Monday, September 14, 2009

The Wooden Boat Festival 2009

Yesterday, we attended the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, which is an annual family event for us. It was extra special, since Gregg had been sick (food poisoning, we think) for two days last week, and he was finally feeling well enough to go out and do something FUN.

We met our friend Dave, two of his daughters, and friend Rick there, and walked around, admiring the craftsmanship of wooden boats. It was a perfect "Indian summer" day, typical of September in Western Washington.

We saw ships and smaller craft that have wonderful life-stories. Some are now used as teaching vessels, maintained by foundations or donations. Some can accomodate school groups, overnight.

You can see and feel history right in front of you, when you take time to learn about wooden boats. The craft is old, and the people who appreciate it are fascinating to me.

People who create and maintain wooden boats are not the same as people who buy fiberglas boats...they are a different breed. They are definitely "saltier," from what I have observed. I love that quality.

Festival-goers are allowed to go aboard the boats featured, with permission from the owners. It's always important to ask: "Permission to come aboard?" before taking off your shoes and climbing up. You can speak to the owners, read and learn about the history of each vessel. Many of the owners are proud of their boats, and are very happy to spend time telling you about their "lady" (boats are always referred to as if they were female). 

There were lots of adults and children dressed up as pirates for the festival; theatre shows were taking place in an open-air stage, sea shanties were sung by a live band in the open-air bar, food booths were full of a variety of delicacies, and there were demonstrations of "how to" do any number of things that would help you construct or care for your wooden boat. Children were able to design and build their own small, model wooden boats, with sails and rigging. A craft fair was held in town at the same time as the Festival.

The Wooden Boat Foundation and School have built two gorgeous new buildings. We toured them, and walked and walked and walked in the sun. We bought great-looking t-shirts.
We went on board one of David's dream-boats.

We admired the woodwork and style of many others.
We saw a young boy who had found a very nice place to relax.


The Wooden Boat Festival always reminds me of how simply we could live, as life on a boat involves ingenious use of space (and respectful and gorgeous craftsmanship in woodwork). It requires painstaking maintenance and loving appreciation of what has been made. It requires devotion to restoration and care, instead of disposability.

I can think of many wonderful things about sailors and their way of life. I'd like to live on a wooden boat someday, and sail it in the waters of Puget Sound - and some of Canada's portion of the Inside Passage. I'd like to fish, go wading, beachcombing, sleep on board and take photos. I'd learn to navigate, and would enjoy writing and reading, and relaxing with Gregg & David.

There is a lot of beauty in this world upon which to feast your eyes. The Wooden Boat Festival is a sure place to find some of it, and to get some salty air into your lungs, and your dreams.

9 comments:

Elizabeth said...

You live in such a wonderful part of the country -- I have never been to the Pacific Northwest and would love to visit. Thanks for sharing so much interesting information and pretty photos!

karengberger said...

Elizabeth, you should come and bring your lovely mermaid with you (& your guys)! There are so many beautiful beaches to enjoy, and Seattle has a hopping food community, as you may know!

Kay said...

So amazingly beautiful! You have such great things right near you! I'm so glad you had such a delightfully lovely day!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I love that saying at the bottom about the beauty of this world and feasting our eyes!! Glad Gregg was feeling better and could enjoy this family tradition.
I also think that there is such a difference with the wooden boat enthusiasts...this is a true art. We noticed this when we were in Venice too.
Hugs, Suz

Lakeland Jo said...

glad you had a great time- something I would like to do some time when I am visiting

Karla said...

Sounds like a wonderful day!

Karen and Joe said...

I like the way David hangs out with you two. You must be very cool parents! What a great day for you all.

Anonymous said...

Without your permission, I clicked on your last picture to make it the background on my computer. It is stunning! I was born in PT, then left as a child, but life circumstances brought me back there again in high school. I don't think I really appreciated the beauty of PT at the time. Thanks for the great reminder.

karen gerstenberger said...

Dear Anonymous,
I'm so glad that you liked that last photo - and I have to admit that Gregg took it, not I. He gets the credit; he's a good photographer!