Our friend, Joyce, is as much adventure-bound as we are so the three of us headed out!
We had some unfinished business in South Seaport. We were there a few weeks ago, visited some of the sights in the area but were not able to see and do many of the things the area offers. Mainly, we wanted to set sail on the Pioneer, a schooner, which is part of Seaport’s fleet of ships. The museum offers a sailing trip around Manhattan harbor and out by the Statue of Liberty. The sights are incredible.
The Pioneer is a schooner, a sailboat with 2 masts, built in 1885. It had quite a history and was eventually left to the Seaport Museum in 1970. A crew of about 8 handles the Pioneer’s sailing needs. An amazing thing is….all the sailing crew members are volunteers. Some of them have been volunteering to do this for 20 years. They have day jobs and play sailor on evenings, weekends and holidays. We felt that was remarkable.
As we left the dock, a member of the crew was near the bow, keeping watch on the harbor, giving hand signals to the captain, warning her of nearby vessels. She explained. They have signals for Ferries, motorboats, tugboats and Seadoos, all the different vessels they encounter in the rivers and harbor.
Passengers are allowed to help hoist the sails. They ask for volunteers, so guess what? Popeye and Olive Oyl, here, jumped up to be real sailors! We hoisted the Main sail and tied off the rigging, the whole time quietly humming the tune to Sloop John B.
We moved out of the slip and into the harbor, the seaway opened up and we cut our way out toward the inlets. We were able to look north up the East River to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges where we had seen the July 4 fireworks show.
We rounded the tip of Manhattan. The enormous skyscrapers there were dwarfed by the One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower). That is one tall, pretty building!
Sailing further out, Lady Liberty came into view. I remembered the first time I saw her and I didn’t realize she was green. She cast an impressive figure framed by the riggings of our boat.
We soon turned to return to port. This time we were able to look up the Hudson side. On the left was the New Jersey shoreline, on the right, Manhattan. It was just beginning to take on its evening face of lights and neon.
Too soon, the tour was coming to an end. The peaceful sailing cruise had left behind the hustle and bustle of New York City howling through the concrete, glass and steel canyons. We had escaped for a brief time and relaxed in the gentle waves of New York Harbor. Now it was time to return. But we know where to find it again!