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Bounty-ful memories of California

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 11, 2008

     Written by Jovanna

 

San Francisco’s Festival of Sail came and went in the blink of an eye. The regular hustle and bustle of the bay waterfront was amplified by the various events going on in conjunction with the festival. Ships were scattered along the length of the water at the various piers amounting to a six-mile long venue with three different festival villages: Green, Education, and International. Having a taste of a big city festival was great and much different than the rest of the ports we’ve been to, which were mostly smaller towns.

 

The action in San Fran was never ending. The classic trolley car was our source of transportation and on every corner there were street performers and heaps of excited sightseers. It seemed like it had been just yesterday that we had passed under the Golden Gate to finish our race on Oriole when I was already getting on a new ship to pass back under it.

 

My next vessel was the HMS Bounty. Having the opportunity to sail on her was something I never expected. Its magnificent appearance and strong media presence make it an ever popular attraction and I didn’t think they’d have the time or space to give me an inside look. However, Jonathan always has a few tricks up his sleeve and I could see the excitement (and perhaps a hint of jealousy) on his face as he told me I’d be sailing with them out of San Francisco.

 

I boarded the ship early Sunday morning. Despite being a wee bit on the tired side, I was able to remain wide-eyed as I was given an orientation with six other passengers. The ship seemed to stretch on for miles. Keep in mind the last ship I sailed on was the HMCS Oriole, a ketch that was a thrill-packed, fun experience, but also a very wet and cramped experience as the boat is just 100 feet with a very low waterline. With this said, perhaps the most incredible part of the entire vessel for me was my bunk… or should I say cabin and better yet, my private cabin complete with closing door and a ceiling I couldn’t bump my head on if I had tried! The bed itself was big enough for me to actually sit straight up on and was wide enough to fit even my broad swimmer shoulders comfortably across. There was also a dresser with six drawers, a light, and a power outlet. I couldn’t have thought up such luxurious living quarters if I had tried!

 

                                  

 

 

We set out from San Fran in style by hoisting the sails and sailing off the dock. The afternoon was spent sailing around the bay area and seeing the beautiful hillsides that surround the water. By early evening it was time to exit the port by heading back under the famous bridge and out into the blue water.                                                                                     

 

Our next stop was Monterey Bay where we would drop off our passengers and dock for the remaining days before the Oxnard festival. During the trek down the coast we waltzed among the Farallon Islands, supposedly the most shark infested waters on the coast due to the abundance of wildlife found in the waters there. We resisted the urge to throw an old ham overboard to get a real show.

 

From the Bounty we were able to hear the barking of seals and sea lions on the islands for miles before they actually came into sight. However, this display of nature was only a rehearsal for the sea life that greeted us outside of Monterey! Even though it was a bit foggy out, wildlife suddenly began to appear in all directions. First, there were the crowded pods of porpoises playfully swimming in our wake and performing amateur tricks around the edge of our ship. Then, in the distance, a spray of water shot into the air, identifying the backs of nearby California grey whales. The finale of our show was a pod of orca whales, which made a brief appearance by swimming across the path of our boat right in front of the bow for everyone to see. The display was a great ending to the passage and by the time we were docked I think every passenger’s camera card was full. 

 

 

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