Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stalking the Wild Sammi Crystal

A while back I posted a note (see Revisit) about "that same ship" showing up in the anchorage almost exactly a year after it had appeared in one of my favorite shots from the breakwater. Since I wrote that, I realized that "that same ship" has been coming and going a lot more often than some of the absentee homeowners around here, and had likely been through town at least a couple of times between its registering in my cortex.

The first (and least interesting) shot was just the last one that I took. I was heading home just barely ahead of a rain squall and saw the now-familiar king-post rigging and deteriorating orange paint through gaps in the waterfront buildings. Unlike most of her other trips, she didn't stop in our waters this time. Her anchor stayed snugged up in the hawsepipe and she churned on upstream. I only made the photograph because by then I almost felt obligated to.

I've been living in Astoria for about two and a half years now, and from my front-row seat in Alderbrook, I've come to think of the ships stopping and passing outside my windows as itinerant neighbors.

The Sammi Crystal stands out because of her mix of structural features. She's probably not unique, but she's the only ship I've ever seen in our waters with three sets of king-posts. Put those together with her rust-streaked orange hull, slightly upswept sheer line and her canoe stern, and she's really hard to miss.

Some nautical terms are familiar to me... it happens by osmosis even in the "brown shoe" (Naval Aviation) community. I worked the flight decks of a couple of different aircraft carriers when uprooted from my "homeport" of NAS Miramar in the '80s.

For those features that I wasn't familiar with ("canoe stern", "king-posts" for example), Bobby L. Basnight and his book "What Ship is That?" have come in very handy.

And, of course, there's always the stuff you can pick up from listening to Joanne and her guests!
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