Captain Jack Sparrow coveted the H.M.S. Interceptor the first time he laid eyes on her. Faster than any British frigate, streamlined, easily maneuverable in the hands of two seasoned pirates (well, one pirate and a dashing sword smith aching to save the damsel) the vessel is a filmmakers dream! A tall ship in a turquoise ocean, played by The Lady Washington.
Living on the west coast allows for fans of pirates and high sea travel-lovers a glorious chance to experience this beautiful ship up close. In the summer, she wanders out into the Puget Sound and engages in sheer lunacy, firing cannons and circling her foe, the Hawaiian Chieftain. Sails buckle in the wind, wakes ripple, and keel sings in harmony to the thumping melodies of the men on board. Anyone with a hankering for adventure (and a good pair of ear plugs) will enjoy the three hour bout.
But there are other trips they offer fitting for a writer with more serious intent.
Good fortune and a little school-age grandchild got me a trip on her sister ship, the Hawaiian Chieftain. (We were supposed to voyage on the Lady, but she was away filming another movie, oh the life of stardom!). I felt like a kid again, taking the Discovery Journey that these two ships from Gray’s Harbor offer.
A voyage like this is the fulfillment of an author’s dream (and illustrator too I might add!). There are many things that landlubbers don’t know-history written only for those souls hungry for a taste of salty sea and the sharp cry of a gull. For all the hard tack that falls on an empty stomach, swollen hands that tackle flying lines, and sails that pull and tug with the slightest breath of wind,one catches the reason for weighing anchor.
Its not a wonder that the deck hands had us sit quiet and asked that we not speak for a few memorable moments.That brief passage of time spoke the sailor’s heart. Nothing can describe it. I’ve been on a sailboat before when my husband also brought my attention to the magnificence of the sound of the sails and the sea working in harmony. A complete peace.
Stories of a sailor’s life fit well into fantasy. So much can happen in that vast wilderness of ocean, when a man’s mind fights to keep from wandering. The clip in the Pirates of the Caribbean featuring Johnny Depp going crazy, seeing doubles of himself as he’s stranded on that hot loamy island is so believable!
Isolation for days at sea can be just as grueling as floating aimlessly in space, and not much different. Strange creatures appear and disappear form the depths, and even stranger humans make an entrance. Stevenson Treasure Island, Kipling’s Captain Courageous, and Lewis’ Voyage of a Dawn Treader are only a few of the legends introducing pirates, treasures and dragons into the world of fiction.
One of my favorite adventure series is C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower. Not so much a fantasy, though the young captain certainly had his fill of fantastic adventures, Forester’s descriptions are so real when you do put the book down, a bit of salt lingers on your tongue.
I was in the midst of writing my third book in my series Ian’s Realm, Rubies and Robbers when my granddaughter asked me if I would chaperone this adventure. I jumped at the chance, and who wouldn’t? Being on the Hawaiian Chieftain allowed me to touch, smell, feel (and fall in love with) a piece of history, and a bit of fantasy. It was an incredible day.
I couldn’t possibly have used all the interesting facts I learned in my current novel. I’m sure those tidbits will leak out in future writings though. One thing I walked away with was the secret desire to take that six week adventure sailing the Lady Washington offers, the one that would make me a crew member. I can imagine the tall tales that would come from such a voyage!