Saturday, June 07, 2014

Juan Sebastián


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I was on my way into town this morning to attend a Local History Day in Pearse St. library and as I was crossing the Seán O'Casey bridge my eye caught what I took to be a tall ship further down on Sir John Rogerson's Quay. As I had a bit of time on hand and had my camera with me I decided to go down and have a look.


As I approached the ship I saw she was a four master and boy were those masts high.


And what a fabulous figurhead. You can just imagine it, almost airborne, as the powerful ship, silent under sail, parts the oceans.


Then I saw the gangway. First the name Elcano, and straight away I had a flashback to the 1960s. I heard the words "Juan Sebastián" in my head and, sure enough, as I carried on walking the initials "J S" came in view. I nearly died of shock. This was the Juan Sebastián de Elcano that I had photographed in this very spot during a visit in the 1960s. And I had no idea she was in town.


Here was an opportunity to take some more photos of this beautiful craft and that with my new whambam digital SLR.


Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw what appeared to be movement towards the top of the rear mast. It was a sailor climbing up the rigging and carrying a coloured cloth rolled up like a backpack on his back. I watched fascinated as he continued up. It reminded me of a spider coming out to inspect is prey caught in the web.


Finally, all was revealed as he attached and unfurled the Spanish flag at the top of the mast.


This process had been repeated until the Spanish flag was flying (or drooping) from each of the four masts.


And almost lost to view in the profusion of rigging, the required courtesy, the Irish tricolour.


Dublin Pilot drops in for a bite of breakfast and to discuss the transfer to Alexandra Basin on Tuesday.


Just a teeny reminder that this ship is part of the Spanish navy and geared up to defend itself.


A final look at that magnificent golden figurhead which will be long gone when the Central Bank finally takes control of Seanie's Folly just across the river.

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