three hour tour

Yesterday I sailed the seven seas – or at least a couple of square miles on San Francisco Bay – on a reasonable facsimile of a realio-trulio Pirate Ship. Ok, so it was a school field trip with my fourth-grade daughter’s class. There was no rum, no pillage, precious little mayhem. But terms like avast […]

Yesterday I sailed the seven seas – or at least a couple of square miles on San Francisco Bay – on a reasonable facsimile of a realio-trulio Pirate Ship.


_web_images_graphics-banners_hawaiian-chieftain.jpg

Ok, so it was a school field trip with my fourth-grade daughter’s class. There was no rum, no pillage, precious little mayhem. But terms like avast and belay were heard without a trace of irony.

The boat in question (the hawaiian chieftain) is one of a pair of historically accurate reproduction of 18th century sailing ships run by Gray’s Harbor Historical Seaport; they spend the year sailing the west coast and doing various educational and training cruises, wintering in southern CA, and spending summers someplace in washington.

I was, from the moment we boarded, green with envy. These people – mostly college students, with a few crusty old salts – work long hours, get payed little, and live full time on the ships, if in considerably more comfort than we’d have seen two hundred years ago (flush toilets, and food without so many maggots and weevils; the good things about modern technology). They do this ’cause they love the sailing, I guess, and because how else in this day can you call yourself a pirate and actually put in on your curriculum vitae?

I was all for joining up with then and there. I could hang with a year sailing; forget all this fucking high tech.

Alas, my three hour tour was just that, and I had at the end of the day to collect my truck-load of kids and return them to school. Yet I’ve spent the last 24 hours thinking about jibs and spars, about working aloft in the rigging, about what it’d be like to have land feel odd under my feet. Even if it’s play, I wanted to go do it. Call it my version of the old run off and join the circus fantasy.

So of course I looked at the crew openings page. Because the world needs more sailors and fewer engineers, sez I.

0 thoughts on “three hour tour”

  1. I’ve been aboard the Hawaiian Chieftan too! It (she? he?) and the Lady Washington were docked in Portland for the last Rose Festival, and Makal and I bought a doubloon from their gift shop and took a tour. Such beautiful ships! It was a *hot* day and most of the crew were lounging below deck, where it was nice and cool. I have to say, I favoured the Lady, as it was the older of the two and had the most amazing rope system (yeah, I’m partial…). How fun that we’ve both set foot on the same decks. ;D

  2. Education officer? You have a positive attitude with kids right? Heck… You might even manage to convert the program so there is a teen version. Think what fun you’d have ordering young teen girls in their barely dress code clothes around!

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