How did you know that being a pirate was the job for you? I thought it would be a blast to spend my evenings dancing, pouring rum, and having a good time. But I also have a background with children in my day job as a first-grade teacher, so the day family cruises seemed like a lot of fun as well. It beat teaching summer school.
How do you get into character? I think of myself as one of The Three Stooges—not that bright, kind of loud—and I just go with it.
Urban Pirates does both family adventure cruises and adult booze cruises. What’s that transition like?
We try not to drink with the families because we discovered children don’t hold their alcohol that well. [Laughs.] But they both have a great spirit of silliness and fun. Even the adult cruises, when we turn on the water cannons and shoot enemy pirates, they’re in there with us. They’ll do the conga line; they’ll do the limbo, especially for shots of rum.
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What has been your most memorable
experience as Jellyfish Jenkins?
Last year on the booze cruise, we had a pirate wedding. One of our pirates is actually able to officiate weddings. It was really fun and beautiful. They were a great group and they all came out in full pirate regalia. When you meet people who are celebrating something special like a wedding, bachelorette party, or birthday, it’s really fun to celebrate with them.
What is the group dynamic like on your pirate ship, The Fearless?
It’s a tight-knit crew. We’re very supportive of each other, both on and off deck. Several of us also perform in community theaters, so we go see each other’s shows and hang out afterwards. If anyone has energy or strength after a night of booze cruises, we’ll go get a drink together.
How long do you think you’ll continue on as Jellyfish Jenkins?
Jellyfish is a little long in the tooth! I’m 48 now and it’s a very physical job. I joke that I’ll quit at 50, but chances are I’ll keep going as long as I’m physically able to because it really is a fun job and I’ve had a blast doing it.
Do your friends outside of The Fearless know about Jellyfish Jenkins?
They all do! People just call me Jelly or Jellyfish. My family has been onboard the family cruise, and I’ve actually come back as a passenger for my birthday for three years in a row. I’m not a closet pirate—I’m a proud pirate!