Friday, September 5, 2008

Pirates of the Willamette

During our week in Portland, Oregon, the Tall Sailing Ships---Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftan--were moored at the river port, and for a fee, the crew would take guests our for a sunset "Battle Sail". Having no idea what a "Battle Sail" was, but always eager to take advantage of any opportunity to be out on the water, my group and I boarded the ships, (having signed all the forms with the tiny print saying that if you die or get injured, it is not their fault, and it is useless to sue them). My group had the distinction of getting to be on the ship that had actually had an appearance on the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean. After everyone on the ship had listened to the mandatory safety talk, we set sail down the river. Although it should have been a clue when the safety lecture repeatedly talked about covering one's ears when the cannons started, I was still a bit surprised at how LOUD it was. The sound was magnified by the echoes that occured off the steep banks or tall buildings that surround the river. (It turns out a Battle Sail is when two old sailing ships actually shoot their cannons---that are loaded with "blanks"----at each other, and do various maneuvers with their sails and rudders to keep from being hit by the cannons of their opponent. And since the Willamette is not the widest river in the world, our evasive maneuvers were severely limited!) I had as much fun watching some of the young guests on the ship as watching the actual crewmembers. One of the young guests had gone to great effort to come in the attire of a pirate, although he might more appropriately be called a "piratito" because of his small size. But he was SOOOooooo cute, and he enjoyed having his photograph taken, so he is the "visual aid" for my blog about the Battle Sail. I also enjoyed photographing all the other water venue activities that being in the middle of the river enabled us to see---Dragon Boat races, some of the US Naval Fleet, a Canadian Coast Guard ship, sailboat races, the submarine that was in the movie Red October, a multi-deck excursion paddleboat, and the waterside carnival at Wamu Village. So, matey, here is my recommendation if you ever are invited to go on a Battle Sail-----ALL ABOARD, AND ANCHORS AWAY!
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