|Friendship of Salem leading the Tall Ships Rhode Island 2007 Parade of Sail under the Claiborne Pell Bridge in Newport, RI.|
As it were.
I had just completed the arrangements at Naval Station Newport and was heading to my car to head home. It was a fine day, not too hot, bright sunshine and a brisk zephyr coming off Narragansett Bay. It was a fine day to be upright on God's fine Earth and to be footloose and fancy free for a few days.
I had already started my post-Air Force career but had been allotted a certain number of days to arrange affairs as we prepared to settle in Little Rhody. (That certain number of days I learned later is what the civilian world calls "vacation." On active duty it is called "leave." I sometimes slip up and refer to non-weekend days away from work by the latter term. Much to the amusement of my civilian colleagues.)
As I lit a cigarette and gazed out upon the sparkling waters of the Bay I saw, upon those waters, coming out from beneath the Newport Pell Bridge a three masted sailing vessel. (I did smoke in those days, and yes Tuna I am still a non-smoker, thank you for asking.)
I went closer to the water's edge and stared in wonder at this fine ship, sailing up the Bay. I had never seen such a sight in all my days. Closer inspection revealed that it had what appeared to be gun ports along the side.
Marveling, I had to get in my automobile and return to the business at hand.
Later, back in our new home town, I noticed that tied up to the pier at the Yacht Museum was the very ship I had seen earlier in the day. I had indeed seen gun ports, not the painted on variety to scare off pirates, but the real thing. Behind which brooded 20 some odd cannon, ten to each broadside.
I later learned that she was a full-size reproduction of an 18th Century ship of the Royal Navy, His Britannic Majesty's frigate HMS Rose.
HMS Rose was a 20-gun sixth-rate post ship of the Royal Navy, built in Hull, England in 1757. Her activities in suppressing smuggling in the colony of Rhode Island provoked the formation of what became the Continental Navy, precursor of the modern United States Navy. In the Seven Years' War, Rose was in service in the Channel and in the Caribbean. She was briefly considered for service as Captain James Cook's vessel on his first exploration of the Pacific, but was rejected as unable to stow the quantity of provisions required for the planned circumnavigation of the globe. Instead she was sent to the North American station, en route to which she encountered Cook's ultimate choice of vessel, HMS Endeavour on September 12, 1768 when the two ships anchored alongside each other at Funchal in the Madeira Islands. - WikipediaI saw the Rose a few more times over the next year or so, then lost all track of her. But I did a little research on her some time down the road.
In 1970 a replica of HMS Rose, designed by Phil Bolger, was built in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia for an estimated $330,000 contract to the West India Packet Company (John Millar). She was initially intended as a "dockside attraction," used for display and later sail training until 2001 when she was purchased by Fox Studios, sailed to Southern California and altered to resemble HMS Surprise for the Peter Weir movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, based on the books by Patrick O'Brian. The Surprise was also featured in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as the ship of Hector Barbossa, the Providence.In April of this year I saw my old friend once again, live and in person so to speak, that is, not on the big screen. Now she is the HMS Surprise.
She is currently owned by the San Diego Maritime Museum. The museum's volunteer crew is giving her an extensive refit. She returned to the Maritime Museum in March 2007 to complete preparation for sailing. - Wikipedia
She does look a little different these days, hull's a different color, different color stripe along the gun ports and a new name on her stern, but she's still a lovely ship.
To paraphrase the Bard -
What's in a name? that which we call the Rose
By any other name would look as lovely;
Or as Gomer Pyle might say "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"
I leave you with this, in parting...