The Tall Ships

        The Tall Ships have come and gone, sailing away on a south wind and lots of good cheer, as the Gordon Lightfoot song goes.   They have spent the summer visiting ports along the Great Lakes and were in my vicinity for the weekend, attracting 100,000 visitors in the process.   You could purchase general admission day and weekend passes, as well as boarding passes that included deck tours, but as I am not a fan of big crowds or standing in long line ups in the sweltering heat, I viewed them from afar on Friday afternoon – along with thousands of other people lining the shore with the same idea!   

The Tall Ships

Among the six ships in dock, was The Bluenose II, a famous Nova Scotia ship,  and my favorite, the Nao Santa Maria, the flagship from the 1492 voyage Christopher Columbus made when he discovered North America.

The Tall Ships

Photo courtesy of Nao Santa Maria Facebook page

This replica was built in Spain to celebrate the 525th anniversary of the discovery of the new world and has spent the past two years touring various ports of call on this side of the Atlantic.   (The Nao Santa Maria has it’s own Facebook page if you wish to check if it will be in your area).    

The Tall Ships

We probably all remember the grade school rhyme, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” and we may remember the three ships on that famous voyage, the Santa Maria, the Nina and the Pinta, but I was unaware that the Santa Maria did not make the return journey home as it had run aground on a sandbar in Hispaniola/Haiti on Christmas Day 1492. 

Shipwreck AMc

Shipwreck!

Here’s a link with more description about the three ships, and also a Wikipedia link with some information about the design, cargo, and the voyage.   As the largest of the three, the Santa Maria was the main cargo ship, carried the most men, 52 of the 90, and was considered an old tub too unwieldy to navigate river mouths and shallow bays, which was left to the smaller faster Pinta.   Columbus had struggled for years to obtain financing for his project (searching for a sea route to the far east and the treasures of Cathay), until the Queen of Spain reluctantly granted approval for the journey.    How overjoyed they must have been to have sighted land and being proven right, even though they were unaware at the time that it was a whole other unexplored continent.   

The Tall Ships

Ahoy mates! Land ahead! (Photo from Nao Santa Maria Facebook page)

Can you imagine travelling across the ocean in that for two months?    

I had anticipated the opening Parade of Ships to be a glorious sight to behold – a beautiful sunny day, blue sky and water, white sails billowing in the breeze.  While the weather was okay (coolish, sunny but lots of clouds), there was such a brisk north breeze, it wasn’t really a Parade of Sails, it was a Parade of Masts! 

The water was so dark and choppy, I had to lighten my pictures to be able to see anything, plus a cloud managed to obscure the sun every time a ship went by.    One of the crew was quoted as saying the sails were not up for safety reasons, as the river channel was too deep and narrow to allow much maneuverability, and it was too windy and rough once they got out on the lake.   Plus, it wasn’t really a parade, as there were long gaps between the appearance of one ship and the next.   We chatted and visited with fellow sightseers, many of whom had driven great distances, and ate french fries from chip trucks under the bridge, which is one of the touristy things to do in this town.   This is the first ship which came along, although I don’t know the name, as I was too far away to see.  

The Tall Ships

Several were so tall, we watched in awe as they barely cleared the bridge. 

The Tall Ships

The Tall Ships

For $120 you could go on board for a two hour cruise during the Parade of Sails, which was sold out, as were all the more reasonably priced ($85 and $60) morning and evening cruises where the proceeds went to charity.    I suspect the lack of sails was a liability issue also, as they wouldn’t want to risk anything with all those VIP’s and tourists aboard, especially if they were puking all over the nicely polished wooden decks.

The Tall Ships

I had a moment of regret, when the Empire Sandy went past.  It looked like such fun, and I don’t usually get seasick on boats, having been on cruise ships, ferries and even a small motorboat.         

