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Sailing with Elmo to Vancouver Island

Posted by Tall Ships America on July 17, 2008

Posted by Karen

Jesse and I clambered aboard the Lady Washington, or “Lady,” as she is so affectionately called in the Tall Ships circuit, and prepared ourselves for the transit back to Vancouver Island. We introduced ourselves to the captain and crew, who welcomed us very warmly with delicious dinner and lively conversation.

I have learned by hopping from ship to ship over the course of this summer that each vessel has its own unique personality, and Lady is no exception. I knew we were in for a treat when a petite, pretty brunette approached us and breezily introduced herself as “Bilgey.” The captain, too, welcomed us with a friendly smile and a firm handshake, introducing himself matter-of-factly as Evil. Soon, we were chatting and laughing with Elmo, the tall, wiry engineer wearing oversized woman’s sunglasses; Skook, the dynamic ship’s cook who enjoys dancing and singing in the galley; Preston, a young man from Juneau, Alaska, whose preoccupation with “delicious hot wings” was a constant topic of ridicule; and Beth, the exasperated –but ever gracious –stewardess. I was delighted to join the cast of characters as we drifted away from Tacoma with a magnificently clear view of Mt. Rainier on the horizon.

                                          The Lady arrives to Tacoma

I climbed up on deck for my first watch at midnight that night. The four hour period drifted by as we discussed our favorite types of hot wings (Preston, of course, was in my watch group) while we quietly marveled at  Seattle’s glowing skyline off our starboard beam. I took my first shot at tiller steering under the supervision of my watch leader, Tim, who patiently guided me through the delicate process of steering the enormous ship.

When it was finally time to retire below decks, I regretted not bringing a warmer sleeping bag as I shivered in my bunk, trying to catch some much-needed shut-eye before breakfast. But in the wee hours of the morning, I came to fully appreciate my newfound family aboard the Lady as Skook lent me his warm, furry “transit hat” to keep for the rest of the trip, and Rob, the first mate, gingerly draped a wool blanket over me while I slept. Even as we headed into thick fog and high seas the next couple of days, I knew I had found a safe place to call home.

                                               

                                          Harbor View Tacoma                    

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3 Responses to “Sailing with Elmo to Vancouver Island”

  1. nwlimited said

    Sounds like much fun…enjoyed reading this.

  2. watertiger42 said

    Knowing many of the crew and having sailed on her many times (as well as being a volunteer crew member) I’m not surprised you had a good time!

  3. Elmo said

    It was a lot of fun. Remember, if that Canadian training ship didn’t treat you right…I’ll paint their wagon…with fist kisses.

    Peace Outside!

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