Posted by: Blue Lou Logan | April 1, 2011

Galleon ahoy!


The last time I was in the boat shop at the Center, a group of people came in to look around.  A man came up to me–keep in mind I was just past orientation–and asked if we had any caulking mallets.  I knew that this kind of tool has been used since the days of tall ships to seal between planks using cotton and oakum (hemp soaked in pine tar).  The question struck me as odd, because our little shop wasn’t normally in the business of repairing tall ships.  “I make them,” the man said.  “I donate some to the Center’s annual auction, and I was wondering if there were still some around.”  I did find a drawer with caulking mallets in it, but upon inspection none turned out to be made by him.

I then learned that he and his group were on “vacation” from the San Diego Maritime Museum
Their big project now is the on-site construction of a Spanish galleon, specificially the San Salvador, the flagship of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.  In 1542, Cabrillo set out from Jalisco with the San Salvador and two smaller vessels and sailed north into unknown territory.  Cabrillo and his crew became the first Europeans to explore the coast of what we now know as California.  They made it as far as the Russian River, completely missing the entry to San Francisco Bay; mariners would continue to do that for 200 years!

When complete, the replica will be full-scale, fully accurate and fully functional.  The whole project is being done in public view, so everybody can watch the progress.  This is cool on a historical level, since I grew up in San Diego.  And c’mon, this is a galleon, we’re talkin’ here!!  Grappling hooks away me, me hearties!  OK, I promise not to plunder the San Salvador (at least not ’til she’s built).

The visitor also said the HMS Surprise is back to seaworthy status and apparently will now bridge Capt. Jack Aubrey to Capt. Jack Sparrow with a role in the upcoming On Stranger Tides.   Can San Diego get any more piratical?

I’m hoping to be back at the Center this weekend.  Things are looking good:  Zanne’s making steak pies using my already raved-about KGB stout, I have rum to experiment with, and I seem to have kicked that damned flu.  TGIF!

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