She sells ship porn on the sea shore. On LILAC at pier 25, every saturdays and sundays, 1pm to 7pm.
He wore a tshirt with a drawing of a three masted ship under full sail that read, “Frig It” and pointed to my print of Peking.
“Moshulu! he said.
The ships look alike, both are black, steel-hulled, four-masted barques, both have what I was taught was called a ‘liverpool house’ but when I search for it, photos of pub grub and happy people in a bar pop up.
“Moshulu” is Seneca for “Dreadnought” (Dreads Nothing).
“River Clyde” rolls off the tongue in Scottish Gaelic thus: Abhainn Chluaidh.
“Moshulu!” he said, “I had a friend who worked on Moshulu. Bob Reusswig, signed on the Moshulu as an able bodied seaman in the 30’s at the age of 16. He was a remarkable seaman.
“He told us once when he was newly aboard Moshulu, they were in a horrible storm. The first mate yelled at him to go up and furl the sails on the upper yard. They train you, start you off on the lower ones and you work your way up to the higher ones. Well, Bob wasn’t ready for the upper yard, and he was scared. But he was more scared of the mate’s cobbled boots: he’d seen that boot make it’s mark on several men’s bottoms, so up he went.
“They were tough men, on that ship. The captain of the Moshulu at that time was a Norwegian, 5’5″ and made of the toughest stuff men are ever made of. He was thrown about and part of his skull caved in. He took out a penknife, heated it on a flame, cooled it in seawater, stuck the penknife into his head and popped the skull back out.”
Not that Lilac goes anywhere, but I have VHF 13 on, to pretend I’m on the bridge, and I listen to traffic passing behind me.
And sometimes you hear from modern day sailors: “Oh, thanks for the wake, Cap.”
• • •
On days of old vs modern day:
In 1908, Moshulu
made a fast voyage from Newcastle, Australia
, to Valparaíso
with a cargo of coal in 31 days. Fuel cost: $zero. Well, I do not know how much they burned for lamps or cooking.
Click here for the re-rigging of Moshulu
as she operates as a restaurant, complete with Bongo Bar.
and here for a beautiful painting of the ship by John Stephens.
thank you, Seaman “I am not a rude man” Snake Roodman.