Rides and Tales

Observations From Behind Bars

Tall Ships in Texas

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We were pleased to learn that four tall ships were going to be calling on Ingleside, Texas, just across the bay from us, the weekend of Independence Day.   Sunday, July 4th, we fired up the big yella bike and scooted on over.

The town of Ingleside had been pretty much a wide spot till the US Navy built a base there.  Originally meant to home port a battle ship, it became a mine warfare support station when the battleships were deemed obsolete and retired.  Then, in 2005, the order came down from the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Committee to close the base. For the time being, at least, the Port of Corpus Christi controls it.
It makes a grand place for the public to view the beautiful sailing ships that came to call.

Ingleside has seen her fortune wax and wane, but the flags proudly displayed along the main drag evidenced unchanging pride.

Rolling into the parking area we could see that the Mexican Navy had chosen to fly, on the visit to an American port, on our Independence Day, a huge garrison flag, larger than some of the sails on their barque.  Having this huge naval dingo ball flying was not enough of a classless act, the captain pulled up to the dock and, no shit, turned up the stereo on the boat just as if he was some insolent, tattooed lowrider at a 7-Eleven gas pump.

First in line, though, was the Uruguayan 205-foot training vessel, “Capitan Miranda”.  The flags flying from the rigging tell what ports she’s called on before arriving.

The Mexican ship, itself, was a thing of beauty, despite her captain’s insulting display of her gaudy flag.  The ship is named after an Aztec king who was tortured  by the Spanish after having been given a promise of clemency, a recurring theme in Mexican history.

We admired the ship while trying to ignore the flea market-like atmosphere on her deck.


The US Coast Guards barque “Eagle” was next.

A training vessel, like the others, the Eagle had more of a military air because of her paint.
I joked with Jill that I was surprised at the long line of people waiting to tour her; after all, she’s a big floating police car.

The only four-master present was the, 371-foot, Chilean barquentine, “B.E. Esmeralda”, also the second tallest and longest sailing ship afloat.

Nicknamed, “La Dama Blanca (The White Lady)” the Esmeralda has quite a history that includes, floating jail, and two-time Cutty Sark regatta winner. She was such a beautiful vessel that Jill and I decided to go aboard and look around.

The legend above the wheel house reads, “Win or Die”.

Whaleboats hung from davits, but there was also evidence of the, more modern, Zodiac.

The ship is, after all, a military academy.

The anchors are weighed with engine-driven pulleys, but capstans are OEM.

The bow of the ship had a lot of rigging and hardware on the deck.  You can bet the cadets have to keep their eyes open and their wits about them.

Having completed our tour, we decided to have a look at the Uruguayan ship,
“Capitan Miranda”, on the way out.  While we waited a group called “Sisters Morales”, playing in the pavilion across the road, inflicted us with their brand of 400-decibel bi-lingual torture thinly disguised as music.  By the time the guard told us the ship was closed to tourists, for the day, I was developing a rather piercing headache, and was relieved that I had an excuse to be on my way.

We walked to where we’d parked that bike, at least a mile away, and the awful caterwauling intruded for most of the way.  As the saying goes, “If they can’t fuck it or eat it, they piss all over it”.

Count me out of the next Quatro de Julio.


Written by fiddle mike

July 5, 2010 at 3:54 am

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