A Ship called Friendship

Moored proudly in Salem Harbor is the majestic reconstruction of the tall ship Friendship of Salem. The original Friendship was built in 1796 for merchants Jerathmiel Peirce and Aaron Waite by the same shipwright that built the Essex which gained fame in the War of 1812.

The Friendship is a 342 ton, 3 masted , square-rigged East Indiaman  that made  15 voyages during her career to Batavia, India, China, South America, the Caribbean, England, Germany, the Mediterranean, and Russia in her search for  exotic spices, sugar and coffee. Her hold filled with cargo, she would return after a 2 year mission in triumph.

Her career ended when she was taken as a prize of war by the British  in September of 1812.

The reconstruction is based on a model of the original Friendship that resides in the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) along with paintings and the ships logs.

The 171 ft. vessel took 2 years to construct in the ship yards in Albany, NY. arriving at the National Park’s Maritime National Historic Site in September 1998.  She is the largest wooden, Coast Guard certified, sailing vessel to be built in New England in more than a century.

The new Friendship is part of the National Park Service’s larger exhibit area at Salem Maritime National Historic Site. She is a fully operational sailing vessel but stays close to home so that everyone can come aboard.

The ship is operated by a volunteer crew under supervision of the National Park Service. Friendship sails as an ambassador ship for the Essex National Heritage Area.

She is a beautiful work of art as she sits serenely a rest but it is hard to imagine what everyday life must have been like for the sailors that crewed these merchantmen.

Name: Friendship of Salem
Owner: National Park Service
Builder: Scarano Brothers Shipyard
Launched: November 1996
Acquired: September 1, 1998
Homeport: Salem, MA
Status: in service
Badge: Woman in classical dress offering a bouqet of flowers
General characteristics
Class and type: Full rigged ship
Length: 171 feet bowsprit to spanker boom
Beam: 30 feet
Height: 20 feet keel to deck at midship
Decks: main deck, ‘tween deck, and holds
Installed power: onboard generators
Propulsion: 21 sails, twin diesel engines
Speed: 7.2 maximum / 5.8 average knots
Boats and landing
craft carried:
1 jolly boat
Complement: 25 crew, up to 45 persons

Not Entirely Wasted

I may have skipped driving out to Springfield but I didn’t totally blow off the whole day. After taking my little mid-morning nap I settled in to start backing up my photos. That kept me occupied for several hours and when I looked up in the afternoon I was pleased to see the sun shining in.

Nice days will become more and more rare as the season progresses so I wasn’t going to pass it up. I grabbed the camera and headed out to drive south on RT 138. I wanted to see if I could find the farm, I think it might have been a vineyard, that I had noticed when I drove out to Narragansett. Since they call RT 138 “scenic” 138, I thought I’d drive it instead of the highway.

It wasn’t until Somerset that I spotted anything I wanted to stop for.

Off to my left I could see water. I’m not sure whether it was ocean or river. I will have to check a map. I do know the Taunton River runs through Somerset so it could be that. Anyway there was the cutest little boat out there

  and a bridge..of course there was a bridge! So I had to stop.

As I approached the bank I was surprised to see a whole flotilla of swans. Quite a few  hadn’t reached the “snowy white” stage yet so I can only guess they were still immature even if they were as big as the adults.

I took my pictures and turned around to return to the car when a movement caught my eye. I walked quietly to some trees and brush and there were some sea gulls having a bathing party. I’ve never seen any bunch of birds have quite so much fun in a pool of water. They were splashing and squawking like a bunch of kids having a water fight.

I didn’t find the farm today but I had fun playing “peeping tom” to the bathing seagulls.

The BIG E…not this year

Yes it was on my calendar. It was in the books. It was a plan…but I blew it.

The day dawned overcast and the remnant of a rainstorm was puddled on the deck.

The first problem was that I over slept. The wee early hours of the last 2 days had done me in. Still I figured if I got underway by 9 am I could still be out to Springfield by 11:00 am which is opening time and the Big E didn’t close until 10 pm. Plenty of time to explore.

maxine on waking up in the mornings

I could buy my ticket online but if I stood in line I could get a senior discount, $12.00 instead of $15.00 but I have to remember that parking isn’t free. If I can get into their lot it will be $10.00/ day but if their lot is full I will be at the mercy of the “IO”. (independent operators) .

I was still feeling tired after my “wake up” shower so I ran out for breakfast and a stop at the store. Then I filled the gas tank. Even at $3.17/ gal. it took $32.00 to fill ‘er up. I was a bit surprised about that because I still had almost 1/2 tank according to my gas gauge.

Then I started thinking about the best way to get there. I was going to detour to Bass Pro Shops in Foxboro to see how their Cranberry Bog was doing but now that I had a late start that didn’t seem to be a good use of time.

Anyway, by the time I got through “discussing” this with myself I realized that I just didn’t want to go. I wanted to go to The Big E. I just didn’t want to go today. It was muggy and oppressive and overcast. Just a dreary kind of day.

The BIG E is a huge fair. It’s real name is Eastern States Exposition. It covers 175 acres and represents the New England States. The fair was founded in 1916 when it was primarily agricultural based. That is still the main function but there are also entertainers, horse shows and I imagine a midway. I was hoping to get some great photos to add to my portfolio.

