Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Lady Washington

I'd like to begin by mentioning that my love for sailing began when I was in my teens. I had a friend who would take me with her when her parents went sailing on their sailboat. I fell in love with the movement of the boat on the water, the sounds of the lines straining with the tension of the sails full of air, and the cry of the gulls. To me, then and now, it just doesn't get any better than that.

I've always dreamed of having my own boat and being able to be out on the water whenever I wanted to, but that never happened. But through the years I've had occasion to get out on someone else's boat and when that happened, I loved every moment of it. There was a time, about 15-20 years ago, when we were able to be aboard a friend's 49 ft sailboat for a week in the Canadian San Juan Islands. That was such an amazing opportunity and I will remember it forever. But that's another story. :)

I wasn't aware of The Lady Washington, nor that it was possible to actually sail on her. When I discovered her online I couldn't buy tickets fast enough. I was delighted to find that I could get tickets for the Sunset Sail on Wednesday, August 19th.

If you aren't aware of her either, just a little background: The Lady Washington is the Official Ship of the State of Washington. She is a full-scale reproduction of the original Lady Washington built in the British Colony of Massachusetts in the 1750's. In more recent times, you may remember her from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean in which she played The HMS Interceptor. I must admit I did think a time or two, while moving about her deck, that Johnny Depp did indeed walk this very deck also. I digress ... LOL

Our three hour sail was done on a 90 degree day, so the weather was perfect, and the sunset magnificent. We arrived at the dock about 3 hours early, intentionally, so we could hang out at the water until time to board. We found a little pub nearby and sat outside and enjoyed oyster sandwiches and conversation with another guest, while breathing the salt air and enjoying the sounds of the waterway. Walking a short distance, we found a small marina store, and purchased some bottled water and snacks to take aboard with us. At approximately 6pm we were allowed to board, given safety instructions and then motored away from the dock and out into Commencement Bay.

The Hawaiian Chieftan sailed at the same time, and we considered ourselves fortunate to be aboard The Lady this first time out. (when buying tickets, you can not specify which ship you want to be on, you just have to get lucky enough to be assigned to the one that you want) Once away from Thea Foss Waterway and out into the bay, sails were raised and engines slowed (I'm not sure if they were ever completely cut). We stayed in that vicinity of the bay for the evening, sailing back and forth, while the crew attempted a few sailing maneuvers. The 360 turn without changing the sails only accomplished 180 degrees, but impressive just the same. And then the setting sun took center stage.

It was difficult to disembark, but the attitude seemed to be that Barb could NOT now live aboard The Lady, no matter how much she might want to. We left the world of water and fantasy and returned to automobiles & paved highways, and made our way home.

We have committed to sailing on The Lady at least once each summer, and are so very pleased to have found her.

If you'd like to know more about her, you can read about her, and The Hawaiian Chieftan, here: Grays Harbor Historical Seaport

And .... finally ... some of the photos I took while aboard:

The Lady Washington, before boarding

Would those be pirates climbing the rigging?

Me, with The Hawaiian Chieftan in the distance

The Hawaiian Chieftan

As close as we could come to Pirates - a few members of the crew

Another view of The Hawaiian Chieftan

Sailboats on Commencement Bay

Mount Rainier at sunset

A beautiful sunset

Another of the sunset, with the Olympic Mountains to the right

Two of the crew, and a last peek at the sun for the day

The end of the day, with the lights on shore beginning to become visible as darkness takes hold.

1 comment:

Hootin' Anni said...

I missed this in my blog reader! How? I don't know. Well, there was one day I didn't even get a chance to open it we were that busy.

But, anyway, I just now saw the link in the message board and 'sailed' right on over.

What a glorious, GLORIOUS adventure!!!! I bet you were thrilled.