Friday, June 22, 2012

Sailabrating the War of 1812 in Baltimore

This past weekend Maryland kicked off its observance of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with the Star-Spangled Sailabration, which featured a gathering of tall ships and naval vessels from several countries. I was busy on Saturday and Sunday, so I didn't get to see the Blue Angels performances. By Monday, when I made it to Baltimore's Inner Harbor where the event was taking place, some of the ships, including the USCG Cutter Eagle, had already left. But four of the international visitors were still present, and I went aboard three of them.

When I arrived at 11 AM, the lines for the two largest ships looked long, so I started with the somewhat smaller Indonesian vessel, KRI Dewaruci.

The Dewaruci is named after a mythological figure, who appears as the ship's figurehead, and whose story is presented in terribly broken English (as with all the photos, you can click on it to see it in a larger size).

The masts were decorated with what looked like traditional art, including a trio of scary-looking masks. (And, yes, they were flying the skull and crossbones among their flags!)

The ship's compass up close.

The ship's mainmast and foremast against the cloudy sky. The sky was gray all day, with light rain about half the time.

While I was aboard the Dewaruci, the 19th-century sloop of war, USS Constellation, which is permanently docked in Baltimore, fired one of its guns at noon. Then, a few minutes later, another local tallship, the Pride of Baltimore II, answered with its own gun. Here you can still see a bit of the smoke from the latter, the black and gold ship in the foreground.

My next stop was the BAE Guayas, from Ecuador, my favorite of the three vessels.

The ship's figurehead was a condor, which also appears atop Ecuador's coat of arms.

As with many such ships, each mast of the Guayas has a name. From front to rear, they are named Popeyes, Duke, and Corsarios.

A local pirate stands guard at the gangplank. His empty left hand cries out for a cutlass or a mug of grog!

One of the vessels permanently on display at the Inner Harbor is the retired USCG Cutter Taney.

In its previous life as a naval vessel, the Taney survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. Its battle honors include shooting down a few enemy aircraft and several successful drug interdictions.

This screw-pile lighthouse, which formerly marked the entrance to the Patapsco River at Seven Foot Knoll, was moved to Baltimore 25 years ago and is now open to tourists.

Among the displays in the lighthouse is this model of the Baltimore clipper Harvey, which served as a privateer during the War of 1812 before settling into the more mundane life of a cargo carrier.

The Harvey was very similar to the Pride of Baltimore II, shown here docking by the USS Constellation.

A better view of the Constellation.

The Sailabration festivities also included several modern naval vessels.

The Urban Pirates' vessel Fearless stalks the harbor.

My final stop was the ARM Cuauhtémoc, from Mexico.

A Mexican officer in summer whites stands in front of the ship's boat answering visitors' questions.

The War of 1812 actually continued into 1815, so the local commemoration of the war will continue until 2015.


Sara K. said...

I was hoping we could make it down to Baltimore for this. We didn't get a chance, so thank you for letting me go there virtually!

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Thank you for posting these magnificent photos !
I'm on the other side of the Pond and really enjoyed reading about your visit !