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Back to the Bahamas, Hurricanes and All
After several weeks of filming a spectacular opening sequence for "Pirates of the Caribbean III,” the company once again boarded a chartered jet on September 19th and flew off to its fourth and final location destination of Grand Bahama Island to begin work at The Bahamas Film Studio at Gold Rock Creek. The start-up studio provided the company with the necessary space in which to shoot extensive seagoing sequences with the numerous ships assembled for DEAD MAN'S CHEST, including a limitless horizon from a semi-enclosed marina for filming, as well as temporary floating barges in which the vessels could be safely moored, or filmed upon, when not out at sea. A vast, empty concrete space which had been vacant for years now became the production's base camp for months, housing a motley conglomeration of some 57 assorted trailers and equipment trucks shipped in from Los Angeles, 72 freighter containers utilized to hold and store material of every kind, 11 cranes and Condors and four office trailers. One of the shipping containers was humorously and creatively converted into "Prop the Pyrate,” through which extras walked through to become suitably "propped out” as pirates, including swords, pistols, baldrics and other lovely accoutrements of the profession. "Enter a lubber, leave a pyrate,” announced a sign painted in period style at the entrance of the container. "Come board, grab your gear, and set course to the sea through the exit!” And indeed, the blue-green Atlantic was no more than 10 steps away from that exit.

Following an initial week of literal smooth sailing in beautiful weather, Mother Nature threw her first knuckleball at the DEAD MAN'S CHEST company for a week thereafter, drenching Grand Bahama Island in buckets of torrential rain and stirring up the seas until the Atlantic resembled a Jacuzzi with the switch turned on "high.” "When you're working on water,” explains Bruckheimer, "the weather changes constantly, the wind shifts, the waves go in different directions, which makes it difficult to work. We're very conscious of safety, and we had our marine unit move the vessels, shepherd us back and forth from land to sea, get food out to cast and crew working on the ships and take them back to shore at night. Along with our marine unit, we also had expert divers.”

"The boat-to-boat transfers were the most dangerous thing we dealt with on a daily basis,” notes Dan Malone. "On one day, while holding the Black Pearl against the wind, we had a four-foot swell rolling in there, and although we've designed these nice little ramps that we use to bring people on board from the inflatable boats, you still worry about that misstep. If someone tries to step from the inflatable to the Pearl without judging the waves and listening to the captain, they can take a header between the boat and the ramp. Thankfully, we never had a serious accident.”

On rougher days, many in the crew were reminded of the familiar amusement-park rides in which a pirate ship swings back and forth, faster and faster…except, this time, it was real!

But for the actors filming on the new, improved Black Pearl, a sense of nostalgia was tinged with a new excitement. "I think the new Pearl is all of our favorites,” says Keira Knightley. "It's much more userfriendly than the first one, because it's bigger. I remember on the first film, you couldn't seem to get out of the way and there was no way to sit. The ship is very beautiful, which is always helpful when you're fighting Krakens.”

"The first and second Black Pearls are both beautiful works of art,” adds Lee Arenberg, "but the actual physical filming on the new ship is much more exciting. You're actually moving at speed, and when you come around doing these passes at the Flying Dutchman, it's just thrilling. We're on a seaworthy craft now, as opposed to the barge that sort of bobbe


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