But as I stood there pumping gas I realized that I was still very tired. If I drive all that way out there  I want to enjoy  myself and right then I really only wanted to go back to bed. 🙂 So you know what? That’s what  I did, call me a lazy bum but life is too short.  Sometimes you just need to slow down and kick back a little. The Big E will be there next year. I’ve never been so I guess you could say I’ve missed the last 60 years so what’s one more ?

Turkey Vultures!

I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I had heard of turkey vultures but they certainly weren’t a bird that commanded much thought from me. Certainly not like Bald Eagles or Osprey or Red Tailed Hawks. Vultures are just kind of….spooky.

I think one almost hit us as we were driving through Hot Springs S.D. I know it scared me half to death (I was the driver ) and it was one ugly bird. By the time I was able to pull over for a look it was long gone. It happened so fast.

My next encounter was on the RiverQuest cruise in Connecticut. We were looking for bald eagles and we spotted a huge bird soaring on the thermals. Everyone got very excited. Cameras came out and then the bombshell…turkey vulture no eagle.

That brings us up to the present. Amid my distractions over the Alaska Cruise info I have been keeping my eyes open for chances to grab pictures of the fall foliage especially the cranberry bogs with their bright red berries.

 Sis sent me a link to the Yankee Magazine and suggested I enter one of my pictures of Rocky in the Cutest Cat in New England Photo Contest. While I was doing that I saw the  Fall Foliage Photo Contest. Although the leaves are only just starting to “pink” here in southern MA, the cranberry bogs are in full color and some are already harvesting.

In my search for the “perfect” bog picture I found what appears to be an abandoned cranberry bog.

There’s plenty of cranberries but it is filled with stumps and old dead trees. Even though it looks like it’s neglected there was something attractive about the way it was going back to the wild. As I was taking pictures of the bog I happened to look up at the tops of the dead trees and what to my wondering eyes did appear…not 8 tiny reindeer but about 15 – 20 big , big birds!

Just like the river cruise my first reaction was EAGLES! My heart began to pound and I tried to get a better look. They all had their heads tucked under their wings and against the cloudy sky I could only make out the silhouettes, not plumage or details. Then as I watched the one at the very top raised its head. As if on signal so did most of the others and they were clearly Not Eagles. They were Turkey Vultures and I couldn’t help but think of that old Saturday morning cartoon with the 3 vultures on the dead tree.

I remember the slow talking Beaky Buzzard from LooneyToons (Nope..nope…nope)

 and I think there was a buzzard in Jungle Book

and of course Vultures are prominent this time of year along with Ravens and black cats and witches.

In any case I didn’t realize that vultures roost in large flocks like that or that they resemble their cartoon caricatures so closely!

 I’m told that the flocks of vultures will stay pretty close to their roost so I may have a chance to try again to capture this in pictures.

 I need a little better light and a little longer lens.  I can see a great Halloween shot in my future!

Last Thoughts for now on Cruising Alaska

Ok so I went a bit overboard on the stateroom stuff. I sounded like a paid advertisement for Holland America. OOPS! Plus now I know cruise ship cabins are boring! 🙂 But there are just a couple of last points I want to add to this series on the Alaska cruising.

One is the tradition od “dressing for dinner”. Historically dinner in the dining rooms on cruises were a formal affair. There were assigned times for each meal seating such as early or late, maybe 5:30 and again around 7:30. You were assigned to a table that often put strangers together. You sat with the same people throughout your cruise so hopefully you all got along.

The most formal dinner was the Captain’s Dinner when Jacket and Tie if not Black tie was strongly encouraged. Many of the cruise lines are getting away from this. The dining atmosphere is becoming more relaxed and casual. They are using a term “freestyle dining” or cruising which means that you can choose your own seating and the restaurant you want to eat in.

Beware of one thing…not all restaurants are included in the meal plan. Be sure if you chose not to eat in the dining room that the alternate restaurant is one of the inclusive options. If not you will surely have a wonderful meal but there will be a hefty price tag at the end of the meal. This can catch some new cruisers off guard.

On the Alaska Cruises through Holland America two of the dinner seating are formal. However if you don’t want to “dress the part” you can eat in the Lido Cafe which is casual. The same menu is offered as is in the dining room and it is an “inclusive” restaurant so no pricy surprise.

One other thing I made a point to ask about was the plane reservations to get us to the departure port. I had heard all kinds of things about the best way to handle the flights and of course no one agreed on anything so I tossed it out for the agents to answer.

What it boils down to is this: If the flight is booked for you by the cruise line they assume the responsibility to get you to the boat on time. They will assist you if your plane is delayed or your connections missed. If you book your own flight and have a mishap, you are on your own.

If the cruise line can’t get you to the departure port in time due to airline issues then they will be responsible for getting you to the next port of call. If you book the flight yourself, you are on your own.

Now if dollar for dollar the flight was the same cost either way it would be easy to decide . Just let the cruise line handle all the details. The problem is that unlike the “olden times” when cruise lines reserved a block of flights and offered discounted fares, you can now get a better price by booking your flight on your own. Just remember you will be on your own to handle any snafus.

One suggestion is to book your own flight and arrive a day early in your departure city. Use the time to relax, adjust your body clock or sightsee.

According to the “pros” from AAA and Holland America, this will be one of the most expensive vacations most people will take in their life so this is one time they strongly urge that you insure your vacation with trip insurance.

Although I don’t usually buy trip insurance, I expect that I will for this trip because as has been pointed out numerous times in this series of posts..it’s a lot of money!