Sunday, May 20, 2007

May 18th

May 18th. While we were in Charleston we found out that the up coming weekend was a tall ships festival. The boats were arriving from all over the world on Wednesday and Thursday for the festivities which started on Friday.

Also on Friday was the beginning of the annual Charleston to Bermuda race. So we ended up staying here for a full week when at first we thought it would be 2 or 3 days at most. It was well worth it though as the tall ships were awesome and the start of the race was actually very exciting considering that it’s an 800 mile race.

We rode our bikes all over town and had a real easy time getting around as the downtown streets became a parking lot due to the extra traffic drawn by the weekend’s events.

The tall ships were very interesting but talking to the crew was even more fun. The ship from India was my favorite because you could see that every young sailor was just dying to try out his English. They were all fairly capable with our language and you could see their honest enthusiasm with being here. They all get one night of shore leave while in port and you could see that it was special for them.

By contrast, not really negatively, was the crew from Columbia. I’m not sure if it’s the Latino Machismo that they’re saddled with carrying around but it was different. They were much more formal, as every man boarded the ship he was saluted, every woman was offered a hand transiting the gangplank. Not many of them spoke English but if you went out of the way to try and engage them they would produce a card from their pocket with common phrases translated into English for them. The Columbian boat was the largest with a crew of 131.

The boat from Bermuda was also a favorite. It was only a year old and even though it was just over a hundred feet long it could probably be handled by a crew of 4. We were the first persons to tour the boat as there had been a problem with their gangplank that was rectified just as we walked up. It was the only boat that actually assigned each group a guide. There were 6 of us in our group so it made the visit that much more personal. We had Reid the assistant ships engineer as our guide and he enjoyed showing us around. This boat had by far the nicest galley/ salon area of any boat we toured. The boat was spotless and well kept with bunks for 27 and currently crewed by 18. When we went into the engine room we were astounded by the size of the fuel filters and the watermaker they had on board. Since Reid was the assistant to the engineer I asked him how much water the watermaker would produce and he answered “Oh, it makes a lot of water”. I’m glad he didn’t get to technical on me.

Tomorrow we’re pulling the anchor at 0700 to get underway to Georgetown. We have to hit the fuel dock and take on a little diesel and fill up the water tank.

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