Thursday, March 3, 2011


The Californian

Bill took me along last Sunday on the Tall Ship Cannon Shoot he'd received as a birthday present. We spent three hours on the Californian, chasing around in the harbor with another tall sailing ship, Amazing Grace, both ships using black powder charges to set off fiery blasts at each cannon balls installed, by the way.  All the crew were volunteers and three docents rode along to fill us in on the history of whatever we asked about. They knew pretty much everything about the acquisition or building of the replica ships,  including the ship used in the movie MASTER & COMMANDER. (here she is, the Surprise)
The Surprise
There were almost as many women handling the rigging as men and I got a shot of one of them way up at the top of the mast, untying the square sails  that top off the drama of these old boats.  Later, she had a turn in setting off a cannon blast, inspiring Bill to mutter, "Girls with guns!"

Turns out you owe the crew a round of drinks if you utter the word "cannon" on a ship as this particular piece of battle equipment becomes a "gun" once on board.

The Grace's guns were smaller (3 pounds) and she was also smaller and more maneuverable and faster--she pretty much sailed circles around the Californian while we blasted away with our 6 pounders.
firing a "gun" on the Californian
chased by the Amazing Grace
Here's the odd thing:  I knew Bill would enjoy this 
the birthday boy himself

but I had no idea I would have so much fun.  Unbelievably, I had a set of earplugs with me so I didn't have to plug my ears when the guns went off and could take pictures instead. I took over a dozen photos trying to catch the blast of fire but I never did get anything but a small pouf.

I got a huge kick out of watching everyone: one fellow had inveigled his way onto the Californian while it was being built in order to measure one of the cannons so he could go home and make a 1/4 scale replica -- which he did.  "For safety's sake, I didn't drill it so it won't fire," he said.   He had gotten the tickets to the shoot from his wife for his 77th birthday and was out there hauling on lines when they called for more hands to raise and later, lower, the many sails.

Then there was the woman whose son, a Marine, was stationed in Alabama. She got him on her cell phone so he could hear boom of the guns and their echos off all the downtown San Diego buildings.  She was there as a birthday present as well. Yup, there's a theme here.

It's an interesting sensation to be on the ship that all the other boats are gathering around to photograph.  Lots of pretty boats--some quite large--were around us much of the time and there were also quite a number of boats practicing in the harbor for an upcoming race. The Peninisula was one of them. 

Moving on through the week--I've had lunch with two friends from the old days. N. from Wisconsin was visiting her son here on her way home from a cruise. She came over on Monday and we had a great time talking and watching the ocean from a bench in the park.  

Yesterday Bill and I drove up to LA so I could see R. and that was just lovely. We talked for two hours and I wasn't ready to leave but rush hour was looming and we made it back to San Diego without any detours.  Usually we have to allow extra time for several wrong turns, missed exits and ignored advice from the Garmin,  ("Recalculating!")                                                                                                                                   
  I used to think myself a good navigator but I've sure missed a few this trip and Bill has been pretty darned great about being the driver.                                  

I know I have not yet talked about the piano recital, T's basketball game and G's volleyball tournament.  Wonderful to be here for all of it as I don't have to tell any of you grandparents.  Picking up the kids at school each Friday has been another bonus. I've got a thing about not posting photos of the kids online so just imagine our wall to wall grins at these events.                                                                                                      
Coming up:  cousins lunch on Monday!