Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A bit of excitement

Whaleboat number 2 is back from the WoodenBoat show at Mystic Seaport for a few weeks at home. No matter what anyone else says, volunteer John S. declared that ours was the prettiest whaleboat there, but out of a misguided sense of modesty, or in deference to our competition, ISM opted not to enter the formal competition.  Consequently, the entry from Beetle was crowned "Miss Whaleboat 2013."  

At WoW, work continues on the construction of the rigs for the two whaleboats.  We want to have them completely finished when the boats return to Mystic for the launching of the Morgan in late July.  The second gaff was completed with the fastening of its jaws by Charles and oiling by Newt. The mast for the second rig was also sanded and oiled, and is ready to go. Two booms remain, and then the rope work can be completed, so we will have both standing and running rigging done for both boats.

Gaff jaws for the second gaff are fastened in place.
Charles sands the mast while . . . .
Newt oils the two gaffs with "Boat Soup"
Work continued on the Whitehall, "Culture."  Reefing completed, she was sanded and caulked by a crew of volunteers.  Lee, Joe, and a brand new volunteer, Larry, did the work.  It was great to see Larry on his first day in the shop, actively involved in the arcane craft of caulking. 

Larry and Joe caulking away at the stern of the Whitehall.
Watch those fingers.

Lee has the bow all to himself.
We had a bit of afternoon excitement in the shop when Dockmaster Dan returned from bailing the fleet in the basin with a "genuine" treasure -- a carefully sealed bottle with what appeared to be a rolled up message in it. Dan said he found it floating next to the body of a dead carp, but whether there was any connection between the two bits of flotsam was unclear. Police were not called.

Dockmaster Dan proudly displays his find while Jeff looks on in awe.
Being a maritime museum, we were bound to treat Dan's find as a potential artifact.  Possibly it had been at sea for years and years, made its way up the Delaware, and lodged on the corner of the Penn's Landing marina. Consequently, an urgent call was placed to our curator, Craig Bruns.

Craig carefully examines the bottle while Newt looks on in awe.
Craig decided that Dan should have the honor of opening the bottle, which he did. It contained a long scroll of pages sewn together end to end. Being a maritime museum, the opening was, of course, carefully documented by Museum staff.

Dan examines the scroll while the documentors document from all angles.
The scroll was wrapped in a piece of paper which directed us to a website, giving us our first hint that the bottle had not been in the water for decades. The website told us that the bottle was part of an art project which originated in Germany, but that our particular bottle, alas, had been tossed into the Delaware at Penn's landing just a couple of weeks ago.  Nevertheless, it all made for some excitement and fun on this shortened holiday week.

No comments:

Post a Comment