December 1994 - January 1995
My First Tall-Ship Encounter
Say "hello" to the Golden Plover. She
is a 30 meter, single rigged top gallant brigantine with seven fore-aft
sails and three square sails. We found her in Cairns, Australia. These
two pictures show her, first under sail, and second, at anchor with
all her sails furled.
One of the crew is standing on
a yard, tending the rigging.
Above, I'm sitting on deck. I learned
a lesson about wheelchairs that tip easily and ships that pitch, yawl,
roll or otherwise move in three dimensions. Years later, I had a friend
make me some sea-legs that attach to my chair and keep me from flipping
over backwards. Later, my brother Mike improved on them (see a picture
of them in the 'Inventure' section of the Travel Gallery).
We anchored near Upolu Cay on the Great Barrier
Reef. The moment of truth was rapidly approaching as we considered
ways of getting me into the dinghy, then into the water. Trevor told
me there was a distance of eight feet between the ship's railing to
the sea below. I would somehow have to be lowered from the Plover
to a dinghy. I told him that since I became paralyzed, I had gone
skydiving, whitewater rafting, and cliff climbing and that this obstacle
was far from formidable. I was confident that we would find a solution.
After discussing various options, we agreed on
one way to get me into the dinghy. As we neared our destination, Doug,
one of the Plover's crew, suggested he carry me over his shoulder
in a "Fireman's carry". In practice, this turned out to
be less than optimal. As he carried me over the side of the ship,
he found his balance waning. He was forced to sit me on the ship's
railing, where I was balanced by two of the crew. From there, I was
lowered to the dinghy that bobbed up and down in the sea like a toy.
The crew found their sense of balance challenged by the undulating
seas, but they had plenty of heart and saw to it that I got safely
lowered into the dingy.
My brother Rob, on the left, and I are in the
dinghy, making our way back to the Plover. He went scuba diving while
I went snorkeling.
My second tall-ship encounter in
Australia was watching a replica of the Endeavor coming into Sydney
Harbor. The two pictures below are blurry, as they were taken at a
great distance. At the bottom, are two museum quality replicas of
The BBC and the History channel
have built another replica of the Endeavor, that I believe was
finished in 2001.
Endeavour, below, is a museum-standard
replica of the ship Cook used on the first of his epic voyages in
the late 1700's. She was built in Fremantle, Western Australia, using
the wealth of information available at the National Maritime Museum,
Greenwich. The original 18th century vessel was a type known as a