The Tall Ships

But then I remembered the five days I spend on a Windjammer cruise in the Caribbean, back in my younger years, when I could more easily be talked into such things.   I’ve learned my lesson, while something might sound romantic and adventurous, the reality often doesn’t match up.   (Plus I require much more luxury in my vacations now).    I distinctly remember arriving in St. Marten’s and gazing at the small vessel in the harbor and thinking – no that could not possibly be it.   Nothing so small could hold 160 passengers and crew.   It did, except for the two who got off at the first stop and flew home, thus saving themselves four more days of misery.     Everyone on the boat was sea-sick the first 24 hours – the captain explained that was normal because the stretch from St. Martens to St. Kitt’s was notoriously rough.   (Well if that was the case, then why didn’t they depart from a port with calmer waters?)    He said most people were okay after the first day.   Many were not.   He said, stare at the horizon.   It didn’t help.   Better to be above deck, than below.   It wasn’t.   Have some more booze.   I don’t drink.   While the cabins were so small as to be claustrophobic, the rocking of the ship was somewhat comforting when you were tucked up in your bunk bed at night.   I tried not to think about the fact that only a foot of timber separated me from the watery depths.   The food was okay, if you could eat it.  (The dry crackers were highly recommended).    We visited St. Bart’s and a private island for a picnic and scuba diving which was a welcome break.    On Day 3, I applied one of those anti-nausea patches behind my ear – upon awakening on Day 4, I removed it, after walking into a wall and being told my pupils looked strangely dilated.  (Most fixed-dose drugs are not for me, as I am a featherweight).   Night 5 was particularly rough again, the rocking cradle turned into a see-saw, invoking a few prayers.   I was never so glad to see dry land again, and practically kissed the ground at the hotel.    The only good thing about the whole trip was the two days of shopping and restaurants in St. Marten’s capital city.  The only good thing about the ship was there was plenty of hot water in the showers, and they played Amazing Grace on deck in the evening when they unfurled the sails, a nice romantic ritual.   (Funny, I don’t remember the sails being raised during the day, probably too many drunken tourists about who might fall overboard).    Thank God a wretch like me was saved – but I swore never to set foot on a sailing ship again!

It may be exhilarating to be on board when the wind grabs the sails, but sailing is only for more adventurous souls, with strong stomachs.   For the rest of us, the Tall Ships are a pretty sight, best viewed from the safety of the shore.   

The Tall Ships

(photo courtesy of the Tall Ships Festival Facebook site)

Postscript:   Like the best of all plans, Columbus started small, with old ships.   News of his new world discovery spread quickly throughout Europe, so on his second voyage, he was given a fleet of 17 ships, with 1,200 men and the supplies needed to establish permanent colonies in the New World.  Which just goes to show how any new venture can start with one small step, which with a bit of luck and a favorable south wind, can turn into something much larger.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 thoughts on “The Tall Ships

  1. Ally Bean says:

    Your photos of the ships are wonderful. So amazing to think that ships like these went across the pond without any kind of electronic communication.

    In reference to Windjammer cruises I like your line: “Plus I require much more luxury in my vacations now.” Made me smile. I remember a friend who went on one of those and came back determined to never, ever do anything that uncomfortable again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Yea, it was probably the worst vacation of my life – I basically spent a pile of money to be sea-sick for five days. In retrospect, maybe one night in calmer seas would have been enough, just to tick sailing off my bucket list.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Joni says:

        Yes, a funny story, that’s my souvenir of that trip, as I did not take any pictures. We didn’t take many pics back then as it was film and maybe I thought the camera would get wet. They did have pirates mingling around with the crowds during the Tall Ships Festival, getting pics taken with kids, and some charity do at the marina. It was a company from Michigan who supplied the pirates – now there’s an interesting summer job!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. annieasksyou says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this photo essay: some history, some interesting background on the current spectacle, and, of course, your retrospective on your unfortunate sailing adventure. But at least you know what you weren’t missing!

    We are a family with middle ear sensitivity, and the overnight ferry we took to Nova Scotia when our daughters were young did us all in. So I empathize.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thank you Annie. I tried to put a bit of everything in. Next week’s post will be on a Woodstock Anniversary party and I’m having fun preparing that. Although I was a bit too young for Woodstock, I do remember some of the music and fashions.

      Like

  3. lindasschaub says:

    What a great post Joni – I cringed as the tall ship passed beneath the bridge as if I was standing there with you. Those ships are beautiful, all the wood and the sails blowing in the breeze and I have discussed with you in the past how I saw the “Christian Radich” here in Detroit and again in Toronto at the Ex that same Summer (1976 as they were here for the Parade of Tall Ships in NY’s harbor for the Bicentennial of the US). It just takes your breath away to see them and imagine them sailing the seas in stormy weather being tossed about as waves ravaged just inches from where you were sleeping. I was fascinated when they had the Columbus facsimile ships in nearby Wyandotte a few years ago – you could tour them, but the line was long and it was a weekday. My boss was gone that day attending a freighter christening in Ohio and it was during our slow time when we had no work to do almost an entire Summer. Even on a weekday, the line to get in the tiny Columbus ships was long and it was hot. As to the “Christian Radich” we got to meet the crew, and most of them were teenaged boys getting their nautical experience in at an early age and working their way up the hawespipe to a long nautical career. I later Googled that ship, many years later, and discovered everything inside is now computerized. It sure didn’t look like it did when we took a tour of the boat and I suspect all those young sailors were all grown up and well-established in their ranks aboard that tall ship. That trip on the Empire Sandy looks fun – it was packed! I like the painting “Shipwrecked” as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      That was some great description there Linda, being tossed on the stormy seas! That’s exactly how I felt with just some timber separating me from the ocean depths and I can’t even swim!

      Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I remember you told me about your Windjammer cruise one time … I went on a few cruises over the years, the first a three or four-day Bahama Island cruise with my parents in 1972. I never thought about the fact that I didn’t know how to swim and on two of the cruises, we went to small islands with rocky shores and took a tender from cruise to shore … no worries and now I’d think twice and I don’t know how to swim either to this day! More and more I’m convinced we were separated at birth! Just did a quick Woodstock post about the music … now they say weather is okay but the online weather with algorithms say otherwise– do I trust the computer or the real weatherman? I’ll see how it looks tomorrow morning and have to listen to see if the trip conflicts with any of our large construction projects, whether we have fog as it is out in the country. If I can’t go, I’m not going to sweat it because I can use other flowers I have as I mentioned last night and next year just remember to go there earlier in August … they were giving progress reports on their website, so I’ll be more in tune with it next year. We are in for a hot, humid and stormy weekend – ugh.
        I am so ready for Fall to arrive and hopefully it doesn’t arrive as early as last year. I’m off to walk, a tropical-feeling morning. Hope you like my take on Woodstock and old pics from 50 years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Dear Sister, I loved it! I can so relate to your take on the music and the fashions. I believe I have the same shorts outfit, only mine were blue. Trying to remember, were they polyester too? I wrote in my Woodstock draft that I was more into the clean cut Monkees (Davy and Micky) than the long-haired Beetles, who I thought were too weird. And David Cassidy of the Partridge Family. It was great how you worked everything in there. I may take a listen to the audio link. I put 5 songs into my blog, and realized how much I loved the music of that era, and can remember all the words.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. lindasschaub says:

    I came back here to answer this comment as I was walking this morning and said to myself “you are dumb Linda – you forgot to link to Joni’s blog post on the Summer of 1969 music” … I apologize and the reason I forgot was that I had a great link about the Woodstock lineup (it is found here: https://www.woodstock.com/lineup/).
    I looked at it after I heard the audio clip on the news yesterday. So I inserted the link and I tested it when I previewed the post this morning – the link was broken. Too bad as it was a great link. They might have been updating something or perhaps too many people were there and it crashed but it works now 100%. Maybe you can use it for your post. I had fun writing it and decided I had to acknowledge Woodstock as it was so big. I totally forgot about the Monkees – I loved the Monkees and they hit the scene around 1966, right after we moved here. I remember that because in sixth grade we had some type of silly art class that we had a piece of leather, and had to use leather tools to make a stamp and stamp something … this is why when I got here to the U.S. we were learning things I’d learned years before in Canada. But all the kids in the class made the Monkees classic logo that looked like their guitar with their name in it. I forgot about the Partridge Family too and I always watched that and yes, we had “Tiger Beat” magazine which we bought for Bobby Sherman or David Cassidy. When he died a few years ago I remember reading alot about his bio and his life during the TV series, his musical career and beyond. I had not thought of him in years, except once hearing he filed for bankruptcy. P.S. – yes, the shorts and top were polyester and the striped outfit was a culotte outfit – they were popular back then, made of a canvas-like material which looked like an awning and creased badly, but like a “romper” that zipped up the front. Me at age 13 years, 4 months old and taller than my father who was just 5’3″ tall. You’ll not find many pictures of him in my blog due to how I felt about him in later years, but for the sake of what happened in the Woodstock era, his picture worked. Those were his aunt/uncle … they were very unfriendly and spoke no English. My parents and I returned to Germany in 1979 and did basically the same trip through Germany/Austria but done in two weeks and we spent a week in England first, then went by train. His aunt had had a major stroke and was not as ornery as she was when I first met her but it was no easier for my mom and me as we spoke no German and they spoke no English. I did something really dumb this morning and will likely do a post about it because I think sometimes you need to poke fun at yourself. I left the house in a hurry as I wanted to post the Woodstock post before I left … so scrambling around and had the bag of peanuts in a plastic store bag – didn’t take the time to put the into a Ziploc bag as it was late and it was gray out so I doubted I’d be taking pics. At the last minute I ran out the door and grabbed a bag with two pair of garden gloves that I had bought on sale and were in a bag nearby. Go the Park and Parker came over and I opened the bag – OMG, no peanuts. I had to go home as I couldn’t go on the path with no peanuts, so I walked around the neighborhood. I wish I had nothing to do – there’s no way I’ll get through the long document before he comes home. I also have to look for directions in case the weather is good and see if it goes near any of the construction areas.

    Like

    • Joni says:

      Don’t worry about linking to my 1969 post Linda as it was mostly a book review anyway. I had more Tiger Beat magazines than 17’s, and remember Bobby Sherman too – I used to stick pictures torn out of those magazines on the bedroom wall. Poor Parker – a day without peanuts? I hope you get to your sunflower field, but if you don’t stay home and rest!

      Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Well you had the music in the post so that was why I thought it would be good. There was another magazine and can’t remember the name, but Tiger Beat I do remember as I tore out those pictures too. My mom said “his hair is hanging in his eyes – how can you see his face?” And I memorized all his songs “Easy Come, Easy Go” was the first I think and then watched him on “Here Come the Brides” as well. I felt badly for Parker and will use it for a quick post on Monday then will go back to just 2-3 posts a week. I woke up before the alarm to thundering and torrential rain so got up and shut the alarm and slept another four hours. Going to head out now – not to the sunflower farm – all that rain and muddy fields and we have chances for storms all weekend. I don’t like going when it’s this warm, but I’ll just go to Council Point Park and it’s already very humid and hot – ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I watched Here Come the Brides too! We had torrential rain here sometime during the night, thank god, as now I don’t have to water. I would forget about the sunflower farm if you have to get there on an expressway and there’s a ton of construction – does not sound worth it, esp in this humidity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I loved that show! Parked myself in front of the TV every Friday night at 9:00 p.m. and wouldn’t have missed it. Great – you didn’t have to water and especially good as it was hot all day, a real scorcher, humid too – ugh. We had that storm around 4:15-4:30 a.m. and I went back to bed as it would take a while to dry everything out, was a torrential rain and we’re getting that tomorrow, including gusty wind and possible severe weather. It never rained again today, maybe overnight. I’ll wait until next year unless I go to the one I mentioned to you – I’m not keen on paying that much money as you’re paying for the hayride, corn maze and they have activities for kids … the harvest decor may be pretty though. I’ll think on it, but it’s not for a few weeks yet for this place. They may have planted later in the season or perhaps a different type of sunflowers are grown.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Raining again now at 1am, which is good, as we need it. I’ve been working on the art submission, so am behind in Reader again. Good you went back to bed. You may get up at 4:30 to get caught up on Reader (but I’d rather stay up late and sleep in), so we can’t be sisters after all! The last time I got up that early was 4 years ago to catch the morning train to Toronto!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        A lot of the time, I get up and go to the kitchen (where I keep the second alarm … the first alarm goes off five minutes before but shuts itself off) and then I turn on the news and go back to bed to hear it and the weather forecast (every 10 minutes on the “8s”) but fall asleep and wake up by 5:00. Once the sun is rising later I’ll have to leave later so may adjust the time to get up but then again I could spend a little time catching up in Reader or comments or going through pictures. I have a ton of pics to go thru and organize at Labor Day weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Jo Shafer says:

    Wow! What a story! Adventure and romance even if you watch from on-shore and although only empty masts were allowed that day. I, too, cringed at the photographic sight of those mast barely creeping under the bridge without scrapping the under grids. EEK.

    At first, I thought you saw the original Santa Maria and gasped — it’s still “alive”? — until you stated the obvious. This is the replica. Of course. Even without their sails, the boat themselves are fascinating to see and admire and snap with cameras.

    Now, about your personal sailing adventure to St. Marten’s, I assume you flew home?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dave says:

    The Empire Sandy is utterly majestic. I would’ve enjoyed some time on-board. I envy your “boat parade”, landlocked as I am in the U.S. state of Colorado. However, at least I get to San Diego in California now and again. Their tall ships include the Star of India (still active!), the Californian, and the San Salvador (considered the “founding ship” of San Diego in 1542). They’re all part of the city’s (floating) Maritime Museum; well worth a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Shelley says:

    I’m with you on the sea-sick feeling. I took a cruise once and survived mostly, but there was one night where the swells were so bad, I couldn’t even eat the fancy meal. I do love to watch the sails blowing in the wind. Thank you for sharing this post. It was a fun read!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. J P says:

    I am late to this party but am glad I came. I love looking at these kinds of ships. As one who lives hundreds of miles from an ocean, there are few things as romantic than a sailing ship.

    Your sailing adventure sounds horrible. I was on a ferry crossing one of the Great Lakes on a really rough day when I was maybe 14. There were people retching over the sides everywhere you looked but for me and the other kids in our group it was as thrilling as a carnival ride. I wonder if I would be one of the retchers now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks JP – I’m glad you enjoyed them. As for the seasickness, it took me by surprise as I’m usually not, but the water was extremely rough. Not too much romance in retching over the side of a boat!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s