Tall ships, taller tales

For sheer happiness, there’s nothing like being out on the water. One of my brightest memories is of a catamaran trip taken years ago in Maui where, when we turned for home, the crew put on a song popular at the time: Alanis Morrisette singing “What if God Was One of Us?” It’s a song with lyrics that are both downright silly and theologically improbable. But the very ridiculousness of the combination (grilling hamburgers/open sea/sailboat/cheerful people/tropical fish) stamped my brain with a moment of intense happiness.
Now, add pirates to the mix—

With a bunch of ships!—

And make it sunset!—

With cannon fire!—

And you have true bliss!—

This is the Dana Point tall ships festival, held every year.  See you in 2011?


  1. TheMadLibrarian on September 14, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Tall ships, and the folk who crew them, have been a love of our family for some time. In 2005, DH and I managed to get to Great Britain for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. We were the only Americans aboard HMS Victory on October 21st, and apparently surprised the heck out of the locals with our interest. We want to see more tall ships, but we have an even farther way to go than most from the middle of the Pacific.

  2. Erin on September 14, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Those ships look too cool! Thanks for sharing pictures!

    (And I’m sure no one but me really cares, but…”One of us” is by Joan Osbourne. One of the many one-hit wonders of the 90s. 😉

  3. Laraine on September 14, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Wonderful, Laurie! Brings me back to having a chat with the skipper of HMS Black Watch, a fabulous tall ship, at a bar in Boston or on Cape Cod, long ago. I might have run off to sea had the opportunity presented itself.
    Oh, wait, I get seasick. Well, at that point, I might have been optimistic of being cured by sheer romance.

  4. Naomi Blackburn on September 15, 2010 at 6:14 am


    My family lives in that area and always have a blast at that festival. They are trying to get me out for it…Your pictures are amazing. I may have to take them up on it!

  5. Athena on September 15, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Hi Laurie. Just wanted to let you know Joan Osborne sings “One of Us”. For some reason Alanis seems to always get the credit for that one.

  6. Mem on September 16, 2010 at 6:46 am

    i love the image of tall ships, and Roylance’s “Tall Ships” suite is one of my favorite pieces of music – but the thought of actually being on the boat? especially with burgers grilling or wine pouring? no thanks, m’dear, i’d be spoiling everyone’s day being sick over the side.

  7. Merrily Taylor on September 17, 2010 at 11:38 am

    And you didn’t even list the glass of wine which apparently comes along with the ships, cannon fire, and sunset! Sounds like a great party to me!

  8. Beryl McHenry on September 20, 2010 at 5:55 am

    Yes! I knew there was a sailor in there somewhere! Several years ago we took a week-long windjammer cruise in Penobscot Bay, Maine on the J & E Riggin and loved it so much we have gone every year since. There is just nothing like the feeling of serenity on the water. Thanks for sharing, and reviving a few memories.

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