Friday, August 14, 2009
The Lesser of Two Weevils
As promised, I have a Surprise for you -- a very literal, very big, and very salty Surprise.
My mom and sister had an opportunity to see the Broadway show "Wicked" while in San Diego. My dad and I, on the other hand, chose the "lesser of two weevils" by visiting the San Diego Maritime Museum. I don't know why I love ships so much, but they absolutely fascinate me! Especially sailing ships. I love books and movies that involve the British navy in the 18th and 19th centuries. One of those movies happens to be "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World." (Only M&C fans will understand the "weevils" bit... *wink*) On display at the Maritime Museum is the HMS Surprise, the ship used in "Master and Commander!" And oh, is she ever lovely! (I borrowed my sister's lovely Nikon D40 and had a little too much fun, so please excuse the bevy of pictures!)
Can't you just envision Captain Jack Aubrey perched in the rigging?
I did man the helm for a few moments:
Below decks, they had an array of M&C props and costumes, including some for my favorite character, little midshipman Blakeney:
~ The Star of India
This lovely vessel is the oldest ship in the world to maintain a regular sailing schedule. It's the prize of the Museum's collection, and with good reason!
It's an alien! Oh, no -- just dad's reflection in the binnacle!
~ Russian B-39 Submarine
It was quite thrilling to go inside a real Soviet sub! Talk about cramped quarters -- claustrophobic little me would never last long in a submarine. The accomodations were primitve and certainly not designed for comfort!
Outside the sub was a display warning visitors that they would have to crawl through four circular hatches inside the sub -- complete with a hole in the display the size of one of the hatches! I managed all four in a skirt! *wink*
~ Steamship Berkeley
The main museum is housed on the old Berkeley, a former San Francisco ferry. The lower deck now features many exhibits, while the upper deck still retains the original seating. It was gorgeous! Wooden seats, gorgeous woodwork, and stained glass all 'round the top.
~ The Medea
The Medea is a small pleasure yacht built by a Scot in the early 20th century. It saw service in both world wars before it was restored and brought to the museum. I can't even imagine having a pleasure yacht! She was quite a lovely little thing, and inside all was comfort and luxury:
~ The USS Dolphin
There was another sub on display, this one an American research sub called "The Dolphin." Much more comfortable than the Soviet sub! Its official depth record is still classified, but it has gone to depths of over 3,000 feet. Dad took a look through the periscope:
And surprisingly, even a camera can capture the view:
And last, but not least, while touring The Medea we caught a glimpse of the yacht "Stars and Stripes," former champion of the America's Cup Race! I didn't even notice the flag beside me while I took a snapshot of the yacht's name -- ironic!
I may be a "landlubber," but that doesn't mean I don't feel the call of the sea, or love the creaking of rigging and the sway of a boat under my feet. There's something magical about old sailing ships. Have danger and romance ever been so completely combined? Perhaps John Masefield put in best in his poem, "Sea Fever:"
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And 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,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.