Sunday, September 28, 2008


Isla de Muerta

Isla de Muerta is an island featured in the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. It is a mysterious isle where the Black Pearl’s pirate crew hide their looted treasure.

The Curse of the Black Pearl

According to Jack Sparrow, Isla de Muerta is, literally translated from Spanish is “an isle of the dead which cannot be found, except by those who already know where it is.” To locate it, Captain Sparrow uses his unique compass — rather than pointing north, it points to what its holder wants most. What Sparrow wants is the Black Pearl that is anchored at the island.

Shrouded in a mysterious and everlasting fog, the isle is surrounded by a graveyard of sunken ships; its waters swarm with hammerhead sharks and fish shoals.

From the air, the island resembles the face of a human skull. It appears to be largely unexplored, save for a maze of caves where Captain Barbossa’s crew hoard their looted treasure. Here is where the dreaded Chest of Cortez containing the cursed Aztec gold is kept.

Apart from the caves, there seems to be little that is interesting on the island, at least it is not shown, except the piles of horded treasure which the crew of the Black Pearl acquired during their many years of searching for the last cursed coin and the one remaining blood sacrifice.

Dead Man’s Chest

In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, it’s learned that the island was reclaimed by the sea, taking with it both the cursed Aztec treasure and the uncursed mountains of swag that Barbossa’s crew had hoarded while they were cursed. It was this swag that Jack Sparrow had agreed to pay his new crew with, but had to change his plans when it sank with the island. Barbossa himself was only retrieved due to the intervention of Tia Dalma, who did so and also restored him to life before the events of Dead Man’s Chest.


Tortuga is a pirate island off the northern coast of Saint-Domingue (Haiti), out of the jurisdiction of the Royal Navy and the East India Trading Company. While it remains a free port where traders can escape the high East India tariffs, it is a dangerous one where illegal transactions are common. Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner, in hot pursuit of Captain Hector Barbossa, moor their stolen ship, the H.M.S. Interceptor there to recruit a crew. Their conscripts included Joshamee Gibbs, Anamaria, Cotton, and Marty.

Tortuga also appears in Dead Man’s Chest. Will goes there to hunt for Jack Sparrow, although he ultimately finds him on Pelegosto Island (see below). A denizen tells Will that he saw a ship with black sails (the Black Pearl) beached on Pelegosto while he was sailing a trade route. Jack returns to Tortuga to try and enlist ninety-nine unsuspecting sailors to pay off his blood debt to Davy Jones. Although he falls far short of his goal, the new crew proves useful during the final confrontation with the Kraken, although they apparently do not survive. Jack is reunited with Elizabeth Swann while in Tortuga and also recruits the down-and-out James Norrington, who resigned his commission after losing his ship in a hurricane while pursuing the Black Pearl, although Norrington first tries to shoot Sparrow.

At the conclusion of At World’s End, Jack and Gibbs are stranded in Tortuga when Barbossa and the crew steal the Black Pearl.


Pelegosto is a fictional island. The relevant scenes were actually filmed on the lush, tropical island of Dominica.

In Dead Man’s Chest, Bootstrap Bill Turner, acting as an agent for Davy Jones, delivers the Black Spot to Captain Jack Sparrow, a mark that indicates his blood debt to Jones is due. To hide from the Kraken, and to seek the advice of Tia Dalma, Jack commands the Black Pearl to land on Pelegosto, the nearest island. Pelegosto is a typical Caribbean island with sandy beaches and lush, mountainous jungles. But it is not the paradise it appears to be, as it is inhabited by a vicious cannibal tribe that captures the Pearl’s crew and eats some crewmen. They also believe Jack Sparrow to be a God in human form and plan to eat him to “release him from his fleshy prison”. Will Turner arrives and helps them escape the island. The obeah woman Tia Dalma makes her home in a swampy bayou in the Pantano River on the other side of the island. A population of mysterious natives live in shacks along the river’s banks, in relative safety. The cannibals avoid this part of the island, most likely out of fear of Tia Dalma. The fact that Tia Dalma is in fact the goddess Calypso in human form that is seeking release may have been the basis for the Pelegosto’s beliefs, though where the taste for human flesh came from is decidedly less clear.

According to the film’s writers in the Dead Man’s Chest DVD commentary, Pelegosto is the same island Jack told Royal Navy Marines, Mullroy and Murtogg about in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. He tells them “ and then they made me their chief . . .” before being interrupted by Elizabeth Swann falling into the water. It is open to conjecture whether or not the cannibals that call the island home recognised Jack when he was again made their chief in Dead Man’s Chest.

Isla Cruces

Isla Cruces is a fictional island. The relevant scenes were actually filmed in Dominica.

In Dead Man’s Chest, Isla Cruces (Crosses Island) is a tropical island where Davy Jones buried the Dead Man’s Chest containing his beating heart. The island appears to have been abandoned. The previous occupants are unknown, but the partially-remaining stone buildings indicate some European-type colony, probably Spanish, was once established there.

