Touch Wood, Scratch a Stay, Turn Three Times

…”May the Lord and saints preserve us.”

One must do this, aboard a ship, for luck, as my own dad (a salty dog in his own right) reminded me when I told him the ships were a’comin’.  I can safely report that J and I did just this, on all three tall ships when we toured them last week.  Quite a number of visitors gave us the hairy “What dem weirdos doin’?!” eyeball as we did so, bully for us that we are in the know.

If the day before had been torrentially rainy and windy, the next greeted us with a vivid blue sky and plenty of sunshine to sweat by, as we returned to the river to step foot on board the Guayas, the Dewaruci, and the Eagle, not to mention, later on in the day, the De Wert.

USS Mitscher, at the Gov. Nicholls St. Wharf, as we arrived that morn.

Having taken some From Land photos of the ships in general the evening before, it was a delight to step aboard and capture the details.  Images posted here barely scratch the surface.  The entire set of photos can be found here:

NOLA Navy Week 2012

Going down the row, we saw the Guayas first.  Out of the three, we decided that, were we to commandeer a vessel, the Guayas would be it due to size and speed.  There’s a reason they race her, after all!

 J commandeers the Guayas.  See the gallery for his commandeering of the other two!

As we wandered fore and aft, I realized how long it had been since I had been on a water vessel, of any sort.  I adore that rolling feeling under my feet.  And I was amused to view some who, not having ship toes of their own, managed to trip on the dailies, such as this:

Each ship had information aboard, displays containing what each one was about.  They also had schwag.  After posting ONE photo of the Guayas on Facebook and having M recognize it by sight alone, due to having a poster of it in his basement (I THOUGHT it looked familiar), I had to procure some small bit of that schwag to mail to him, which I will do soon.  M, keep a weather eye on the mailbox!

Further details of the Guayas:

 The holy light of the SEA!

New Knot Test anyone?

Badass Popeye of MIGHT!

I had to get in here somewhere!

Next up was the Dewaruci.  The displays they had aboard, depicting Indonesian culture, were really neat.  At their scwhag table, they had instruments on display of a percussion variety, and I had a good time learning how they work from the gentleman manning the table.  Then we took a walk about.  I was fascinated by the woodwork details on this ship, very culturally distinct, and insanely pretty.


After the Dewaruci came the Eagle.  The line to board her was longer than the others, as they had re-enactors out front explaining everything from how cannons work to what they ate on board.  Fortunately, there turned out to be two lines: One for people who wanted to hear and see the displays, and one for those who simply wanted to tour the ship.  J and I have a LOT of experience with the things they were displaying and sharing, so we skipped straight to the tour.  That is not  to say we did not admire the tools and cannons and other items on the way by.  And, as it was getting near to lunch time, that hard tack actually looked pretty good at that point, and I was sore tempted to reach between the oglers and yoink it.  Ha!  On the ship itself, they had some great displays as well, describing what different things were and how they worked, as well as some information about the War of 1812 itself.

The Eagle:

Monkey’s Fist knots in action!  After struggling to learn how to do those myself,
once upon a time, it was rewarding to see them in real life.

Looking Up

As we disembarked, the gents on the Eagle were handing out coins, of a Mardi Gras doubloon nature, stamped with the Eagle insignia.  Since J and I both got one, I will be mailing mine to my dad.  Since J and I touched wood, scratched a stay, and turned three times on ALL three ships, ending with the Eagle, and received the coins after all of it, I know where mine belongs.  🙂  (So Infamaus, you keep a weather eye on the mailbox too!)

Then it was lunchtime, as we had by this time spent quite a few hours doing our thing in the sun and were ready to find some cool and food.  As we made our way along the river, we came within hearing distance of some really great brass music.  As we got a little closer, we realized we were hearing “Do Whatcha Wanna.”  Truly, the sound was so TIGHT that for a brief second, we looked at each other and wondered, “Is that REBIRTH playing over there?”  Oh wait!  As we got even CLOSER, we discovered a handful of gents from the Marine Corps band, jamming New Orleans brass like they’d been doing it their entire lives.  These guys are good, of course.  They’re the Marine Corps band, of course they are!  But man, they blew those tunes good!

After dancing around a little while, we then moseyed over to Decatur St. and had sammiches at the Magnolia Grill, which was very, very good and saved me from stealing hard tack.

After lunch, it was time to head up to the Gov. Nicholls St. Wharf to see one of the more modern, and very large (I felt so short next to them, seriously) ships.  The lines for this one were LONG, but it didn’t feel as long waiting in line as it looked like it would.  The delay in these lines, as opposed to the others, were due to the metal detectors that everyone had to pass through.  Fortunately for us, we had seen the metal detectors pre-lunch, so we were able to swing by the car and offload the “protective devices” I typically carry in my purse.  Otherwise, that would have been rather disastrous!

The USS Mitscher

Which ship one got to tour over here was kind of a grab-bag.  Whichever ship was ready for the next group, that was the one you got to see.  Thus, we were escorted back to the frigate, USS De Wert.  I’m glad we survived the sun and the line (or, rather, the line IN the sun, gasp pant) – it was really interesting to be aboard one of the active ships.  All the photos that I took on the De Wert were up on deck.

Taking photos below decks would have meant camera (or, phone) confiscation.  Which makes huge sense, of course.  It was really really neat down there, though, and Josh even got to sit in the Captain’s chair.  Figures.  😉

Like I said before, that was just a smattering of the photos I took to document what was a very fun and fulfilling day!  Copious amounts of detail can be seen in the gallery, linked above.

Having the privilege of seeing these ships meant a lot to me.  When this event was first announced, a year and some change ago, I was still in Denver plotting my course to New Orleans.  However, at that time, I did not think we would actually make it here in time to witness this piece of history.  But, fair winds and favoring seas brought us here just in time, and for that, I am grateful.

Featured Image: Details aboard the Guayas

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. infamaus says:

    You can bet I’ll have a sharp eye out for that coin, and the Eagle yet! Always wanted to sail in that one. Should I nail it to a mainmast, or hang it around me neck. Probably me neck for luck. The De Wert, eh? She’s about 30 years old or so with a top speed of around 28 knots. There are faster frigates out there now, but she’ll serve. Thanks for sharing all these experiences with me and expressing them so very well

    1. ‘Round yer neck for sure! And, you are welcome, thought about you the entire day! 😀

  2. PhilB says:

    Love the light of the Sea pic! Well done!

    1. Thank you Philz!!! 😀

  3. YAY! I will print those out and frame them with the poster i think. The “Knot-test turk’s head” pic will go at the top. I bought the poster in Portland, its awesome the ship itself was at the other side of the country. 🙂

    1. Yippee! That is so awesome! You’ll have to take a photo of the photos ’round the poster. Har dee har! 😀 😀

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