Florida man uses hurricane debris, builds giant pirate ship

·1 min read

GULF BREEZE, Fla. (AP) — When Hurricane Sally knocked down his fence and hurled debris across the Florida Panhandle, John Rebolledo didn't just clean up his yard and call it a day. Instead, he gathered up the hurricane's forgotten treasures and spent a month turning it into a life-sized pirate ship.

Now there's a 17-foot-long (5-meter-long), 10-foot-tall (3-meter-tall) pirate ship in his driveway, complete with a red treasure chest, two skeletons and a skiff boat just in time for Halloween. Rebolledo built the boat using mostly wood fencing that had fallen down, saying the more weathered and beat-up, the better.

It's been a boost for the entire neighborhood, even prompting one neighbor to dress up as Captain Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean” and pose for pictures with local kids.

Rebolledo said the ship started out much smaller, something that could fit in the back of the car, but it grew as he continued to work on it. As Hurricane Zeta approached Wednesday, he said he was moving it into the family's garage for safety but planned to put it back out on full display for his three kids and the rest of the neighborhood to enjoy.

The storm made landfall around Terrebone Bay near Cocodrie, Louisiana, Wednesday evening.

“Everyone’s had a rough year and kids maybe aren’t as cheerful these days because they’re not being as interactive,” Rebolledo told the Pensacola News Journal. “So I don’t know if Halloween will be the same, but there’s this, and if it can crack some smiles and turn some attention away from some of the drama this year, maybe that’s a good thing.”