My grandmother, on my mother’s side of the family, always loved the ocean and maritime history. Sailboats and tall ships, as well as lighthouses, made up the common decor theme in her house. From a young age, I inherited her taste for coastal scenes with a tall beacon safeguarding any passing vessel.
It’s for that family-inspired reason that I’m already looking forward to an upcoming event along the Delaware River. According to the Independence Seaport Museum e-newsletter, Tall Ships Philadelphia / Camden takes place June 25 – 28. What I love about these great ships is the sense of adventure they represent as their brave crews sail along in open seas.
I always wondered what it would be like to sail on a tall ship and finally had the chance one autumn day. Local news advertised that the 100-plus year-old schooner Pioneer, would be docking in Marcus Hook for several small public sailing tours. When the day arrived, I boarded with one group and we donned life jackets, awaiting the start of our river journey. While preparing to leave the dock, some of us took the opportunity to join the crew in hoisting the sails. I couldn’t pass that up. How often would I get the chance to try my hand at maritime tasks? Standing around the mast, we heaved and pulled downward. Thick, beige material began to unfold and rise up overhead, flapping in the wind.
Soon, we were on our way, sailing along the Delaware River toward the Commodore Barry Bridge. A tugboat caught up with us and passed by, leaving us in its wake. The wind and a chill in the air added to the experience of being in a sailor’s environment. Of course, it was only small scale in comparison to what they could encounter even when not far off-shore on the ocean.
I don’t know if there will be opportunities to board any of the tall ships during their visit to the area. If so, I’d love to go for another sail on one!