For our final leg up the Delaware River HMS Bounty sailed side-by-side with privateer Lynx. We were astonished by the strength of the current in the Delaware River and the amount of debris in the water. Many large chunks of wood and even a 30 ft tree!
It has been pushing 100 degrees the last few days with little to no wind, but we came in under full sail for the city of Philadelphia. It took the crew just 20 minutes to set every sail on the ship, quite a feat in the hot weather!! Although we were motoring in the calm conditions, those towers of white canvas were, as always, a wonderful sight to see.
After all the sails are set the work is not over, later when they are struck all crew must go aloft to furl them back up on to the yards. (Much more work than our sloop Velocir!!!!). It is exhausting for us to keep up with the crew. Hands become calloused and muscles ache. But after a few weeks you become astonished at your own strength!
One of the best parts of being on the ship is climbing all over it. Out to bowsprit, up the masts (three to choose from) and down into the depths of the ship. Amelia’s favorite spot is the bowsprit. It juts up and gives a beautiful view of Bounty cutting through the water.
Captain Robin brought the massive ship into the dock as smoothly as if she were our little Velocir. (He knows the ship well; even dropping the massive 900lb anchor twice doing a 180 degree turn in tight quarters with a side wind while we were in Annapolis to line up the dock just right.) After helping get the sails furled and the many, many lines coiled down; we went over to help the 110 year-old barkentine Gazela dock close to Bounty and watched yet another masterful docking of these huge ships. (www.gazela.org)
Amelia and Grant took the night watch of the ship last night so the crew could sing their chanties and drink their beer with the other tallship crew. While Grant was below pumping bilges (wooden boats…) he felt the boat suddenly heel 15 degrees….at the dock! Amelia was on deck saving the flags before the thunderstorm/squall came upon us blowing gale force and causing a complete whiteout. The crew stopped hanging the disco ball in the tween decks and burst from the ship clad in foul weather gear to rescue a tent on the dock that had exploded and then everyone jumped to repositioning dock lines and gear in the pouring rain after the wind had subsided.
We have had a lot of fun seeing old shipmates and getting to see all the historical sights Philadelphia has to offer. We will miss the wonderful crew of the HMS Bounty and although this the end of our journey on the ship, Bounty’s does not end: (www.tallshipbounty.org)
We have left Velocir for a larger ship! Well, only temporarily to crew the tall ship Bounty. Bounty was built in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia in 1960 for the 1962 Marlon Brando movie Mutiny on the Bounty. A wooden ship- she is 180 feet long overall. The height of the main mast is 115 feet. (www.tallshipbounty.org)
This ship is significant to us because it is how we met! Grant was a professional crew member and Amelia was a volunteer when they crossed the Atlantic together on Bounty in 2009. Being back on the ship three years later is a fun experience. It is also a lot of work! Bounty has over 18 sails to hoist, furl and many projects to attend to.
Our watch the first morning was from 4-8 am, so we enjoyed the beautiful sunrise on the calm waters of the Chesapeake Bay as the anchor was hauled up and we got underway. We had spent the night near Turkey Point, where the C&D Canal and Susquehanna River part. There was a lot more current here then we expected, and moving into the Delaware River the current picked up even more.
During the day, the barque rigged tall ship Guayas from Ecuador (launched in 1976) moved past us in the channel just before the entrance to the C&D Canal. Many crew members were aloft in orange work suits and waved to us.
From 12-4 pm is work party! During this time the Bosun gives the off-watch crew (crew not on watch) maintenance projects to do around the ship. Today all the lines were taken off the pin rails so that the wood could be oiled. Amelia and other crew also went up to the top of the rigging to tar the shrouds while Grant hung off the side of Bounty to do some painting. We’ve tried to highlight these interesting and unique projects in our videos!
Amelia stood bow watch as we came into our anchorage. Just for a fun challenge, the mates turned off the GPS and used traditional navigation (compass bearings and paper charts) to get us near shore. We were only .2 miles from our intended destination, so we did rather well. Dodging crab pots was also a challenge but we managed to avoid them all!
Later in the day privateer Lynx anchored near us. (www.privateerlynx.com) After we are at anchor Bounty goes into a rotation called “anchor watch.” One person spends each hour on watch logging our GPS position, writing down the compass bearings of three specific buildings on shore, completing a boat check and pumping the bilges. We spent the night off Newcastle, DE in anticipation of our next stop, Philadephia!
Check out more tallship activities at: www.sailtraining.org