“To talk of many things:
Of clams, and ships, and sealing-wax,
Of cabbages, and kings;
And why the pho is boiling hot,
And whether pigs have wings.”

Too much to do interfering with writing here. In fact, I’m going to be a day late on a story pitch to Eric at Cinescape, darn it. And I still have to wrangle gear for camping. Shoot.

It’s cool and a bit grey, which is a bit odd for August.

So. Thursday, I did walk down to see the tail end of the ship parade on Lake Union. There’s a steep street called Belmont in my neighborhood that is arched by old trees. They frame a view down an arboreal tunnel to part of south Lake Union, compressing the view of the surface of the lake and the boats on it in a remarkable forced perspective. As I walked down this street, the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Cheiftain were visible, apparently stacked one atop the other, with full sails flying. It was quite a sight.

Naturally, I did not have my camera handy.

Friday evening, I made a nice picnic – a good bottle of wine, a nice baguette, cheese, and salami – and walked down to meet Viv at the foot of the hill, and then we walked to Northwest Seaport where the ships were. By the time we arrived and ate, the ships were closed to visitation, which made me cranky. The event felt pretty disorganized; but it was significantly less crowded than, for example, Folklife or any of the other Seattle Center festivals, and I like it when most of you are over on the other side of town.

I took a few pix but nothin’ special (Note: all images in this entry link to larger images, and also to a gallery of shots).

We returned on Saturday, but were expecting guests and had some errands to do so we were only there for about an hour. Then we whipped over to Uwajimaya to grab some clams, and beat our guests in the door.

Clams were a hit, and we had a very pleasant dinner, I’m happy to report.

Next day, we went to the Green Cat fo’ brekkus before heading off to our respective destinations – the waterfront for Chris and Sabrina, and more ships for me and Viv. However, we were delayed getting down to the festival by one thing or another and I was getting cranky, as I knew the ships closed to visitors at six, and this would be the last day for visits.

As it happened, we ran into our neighbor Peter and his nephews; they were in fact headed to the same place, so we teamed up. Once we arrived, we stood in line for a good hour to board the vintage 1911 steel-hulled Europa, a visit which in the end was worth the wait; we went on to board nearly all of the vessels that were at the slips, with, sadly, the exceptions of the Niña (a British Virgin Islands based replica of one of Columbus’ ships – tiny!), the Bellingham-based Zodiac, a huge pre-WW2 racing yacht, and the weekend’s stars, the Washington-based Lady Washington and the California-operating Hawaiian Cheiftain.

la Nina the Europa Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain

These last two were mostly sailing in Lake Union, engaged in running cannon battles. Seats on these ships for the battles were a paltry fifty bones, and I must say I regret cheaping out and settling for the ten-dollar boarding passes.

The greatest mystery of the festival was the appearance of the Ukrainian Bat’Kvyshnia, which appeared to be a standard fifty-year-old small freighter which had been spontaneously converted into a sailing ship. Where the rest of the ships looked like time travelers from a glamorous past, the Bat’Kvyshnia looked like a time traveler from a scabrous future. When Mad Max has to leave Australia, it’s this boat he’ll sail aboard. The scrappiness, perhaps the foolhardiness, of sailing this vessel, quite literally, around the world, impressed me. Mutliple, visible rusting holes at the waterline of the badly-in-need-of-paint ship led the lubber in me to wonder if these holes were wear and tear or design features.

(Given my track record of attracting site visitors here whom I’ve made critical comments about, let me hasten to add that despite the battered appearance of the ship, I was glad to see it at the show. One would never encounter such a vessel at, oh, Disneyland, for example.)

At last, after many lines and quite a few sea shanties from the performers at the festival, we made our way up the hill to hook up with Chris and Sabrina again for Pho, a social tradition that held sway among Sabrina’s friends when she was here for a while. I was happy to be there, had good food, and took three pictures, one of which is repro’ed here; after, we adjourned to Deluxe for a couple drinks. While there I espied a gent in a “Jackie Hell has a posse” tee, seen here. I gave the gent a KG posse sticker, natch.

Tall Ships gallery

Chris and Sabrina visit