It is not revealed in the film why Davy Jones buried the Dead Man’s Chest on Isla Cruces. However, the film’s writers, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, imply in the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest DVD audio commentary, that Jones chose it because it is a plague island that remains deserted.


The mysterious Singapore city is filled with bridge-covered waterways and crude wooden buildings. It appears in At World’s End when Hector Barbossa and Elizabeth Swann visit Sao Feng to steal navigational charts and to request a crew and a ship to rescue Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones’ Locker. The city is last shown as Barbossa, Will, Elizabeth, and the crew set sail in Feng’s ship, the Hai Peng. In the first film (The curse of the Black Pearl) Jack Sparrow mentions Singapore to the two clueless guards as he cuts Elizabeth’s corset after she fell of a cliff and into the sea: “Clearly, you’ve never been to Singapore.” It is also mentioned in Dead Man’s Chest, while Will is asking for the whereabouts of Jack. One man says, “Last I heard, he was in Singapore.”

It is often assumed that the presence of Singapore is anachronistic, based on the notion that the island was named by Sir Stamford Raffles in the 1800s.

Davy Jones’ Locker

Davy Jones’ Locker is a fictional place mentioned in the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest by Will Turner’s father, Bootstrap Bill. It is a purgatory where those within are faced with their personal demons - Davy Jones’ favored punishment for those who attempt to cheat him. Even the supernatural, such as Calypso, could be forsaken to an eternity within, and cannot escape. The only condemned person known to have escaped the Locker is Captain Jack Sparrow.

For most, the only way to reach the Locker is to die at sea. The Kraken, a giant sea monster which drags sailors and their ships to the ocean depths, obviously inflicts this fate. It appears that when a person is beaten or eaten, like Jack, they pass through a “membrane” that (depending on whether or not Davy wants them to go there or if they have the Black Spot) it leads them to the Locker, leaving their physical bodies behind. However, the only means by which one may enter the Locker and return afterwards is described by Tia Dalma; by sailing to (or more precisely, off) World’s End. This is impossible without Sao Feng’s navigational charts.

For Jack, the Locker appears as a seemingly endless desert, connected to an equally endless sea (filmed in the Utah Bonneville Salt Flats). Jack is doomed to captain the Black Pearl crewed by many different Jack Sparrows through the desert but it doesn’t move until crabs which look like stones (supposedly sent by the already approaching Calypso considering the same type of crabs coming out of her mouth when she was released) appear and carry the stranded Black Pearl to the shore. The endless sea, known as the Sea of Lost Souls, is the only escape route, which is filled with those who died at sea. They were unable to reach the afterlife, forsaken by Davy Jones, whose duty it was to ferry them to the “other side.” Governor Swann is found here after having been murdered by Beckett.

Returning to the living world is far more difficult, requiring knowledge of the relationship between the Locker and the living world. Such knowledge can also be found within Sao Feng’s chart, but as confusing and cryptic clues. However, Jack is able to decipher the clue needed to return to the Living World: Up is Down. The crew of the Black Pearl capsize the ship at sundown, and return to the Living World at sunrise.

Shipwreck Cove

Shipwreck Cove is a fictional island in the 2007 film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. It is unique in that the island’s land mass in the interior is composed entirely of shipwrecks. Shipwreck Cove is considered to be an impregnable fortress, well-supplied, and able to withstand nearly any siege.

In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Shipwreck Cove, the meeting place for the Brethren Court, is nestled in Shipwreck Island and is also the location of the town of Shipwreck.

According to the Essential Guide to Pirates of the Caribbean, every ship must pass through the Devil’s Throat upon entering, which claims several vessels each year.

Minor Locations


Parley Sandbar

Also not the actual name. Because Davy Jones can only step on land once every ten years, he and Lord Cutler Beckett meet with Elizabeth Swann and Captain Barbossa there (while Jones stands in a wooden tub filled with water). While there, they swap Will Turner for Jack Sparrow, and Elizabeth vows to Beckett to avenge her father’s death. It is seen only in At World’s End. This sandbar is not something done in a studio. The sandbar itself is a mile or so from Disney’s private island Castaway Cay, which is also the final resting place for the actual movie prop “The Flying Dutchman”.

Frozen Ocean

An ocean filled with icebergs and glaciers that the ship that Sao Feng gave the crew must sail through on their quest to rescue Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones’ Locker. The special features on the At World’s End DVD suggested that this may have been the Caspian Sea.

Black Sam’s Spit

The island that Jack was twice marooned on and made “governor” of by Barbossa. It was used as a storage area for rum runners, but that business was eliminated, presumably by Elizabeth’s “bloody friend Norrington”, long before Jack’s second arrival.

Run Aground Archipelago

When a merchant ship was attacked here by the kraken under the order of Davy Jones, the surviving crew was taken by Jones and his crew. Unfortunately, Will Turner was among them, although he later escapes.

Turkish Prison

A rocky island with an apparently inhumane prison built atop its spires. A drawing of the key to Davy Jones’ Chest was once hidden within its walls, until Jack Sparrow successfully recovered it.

Piracy in the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean, in fact and fiction


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