The Battle at Whitecap Bay was a mermaid hunt that took place during the quest for the Fountain of Youth. It was attempted by Blackbeard and his crew, as a mermaid's tear was required for the Profane Ritual to set the rejuvenating forces of the Fountain to work. The battle was fought on Whitecap Bay, a cove on a mysterious island where the Fountain of Youth was located.
With the Queen Anne's Revenge moored offshore, Blackbeard sent a longboat full of his crew members as bait. Legend has it that man-made light and song attract the mermaids, so the boat was lit by the beam of the lighthouse and Scrum was forced to sing a swaying sea shanty. On the verge of luring a mermaid for her tears, Tamara and her lethally-minded sisters of the sea appeared and Blackbeard's crew found themselves surrounded by vengeful foes. What seemed like an innocent moment soon became a slaughter that cost the lives of several pirates. The battle ended with Jack Sparrow blowing up the lighthouse to scare away the mermaids. Although there were casualties, the mermaid hunt was nonetheless successful, as with the help of a young missionary named Philip Swift, Blackbeard's crew was able to capture a mermaid named Syrena.
Arriving to Whitecap Bay
- "All hands on deck! Set to the longboats!"
- ―Blackbeard to his crew
After the unsuccessful mutiny on the Queen Anne's Revenge, Blackbeard led his ship to Whitecap Bay, a mermaid nesting place on an uncharted island. Several longboats made their way from the Queen Anne's Revenge toward an ancient pier on Whitecap Bay. Blackbeard's men quickly rowed to shore, deploying a fishing nets in the shallow water. Blackbeard and some of his men made their way to the top of the old lighthouse, where Salaman got it in working condition in order to attract mermaids. Blackbeard had hatched a plan to catch a mermaid, but he wouldn't do the fishing himself, so he handpicked members of his crew for the dangerous job; the ones he can do without.
The crew in the longboats launched in the water had the purpose of serving as a living bait for the mermaids. One pirate, Scrum, was forced to sing to attract the mermaids. As the longboats drifted in the bay, Scrum and some of the other pirates began singing the sea shanty My Jolly Sailor Bold.
After singing for almost an hour, the crew dozed off, though Philip Swift and Scrum stayed awake long enough to hear a rippling sound coming from the water. The two of them leaned over, barely seeing a figure in the water swim around them. They turned around to see a luminescent mermaid, Tamara, leaning on the edge of their boat. Philip awakened his crewmates, alarming them to the mermaid's presence. Ezekiel pulled out a knife in an attempt to kill Tamara, forcing the mermaid to distance herself from the pirates, but was stopped by Scrum, who then tried to make conversation with the mermaid. Swimming back to the boat, Tamara entranced Scrum with her beauty.
Despite the warning of his crewmates, Scrum came close to Tamara, who started to sing Scrum's song. As Tamara sang, six other mermaids appeared out of the water all around the longboat. Each mermaid entranced the pirate crew with their beauty, with even Ezekiel falling under the spell. Still singing, Tamara grabbed Scrum, who was puckering up for to kiss, and pulled him underwater. But instead of a kiss, she revealed her deadly fangs for a bite. Scrum pulled back from her grip and Ezekiel jabbed her away with an oar.
- "Out upon it! It has begun!"
Immediately, the mermaids began to attack the pirates in the boats. They swam swiftly and one of them leaped out of the water, over the boat, managing to claim a sailor and drag him into the water. The other mermaids jumped out and began clawing at the sailors but the sailors tried their best to fight them away. The mermaids began destroying the driftwood until the pirates fell off the boat altogether and the mermaids charged at them. The pirate Derrick was overwhelmed by multiple mermaids, allowing him to be roughly dragged to the depths of the ocean to be drowned and eaten. Not far from this boat, another boat's crew started to throw gunpowder barrels in the water, causing numerous explosions that killed some of the mermaids. However, most of the boats were soon capsized by the mermaids, most notably Purser's, who died at the hands of one of his own barrels when he was caught under his capsized boat. Most of the pirates who survived at this point were attacked and killed when attempting to reach land. Philip, the Gunner, Ezekiel, and the Cabin Boy evaded death only by quickly swimming to shore, while Scrum was mistaken for one of the mermaids and inadvertently saved by other sailors.
In order to draw the mermaids towards the onshore crew, Blackbeard used his sword to launch the Queen Anne's Revenge on the mermaids, which blasted out heavy Greek fire on them. The mermaids began to attack the onshore crew by using ropes of seaweed to pull the pirates into the sea. With very few survivors in mere seconds, those who still lived abandoned the net. Angelica was pulled by one of the mermaids' seaweed ropes and was nearly drawn in just as the dock where she stood on collapsed, leaving Jack Sparrow to save her.
Destruction of the lighthouse
- "Did everyone see that? Because I will not be doing it again."
- ―Jack Sparrow, after blowing up the lighthouse.
Jack then came up with an idea. He ran towards the lighthouse evading all forms of attacks from the vicious mermaids. As he reached the summit, he began to hit a metal casket full of oil until the entire content of oil in it poured out into the fire, which caused an explosion. Jack quickly escaped into the sea with the fire following him downward. The fire scared off the mermaids further, who Jack viewed swimming away whilst underwater.
Capture of Syrena
Meanwhile Philip Swift, who managed to escape the mermaids, saw a mermaid's tail thrashing about. He followed it and trapped it by stabbing it in the fin with his sword. The mermaid, Syrena, instantly surfaced, staring at him in fear, while struggling to get her tail free. Philip removed the sword as they stared at each other in admiration. Then a net was thrown and Syrena hissed as the Quartermaster tied it. Blackbeard gave Philip his compliment for catching the mermaid, though Philip regretted it. Jack Sparrow made it back with the group just when Blackbeard ordered to make sail to a protected cove.
Attack on the Providence
Blackbeard made way with Syrena, the mermaid captured, and ordered all the wounded to be taken aboard the ship. The crew's losses were devastating, with the majority of the pirates having been killed and taken by the mermaids. The next day, the crew of the HMS Providence, led by Hector Barbossa, reached Whitecap Bay. Barbossa brought a team consisting of Theodore Groves, Gillette, Joshamee Gibbs, and a handful of other men ashore, only to find remains of what happened the previous night. As a storm came, the crew on the beach soon witnessed the complete and quick submerging of the HMS Providence by the mermaids, killing those who remained aboard the ship.
Behind the scenes
- The name "Battle at Whitecap Bay" was taken from The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
- In the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides screenplay, Blackbeard offered a gold doubloon to the first person who captures a mermaid during the battle. This was cut from the final version of the On Stranger Tides movie, but it was included in the film's junior novelization.
- According to actor Greg Ellis, his character, Theodore Groves, was originally going to be killed by a mermaid at Whitecap Bay in an early draft of the film's script. However, Groves' role ended up expanded and he went later to meet his fate at the Battle for the Fountain of Youth. Whether Groves' death was to happen during the battle or during the aftermath is completely unknown.
- A mermaid named Marina was originally going to appear at the end of the battle and slap Jack Sparrow in the face for a romance that they had in the past. The scene was cut out from the film, however.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: The Visual Guide
- The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides