Monday, June 11, 2007

Sail Virginia, Norfolk Harbor Festival

Sunday morning after inspection and formation on base, Jon was able to join us again. He was at the hospital in Portsmouth on Friday and happened to see the tall ships sailing into the Harbor between Portsmouth and Norfolk so he knew that this weekend was the tall ship festival in Norfolk. He is an accomplished small boat sailor, having earned the Boy Scout Merit badge many years ago and being bitten by the sailing bug. Jon spent a number of summers in sailing camp after that and enjoys everything water and sailing. Though Mark and I don't know how to sail, we've gone sailing with Jon in command and really enjoy the tall ships too! Several years ago we took Jon to the Tall ships festival in the Inner Harbor and Fells Point in Baltimore and we were able to board the ships and take tours, which we didn't have time for this day.
I was very excited to hear that the Pride of Baltimore II was in port. This schooner is a replica of the original Pride that was lost at sea during a bad storm and then duplicated as this ship. There is a monument to the lost crew up on Federal Hill in Baltimore Harbor, and this new ship frequently docks at the Inner harbor right near where the Constellation is anchored. We were very excited to see the Maryland flag flying high above the masts as we walked through the rows of these incredible tall ships.
This ship is Jon's favorite, it's the Bluenose II and hails from Nova Scotia, Canada. When she was in Baltimore, we took a tour and Jon got to talking to the crew for quite some time about their youth sailing programs and was very impressed with the friendliness of the crew. Jon has a model of this ship that he purchased after the Baltimore Festival that he tells me is about half completed.
Here's a picture of Jon and me in front of the bow of the USS Wisconsin. This is a sister ship to the USS New Jersey that we toured a few years ago inside and out. The ship is a monster and is part of the Nauticus Museum in Norfolk. That museum is on our list of things to do when we visit again. And no, I don't know how Jon got to be so certainly isn't from the genes in my gene pool.
This blue pirate ship was possibly, besides the Pride of Baltimore, my favorite. It was from Delaware, and I was impressed with the wood carvings found all over the ship including the figurehead and the stern decorations. This dog is a carving that is attached to the railing, there is a duplicate on the other side.
There were pirates all over the place on the ships, as well as the sharply uniformed crews for several of the tall ships that were owned and run by the Navy of many countries. There was a ship from France, Germany, Uraguay, Netherlands, Brazil...these were all crewed as training ships by their Navy. There was a parade on the docks at noon in which all the crews for the ships marched, as well as Pirates, Rev War era, coloniziation era, and even Civil War era reenactors. There were privateer ships from the Civil war (blockade runners) and even replicas of Nordic ships. It was great!
Here's a picture of the pirate ship from another angle, as you can see I took lots of pictures since it was one of my favorites. I wish I would have been able to capture the essence of workmanship on this vessel.
This neat picture was taken by Mark, he wanted to show a schooner tall ship superimposed upon the hull of the USS Wisconsin and I think he did a wonderful job. It really gives you a sense of scale. The ship replicas from the Jamestown settlement were also at the Festival (I'm not sure if this is one of them or not) and it really was interesting to realize that the original settlers of this area came across the ocean on such a small ship that took months to make the passage.
A nice surprise was that the Clydesdales were in attendance for the festival. This is one of their 8 horse teams, and they were relazing in their pens and enjoying some fresh hay. Even their dog, Lucky was there. They are beautiful animals and very large. They're used to the public so they weren't bothered at all that many people were around and taking pictures of them. After we got some festival food, we had to take Jon back to his base and get on the road for the drive home to Baltimore. What a nice day!

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