The Lady Washington has appeared on the screen several times including Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Star Trek: Generations, and even ABC’s Once Upon a Time. When not appearing on screen, the Lady Washington makes her home in Aberdeen, Washington. Since being commissioned in 1989, the Lady Washington is “Washington State’s Tall Ship Ambassador.” She cruises up and down the West coast, often with the Hawaiian Chieftain. The primary mission is to education. The educational experiences teach students about what it is like to be a sailor, 18th century navigation, and history as well.
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to experience one of its three hour tours sailing aboard the Lady Washington and experience a simulated battle with the Hawaiian Chieftain. The cruise began in the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, California. We set sail with the Hawaiian Chieftain at 2:00 pm and made our way out into the beautiful Pacific Ocean over some pretty awesome swells. Leaving the harbor the Lady Washington utilized her engines as she made her way out into the sea.
As we made our way out into the ocean, the crew shared about the ship. This included some of the history, how things worked aboard ship, and how long some of the crew had been aboard. The captain was incredibly knowledgeable and shared stories and jokes as we made our way out to the location where the battle would take place.
After about an hour, the engines were cut and the sails were raised. Within a few minutes, the ship was sailing completely under wind power. It was beautifully quiet and freeing as the Lady Washington slid silently through the sea. Because of a lack of strong wind, the progress was less than speedy. It was time for the battle.
The Lady Washington took the first shot. In fact, the Lady Washington did most of the shooting from what I could tell. Each shot sent a pillar of smoke out towards the Hawaiian Chieftain. As we tacked to and fro, both ships jockeyed for the better shot. The captain shared about the different sea battles through the years and how some could last minutes and others… take forever. It really all depended on the wind. He also shared some tricks for jockeying into a better position against ones adversary. The battle lasted for about an hour and really was a lot of fun.
Upon the conclusion of the battle, it was time to begin the trek back to the Channel Islands Harbor. As had happened while traveling out, sea shanties were sung. A more in depth history of the Lady Washington was shared as well. We were also allowed to explore down below deck and purchase things from the gift shop found down there (which was really just a shelf against the bunks). There, we found the last piece remaining aboard the Lady Washington from the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Finally, the cruise came a conclusion as the Lady Washington made her way back into port. The entire experience was a lot of fun and it was hard to not be thinking of the music to the Pirates of the Caribbean while battling at sea. Cruising aboard the Lady Washington is an adventure that is definitely worth taking. If you ever have the opportunity, definitely go for it. If you would like more information on the Lady Washington, visit historicalseaport.org.
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