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Hawaiian Chieftain visits John Wayne Marina
After docking in Sequim's John Wayne Marina last week, the tall ship headed to Port Angeles Sept. 16 for daily tours through Sept. 20, when it likely will have a mock battle with the Lady Washington, its companion ship.
The pair often skirt the state's shorelines, going from port to port attending tall ship festivals or simply making themselves and their crew available for public visits and education programs.
"It's a great experience being a crewmember of the ship, you get to learn so much and see even more," said Hawaiian Chieftain cook and all-around handyman Mark Scibinco. "It's a good life if you like the water and working within a nonprofit atmosphere."
Hundreds of people flocked to Sequim's marina during the boat's visit, which was its first in years. They learned about the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport's mission to keep maritime heritage alive through educational, vocational, recreational and ambassadorial activities and experiences.
The Hawaiian Chieftain is a steel replica of a European merchant trader from the turn of the 19th century. It was built in 1988 and its hull shape and rigging are similar to those of Spanish explorers' ships used in the expeditions of the late 18th century along the Washington, Oregon and California coasts.
While most of its crew is assigned through the ship's main office in Aberdeen, oftentimes people will jump aboard on a whim, such as Aaron "Whaler" Walker.
Walker was visiting a relative in Port Townsend when he went to see the tall ships in the harbor.
Needless to say he fell in love with the thought of sailing away and signed on for a short tour that might turn into something more.
"It was all by chance and I felt like I needed to take this opportunity to learn this type of sailing," Walker said while buffing the side of the Chieftain's hull with a rag. "I've always had a love affair with the sea."
The ship takes on about 12 crew members, eight of whom are paid employees. The others are volunteers. First-time volunteers pay a fee to become part of the crew, which pays for the education they receive in sailing, ship maintenance and other maritime duties specific to tall ships. After the training period is over, they can become volunteers who work for free other than room and board. Volunteers often get offered staff positions as they become available.
The Lady Washington is expected to meet the Hawaiian Chieftain in Port Angeles Sept. 20 after it goes through routine maintenance and inspections. If the maintenance is completed on time, the ship will perform in a mock battle with the Hawaiian Chieftain.
The Lady Washington is the official ship of the state of Washington and is a full-scale reproduction of the original Lady Washington, built in the British colony of Massachusetts in the 1750s.
The first Lady Washington was the first American vessel to make landfall on the west coast of North America. Its replica was built in 1989 and portrayed the Interceptor in Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."
For more information on the nonprofit Historical Seaport or its ships, visit www.historical seaport.org.
The Hawaiian Chieftain left Sequim and sailed into Port Angeles Sept. 16, where it is available for walk-on tours from noon-5 p.m. Sept. 17-19 and from 10 a.m.-
1 p.m. Sept. 20. A $3 donation is encouraged. The Lady Washington likely will meet with the Hawaiian Chieftain for a mock battle sail at 2 p.m. Sept. 20. Tickets are available at 800-200-5239 or www.historicalseaport.org.