Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I like big boats, and I cannot lie.

What a surprise, Jenny's talking about ships.
Ah yes, I do love me some ships.

When we go on vacation anywhere near an ocean, my family knows they'll be walking around some sort of sailing vessel while I get all excited and use words like "starboard" and "quarterdeck" and "helm." They're pretty good sports.

Last summer, as soon as we landed in London, we dropped off our luggage, and I dragged all those jetlagged boys to see the Cutty Sark

 These guys thought the officer's berths were a good spot to take a snooze.

 Captain Andrew at the helm.

Anyone know what this is? I'll give ya a hint, it keeps the compass from falling overboard or getting lost or damaged by the water...Anyone? 
This is the binnacle box. it's right by the helm so the Captain, or the helmsman can make sure the boat's headed in the right direction. No gps, ya know?

 We're not done, kiddos! I know it's two in the morning back home, but time to head to the National Maritime Museum! Admiral Horatio Nelson's uniform is in there, and we're not missing that.

Cool displays, right? Look at the Captain's little itty cabin--it was smaller than a closet. And he got the best quarters on the ship.

 And we found Admiral Nelson's uniform. The picture isn't great. I blame it on the lighting--and the fact that a six year old took it. Also, I think the Admiral might have worn a smaller size than me. But, I was still star struck and a little choked up when I saw it. What an incredible person.

 Do we have time to head to the Naval Academy? I think we do...
Cool painted room, right? Ceremonies and meetings are held here.

 But there are wonderful ships to tour in the good old USA, too. How about the Queen Mary?
My kids loved the anti-aircraft guns from WW2. And I had to pretend not to be giddy when I played with them.

 Here's the capstan--for winding up the anchor rope. Obviously on a modern ship, it's mechanized instead of turned by men pushing on poles. But nevertheless, one hundred percent awesome.

 Alas, a sailor's work is never done--not even at Disneyland. Did you know they have a beautifully preserved American nineteenth century ship, just floating around the lake there? I took the helm for a little while.
The ship's bell was used to notify the crew of the time, the watches, as well as any change in the routine. If you heard the bell ringing when it wasn't supposed to, it meant something was up.

James performed some basic shipboard duties--manning the pump, and LOOK! Another capstan. 
Here are the belaying pins, used to keep the ropes tidy. You could pull one out really quick if you needed the ropes loosed. Or to whack someone with it. Sailors use the term "belay that!" and it means Cut it out! I've used it a few times on my kids.--The term, not the actual pins.

And there you have it, pictures of my handsome boys, some trivia about ships, and me gushing about something I'm passionate about.

I'm off to sing a sea shanty.
Fair winds and following seas!