Let me start by saying that by 9 a.m. in Charleston, the temperature has usually reached 90 degrees. Sunday was no exception and I was gross and sweaty and apparently whichever volunteer was supposed to be putting out water for people to drink failed at life and allowed us all to become dried out husks of our former selves. But! On to the boats...
We started out at the dock at the Maritime Center, where the smaller of the ships were. Some of these ships were not available for deck tours, but they were fun to look at. The Etoile (French) was open for tours but had a really high bridge that took you to the upper level and I was wearing a dress. So I sat out on that one. Our first stop was the Spirit of Bermuda - a 112' three-masted schooner with a 10' draft and 23' beam. The craftsmanship of this ship was immaculate. The joints in the wood on the deck were very unique and just beautiful. The crew were also very nice and entertained questions gladly. It was an 8 day journey for them from Bermuda to Charleston and I think they were just enjoying the time off.
Spirit of Bermuda
Next, we boarded the Schooner Virginia. She is a 126' two-masted schooner with a wooden hull, a 12' draft and a 24' beam. Can't say I was too impressed. It's not that the ship was hideous or anything like that. I just think I wanted to see the bigger ships and this was the last stop before we headed over to the Union Pier Passenger Terminal. While we were on board, the Spirit of South Carolina also sailed by. The Spirit is a teaching vessel that sails from Charleston.
The Schooner Virginia
The Spirit of South Carolina
On the way to the Passenger Terminal we happened to catch some of the air show. Was kind of really fun to watch. The pilots were really daring, coming within very short distances of each other, and at times dipping down to no higher than 30' above the water. There was also a parachute team that came in as we were leaving.
The first large ship we boarded was the Eagle. She hails from New London, CT and is a United States Coast Guard ship. The Eagle is 295' long, has a 39' beam, a 16' draft and a steel hull. At the top of the bridge we were met by two women in uniform. They didn't say anything to welcome people aboard and looked kind of irritated to be there, and actually I assumed they didn't speak English. This was before I realized we were on an American ship and that they were just being rude. I was happier anyway to be on a ship that didn't allow me to sense the bobbing around in the water. Bleh. Anyway...nice ship.
The Uruguayan ship was next. The crew members on the deck were scarce as most of them were probably still recovering from last night's festivities (and they did emerge at about 1:30 p.m. and start the drumming and dancing again). Those that we did see were all on their laptops. This ship was cool because we could go into the room with all the controls and navigational stuff in it (insert technical term here). See pictures from yesterday.
The last ship we boarded was by far the most impressive. The Kruzenshtern, hailing from Kalingrad, Russia, is a four-masted barque with a length of 376', draft of 16' and beam of 46'. This is clearly a steel hulled ship. Before we saw this ship, we knew it was large. But..."large" is really a huge understatement. She's an impressive vessel that has been through a lot, supposedly. The poor fellows on board didn't really speak much English at all, and they were left to fend for themselves with the people asking questions. But they did have lots of boards with photos and captions to help them out. Throughout the day we were glancing at this ship, because they were doing a repair to the mast and there were men wayyy high up there just sitting like they were on a chair on the ground. Crazy.
Ohai crazy people!
At the end of the dock, there was the Romanian Mircea. Also a very large ship, but we did not board. The sun was getting to us and there was a huge line to weight before boarding. Beyond the Mircea was a freighter that was loading cars and RVs.
After our long day on the docks, we grabbed some food downtown and then headed to Folly Beach to have a nice relaxing walk and to look at the lighthouse. The tide was just going out when we got there and the breeze was blowing steadily. It was a lovely outing.
Unfortunately, the rest of Sunday was not as nice. Upon returning to my apartment, I fed the animals and we just relaxed for a bit. Until we noticed that Oliver, the poor little fellow, was rubbing his eye and meowing a lot. I looked at him and at first thought that he'd actually ripped part of his eye, as all I could see was white. But it was really his third eyelid that was swollen. We took him to the emergency veterinarian clinic, and after he assaulted most of the veterinarian staff for trying to touch him, they had to sedate him. Turns out he somehow got some scratches on the cornea. We're not sure how, but we do know it wasn't from the dog, as they were separated all day. So anyway, we left with some antibiotics and a cone on his head. After a follow-up appointment today, it seems he is doing well and will have a full recovery soon. But he's not happy about the damn cone.
That's all I've got for today. Monday's events come tomorrow!
Also, pardon the less-than-fantastic photos. The only excuse I can make is that I wasn't wearing my glasses...but that's probably not it.