Sunday, May 29, 2011
The Golden Bear sails into Welly
The Training Ship Golden Bear, out of Vallejo, Calif., sailed into Wellington harbor on a radiant Sunday morning. With 250 cadets and 50 staff and crew from the California Maritime Academy on board, the Golden Bear is visiting New Zealand for three days.
The cadets - in their crisp, white uniforms - took visitors around the ship shortly after their arrival from Pago Pago, American Samoa. The Golden Bear acts as a floating classroom for the students, who run every aspect of the ship.
There's just something about ships. It gets me every time. When the tugboats swung the Golden Bear around at the International Terminal and all the cadets were lined up along the decks, it sent shivers down everyone's spine. It was grand to see the Stars and Stripes flying in Wellington Harbor.
The students are a great banner for the United States, polite and eager and full of young enthusiasm. Wellington wowed them, the water royal blue, the skies crisp and the breeze unobtrusive for once.
First off the ship were the Keelhaulers, the schools rugby team. .They departed for the first of a couple of practises. They will be taking on the Fighting Billy Goats of Victoria University on Tuesday. Vic organized for the game to be played at the Basin Reserve, a grand old ground on which they've played cricket since the late 19th Century. It will be a great encounter, complete with haka and national anthems. But, before they could set foot in New Zealand proper, they had to have their kit inspected, to make sure they weren't bringing any foreign soil into New Zealand.
It was cool to reconnect with home again in whatever small way. And the Golden Bear sailing into Wellington Harbor will be an image that stays with me for a long time. A good day.