend off the deluge. Ile Sainte-Marie, a sleepy 60-kilometre splinter off Madagascar’s north-east, is ground zero for cyclones sweeping in from the Indian Ocean, and the season is imminent. Villagers wade through the silted bay with nets. When pirates came here more than 300 years ago, the Bay of Rogues was deep and still, secure from cyclones. Better – there was a tiny islet, the Ile aux Forbans, where the pirates could moor their small ships in plain sight. Passing traders would see these tadpoles and not spare them a thought. But lurking behind the island were larger pirate ships, dreaded by sailors, built for speed and for war. The traders – heavy with loot – were easy prey.

The rest at the Sydney Morning Herald