Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Star of India

I spent about an hour the other day wandering above and below decks on the Star of India - the world's oldest active ship docked in downtown San Diego at the San Diego Maritime Museum. It was a near religious experience...the weight of her history whispered to me from every corner and I came away deeply gratified that the Museum and its generous benefactors had seen fit to restore and maintain such a seafaring legend.

A bit of her background can find much more here.

She began her life on the stocks at Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863. Iron ships were experiments of sorts then, with most vessels still being built of wood. Within five months of laying her keel, the ship was launched into her element. She bore the name Euterpe - after the Greek goddess of music - and was renamed the Star of India by her owners int he early 1900's.

Euterpe was a full-rigged ship and would remain so until 1901, when the Alaska Packers Association rigged her down to a barque, her present rig. She began her sailing life with two near-disastrous voyages to India. On her first trip she suffered a collision and a mutiny. On her second trip, a cyclone caught Euterpe in the Bay of Bengal, and with her topmasts cut away, she barely made port. Shortly afterward, her first captain died on board and was buried at sea.


Carol Anne said...

Last time I was in San Diego, it was close to Halloween, and the Star of India was dressed up as a ghost ship, with tattered sails, cobwebs, and a literal skeleton crew.

Unofficialski said...

I know a few of the docents there, one helps contribute to our site, it's a great place and well worth the visit.

Poetry said...

4 June 2007

After the storm, my mine cleared.

And a high wind arose and blew the tropics north.


running quartz crystals through a blender.

sand through your engines.

bubbles in your bays.

estuaries reaching out toward forbidden seas...

sand through your eyes.


5 June 2007

Calm as baby's breath

as peaceful as the storm's eye

Clouds spread and drawn with rough strokes of stratospheric winds

a warm and windy tropical day.


7 June 2007

Black water at dusk.

Lighting on the horizon.

Warm winds coming in across the darkening waters.

A flash of white wings as an egret takes flight.

And Thunder like God clearing his throat.


8 June 2007

Morning star in the still of the clear, dark waters.

a sky as clear eyed as a young girl.

bruised and tattered storm remnants limp off in the gathering light.

Yuri said...

I too was fascinated by the Star. I was priviledged to be able to get into all the "not for the public areas" as well. There was the climb to the main t'gallant yard for a pic or two, and a chance to get into the bosun's shop forward and climb about the cavernous chain locker. The neatest part was ride on the railway in the bilge, a pair of carts on rails used to move ballast fore and aft for trimming, in tiny laying-flat-on-your-back tunnels. Being down there, right tight with the cold iron, in utter darkness, I really felt like I was one with the bones of the old girl.