What’s the first letter of the Pirate Alphabet? Arrrrr!

Early January was Talk Like A Pirate Day. I went out on a gun-battle cruise on one of two sailing craft — The Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington. Lady Washington was the boat used in Pirates of the Carribbean movies. We went aboard and “sailed” out to sea to have a gun battle a little ways off the the Newport Jetty.

We sailed from the Port of Newport, my hometown. Please enjoy some photos of our trek.

So we begin. There are two boats on the dock, tied side-by-side. Passengers of the Lady Washington (that’s the one in Pirates, people) board first, then Lady Washington casts off. Then we who are on the Hawaiian Chieftain board, receive a safety briefing, and we cast off.

Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington, docked before battleship cruise

Embarking on the Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington

Pirate Skull and Crossbones

Kitchens family shirt front

Part of our Pirate-appropriate clothing. This is the Kitchens family traditional tee shirt.

Floggings Will Continue until Morale Improves

Kitchens family shirt back

Notice the spiritually uplifting statement on the back of the shirt: “Floggings will continue until morale improves.” And did I tell you that my mother made a special request for these tee shirts to be made for the entire family? Now I have.

Once we got underway, the crew began to climb into the rigging to get the sails ready for, you know, real sailing.

Climbing up to the rigging

Climbing up to the rigging

What’s it like up there (as seen from below)?

Crew above in Hawaiian Chieftain's rigging

The crew above in the rigging of the Hawaiian Chieftain.

I suppose that, given the number of crew it takes to prepare the sails for hoisting, I could come up with a new kind of light bulb joke.

How Many Crew Members Does It Take to Hoist Sails?

How Many Crew Members Does It Take to Hoist Sails?

But I don’t know what the punch line would be.

Anyway, sailing a square rigger is a kind of manual labor. Very manual, with many hands on deck.

One crew member works in the rigging

One crew member works in the rigging

Here’s the gunnery officer. Once we were out in the ocean, he took charge of the middle deck and the loud booming pyrotechnics.

The gunnery officer

The gunnery officer. The fellow in charge of firing off the cannons

We’re heading down the harbor, under power of the “Iron spinnaker” (a very anachronistic sail that really should not be a source of power if you’re going to be a purist about period means of travel. Cant’ figure out what an iron spinnaker is? Here’s a hint: You could, I suppose, call it a diesel spinnaker.)

Captain at the helm of the Hawaiian Chieftain

Heading down the harbor, the captain at the helm

Off the port side as we head to the Newport Harbor Jetty is Pirate’s Cove. I pointed it out “Pirate’s Cove, Arrr!” — and quickly concluded that I was the only local around. The crew had no idea there was a Pirate’s Cove. Nor most of the passengers, too.

Pirate's Cove

Pirate's Cove

More photos below the fold

The bow of the the Hawaiian Chieftain, where I spent most of my time during the cruise.

View of the Bow

View of the Bow

Here’s a view from the bow toward the stern, where captain, crew and other passengers were.

Skipper at helm of Hawaiian Chieftain and passengers on rear deck

Skipper at helm of Hawaiian Chieftain and passengers on rear deck

We’ve now entered the Jetty, and will soon be out on the open water.

Heading out the Newport Jetty

Heading out the Newport Jetty

Just outside the jetty is the bell buoy. I love drifting by the buoy and seeing the seals that hang out there. They have the ability to close their ears; a good thing with a loud clanging bell above.

Seals on the Bell Buoy

Seals on the Bell Buoy just outside Newport Jetty

Time to unfurl the sails.

Unfurling sails on Square-rigger

Unfurling the sails on the square rigger Hawaiian Chieftain

The wind, alas, was pretty mild. I don’t think the captain ever cut the iron spinnaker.

Here, crewman trims sails.

Crew hoists (or trims) sails

Crewmembers at the lines. I think this is trimming the sail, but it might be hoisting

The Lady Washington, at sea. We sailed past one another again and again, and fired our cannons at each other.

Lady Washington at sea

Lady Washington at sea

Maneuvering at sea, there were lots of changes of points of sail. I helped with the rigging.

Some of us aboard were in costume. This is a back view of a very fetching lad. His hair is teh awesome.

Back view of boy wearing pirate costume

Back view of boy wearing pirate costume. Awesome hair.

The afternoon wore on, the sun drifted westward. Just at the time that the pre-dusk wind picked up, it was time to lower the sails and head back. (What’s up with that?)

Here is the crew of the Lady Washington aloft in the rigging. At the same time aboard the Hawaiian Chieftain, our crew was doing the same thing.

Lady Washington Crew Aloft in the Rigging

Lady Washington Crew Aloft in the Rigging

These next photos show you moments of a boat heading up Newport Harbor as the light grows amber and the sun sinks toward the sea.

They are enough, a nice set of moment. But to me, they are more.

They match — alike but not exact — countless other times of heading up the bay in a boat, as afternoon turns to evening. This is an anachronistic snap of my youth. Different boat, different crew, different guests, but same harbor, same time of day. The hour, the light, the place and the activity resonate deeply, echoing those other dusky hours.

Hawaiian Chieftain Captain brings her back up Newport Bay

Hawaiian Chieftain Captain brings her back up Newport Bay

Cannon off the port side, dusky Newport Bay

Cannon off the port side, dusky Newport Bay

Ever closer to port

Ever closer to Home Port, (Lido Island to port, Bayshores to starboard)

We dock. We disembark. We admire Lady Washington as she eases toward her berth abeam the Hawaiian Chieftain.

Lady Washington approaches the dock

Lady Washington approaches the dock

Now, tell me that wasn’t fun!

Also: My Storify set of tweets (including a shot of me with an interesting appendage!)

One response to “What’s the first letter of the Pirate Alphabet? Arrrrr!”

  1. Dan Lyke

    Nice! I’ve been out on the San Francisco Bay in the Hawaiian Chieftan, and at the end of April both the Hawaiian Chieftan and the Lady Washington will be visiting Bodega Bay while I’m out there. Alas, I’ll be deeply engrossed in the boat building competition, but hope to sneak a peak occasionally when I can look up from my sawing.