Friday, April 18, 2008

All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by...

...And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking..." John Masefield
We were cruising to find a lunch spot between jobs the other day, and around the bend of the road, spotted this out in the bay:

It's the Privateer Lynx which spends six months of the year sailing up and down the West Coast, and will, for a fee, take on apprentice sailors and students willing to live in very tight and spartan quarters, with no mutiny allowed.
As we watched, a mysterious puff of smoke appeared, and then drifted away, and the sound of a cannon finally reached us on shore.

A few days later we took the dockside tour. She's a sleek and dangerous seductress, even tied securely at the wharf.

I spoke with the captain, tan with a graying queue and calloused hands (even the girl crew member had incredibly tough hands); we talked about Monterey's sailing history, and Richard Henry Dana's dismissal of Monterey citizens as "the laziest creatures he had ever met, they'd rather ride a horse than walk 50 feet." I asked him if he knew about Hippolyte Bouchard, the Argentine privateer that sacked Monterey in 1818, and he did not, so he was delighted to hear the little I knew.
There's a shorter voyage that's almost tempting: from Half Moon Bay to Oakland, the end of the month. Ah to sail beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, with the cry of the gulls, the slap of waves on the hulls and creaking of a living ship breathing beneath one's feet. And the guaranteed sound of me, retching over the side.

1 comment:

Marianne said...

Oh, 'tis a shame to be afflicted with seasickness, eh?
She's a Beauty! I've never been on a really large ship like that...well...
not yet in this life time anyway ;^)