Western Flyer//my experience
A little backstory---
East of Eden, Of Mice and Men...novels written by American author John Steinbeck during the Great Depression. The Log of The Sea of Cortez was written and inspired by a trip on a fishing boat called The Western Flyer. The boat was lost, then found, then bought, then moved to Port Townsend Boat Haven, WA for the renovation process. The plan is to restore it to be sea worthy and educational, without loosing "it's soul"
American history, as well as literature has always fascinated me so any chance to see a recovered piece from the past intrigues me. Although it's not secret the boat is there, it's not necessarily advertised or easily accessible.
On the video we viewed, they spoke of visitors coming just to touch the vessel to channel Steinbeck's energy.
While in Port Townsend, I began to hear local chatter about the story and hoped to get the chance to view it for myself. During my visit with my lifelong friend, we received an offer from a new friend who worked there to come on and check it out.
In a large hanger, we saw her sticking out, and looking much improved from the video I had seen. Upon our arrival, a fisherman on a bicycle gave us a little more information about how it was discovered and told us it was ok to venture inside the hanger.
As I was taking photos, I heard someone offer for me to find a better vantage point from up above, turns out it was the project manager, Chris Chase. He was very friendly, informative and excited about the project, telling me the owner had been there the same morning to check on progress.
As I walked away from the hanger (photo above taken with my camera by my friend Starla Brown) I had a sense of awareness of a different time, the ocean in front of me, and a literary appreciation growing stronger. Every book has its own story behind the story.
Every soul with a story behind their story.
What a privilege to get so close to something so special. Some would just see it as an old boat, others see it as living history worth an incredible amount of time and energy to restore. I took the experience as an opportunity to learn more about the author and the ship building industry.
"A man builds the best of himself into a boat"
Boat restoration or new construction is a world I knew very little about. Very grateful for this experience and the gained appreciation for the care and passion that goes in to these vessels. Walking the docks and sensing the community and commitment to the projects was eye opening to a world I've never known.
Port Townsend has made it's mark on the ship industry as well as my memories.