Sunday, July 27, 2008

... and a bottle of Rum

There's no "Yo, ho, ho-ing" on this boat though. When I first saw the boat from afar I thought it could be a pirate ship, but when I mentioned it to a colleague he laughed and said it was a replica of a trading boat from the Dutch East India Trading Company. I gasped, "What? No Captain Jack Sparrow??" --what a disappointment. Then I remembered my great, great, great... grandfather was in the trading business and it no longer mattered that the ship didn't house pirates from a time long ago. (Although it does make it a bit cooler thinking that ships just like that one must have been taken over by pirates from time to time, right?)
So yesterday a friend and I went to explore how life was for a seaman. The boat really was quite neat. We both decided we could have sailed the 7 seas when the boat was operational... until we saw all the varmints that also inhabited the ship at that time. I personally like my food and living quarters bug and rat free.

The captains living quarters was on the upper deck, and it was uncomfortably hot in there... a good place to be in the winter, but not in the summer when the weather is nice. Most of the beds in there were the size of beds toddlers sleep in, but that was customary in the 1800's in all of Holland. Plus, the height of the room probably measured 3 feet max... talk about feeling like Alice in Wonderland. I decided the captain would have spent a lot more time in his office quarters since it's cooler, and he could stand upright.

The bottom of the boat is where they kept all their cargo, and where I'd have spent my nights during the summer (since the temperature was nice and cool)... had I been a sailor by trade.

I did try my hand at a few things, just to see which position I’d have wanted had I been a sailor. Steering the boat would have been neat, although you can’t see in front of you. Due to my naivety, I still can’t quite figure out how you’d know if you’re steering in the right direction or not. I assume they have navigators for that, along with help from the men on the masts. So, I made my way over to the ropes that lead to the mast. (I'd rather see where I'm going and navigate than be a blind driver). It came clear to me at that point that I’d either have to overcome my fear of heights, or I’d have to choose a different job.


I wouldn’t want to be chef (the kitchen was the size of a closet) and I really wouldn’t want to be the one with a mop and bucket cleaning the deck. I then spotted a cannon and had an “Ah-ha!” moment.
I knew what my role would have been on the boat. I would be extra help to blow up the bad guys, …and during times of tranquility I’d set up a hammock and relax. There couldn’t be a better job than that.

1 comment:

Marci said...

I would love to see this bit of history! You are definitely right that it is a little more exciting to think of the pirates joining the crew!