Thursday, November 16, 2017

Black and White Photo Challenge -- El Galeon

I got tagged in the black and white photo challenge that was going around Facebook last month. The rules were simple: 7 days, 7 black and white photos of everyday life. No people, no pets, no explanations.

I had a bit of an unfair advantage in that challenge. After all, on the Galeon I live in a target-rich environment. There's almost nowhere you can point a camera and not have an option for a unique picture. The black and white got me thinking about the details and textures of the things in my life, and I'm really glad to have had the motivation to see my world through a different lens (no pun intended), as black and white is all about detail and silhouette and texture.  At the same time, I'm more of a writer than a photographer, and the restriction against explanations really chafed! So I'm republishing the photos here, this time with captions.

In the old days the ship's bell was used to signal danger, or all hands on deck, or mark the passage of time or end of watch. Now, it's used to signal that the food is ready for lunch or dinner. We take the clapper out when we're open for deck tours, or every kid who comes aboard would want to ring it -- and it's loud. Coming into port, we often ring it as our way of acknowledging the welcome of towns we visit. Sometimes that was my job. Coming into Bay City 2 years ago, it took us 45 minutes to travel upriver to the dock near dusk, and almost the entire way was lined with cheering crowds. I was very enthusiastic in my ringing, so enthusiastic in fact, that my forearms were sore for most of the following week! 

One of 12 replica cannons on board. Dan loves giving the kids on tour a chance to hold a real cannonball and feel its weight.

The mainsail is so big, I could only fit half of it in the camera!

Ship has over 10 kilometers (6 miles) of rope rigging.

There's such wonderful attention to detail throughout the ship -- this latch is on a supply closet on the gun deck. I opened it almost every morning to get the mop and broom to clean the deck before visitors arrived.

Publicity photo with 6 of our 7 sails flying

When we're docked, we illuminate the ship at night (free advertising). This lovely geometric display is what I saw lying on my back on the foredeck one night after closing.

So much to love about the stern of the ship! Tall and narrow because we are always going downwind, modern non-nautical visitors confuse the shape and assume this is the front. The gorgeous large lantern on top, on the poop deck, was used to communicate between ships of the same fleet (although now ours is lit with LEDs instead of oil lamp). I've forgotten part of the story of the saint painted there -- she's actually an artistic combination of two saints, one the patron saint of sailors, the other the protector of Spain. But my favourite is the balcony. On our 2nd year voyage, on one long passage we played a hilarious "murder" game. Each person had a random "victim," another member of the crew. To "murder" your victim, you had to get him/her alone in a part of the ship assigned to you by chance, and have in hand your unlikely "murder weapon." Long before I managed to lure my "victim" to the water tank on the lower deck, Pablo tricked Dan into coming out here while armed with the trash can lid. Doing that inconspicuously was the genius move of the voyage, since there was no legitimate reason for him to have been out there at all, much less with a trash can lid!

The wonderful intricate sculpture and rope work of the tabla jarcia (rigging table). This is the forward one; the aft one is also our diving platform for swim call at sea.


  1. So much better with captions :-) I love the detail of that latch.

    1. Figured another writer would get it, even though I enjoyed the photo challenge. When I started the captions I realized each part of the ship had a purpose that I wanted to explain (that's the tour guide in me), and also held a personal story or memory.

      The latch, like almost everything else aboard, is unique. It's not like you can buy this stuff at West Marine...