History, Respect and Friendship in Amherstburg

August 30, 2011

We are looking over our shoulder at Maryland and the impact of Hurricane Irene. Meanwhile we are sailing from the Canadian Port of Amherstburg at the mouth of the Detroit River bound for Erie, PA in a very soft SW wind with all sail up including the studding sail under abundant sunshine.

While eastern Maryland was hunkered down over the weekend as Irene passed by PRIDE’s crew were hosting some 5,000 visitors who took the time to come to Amherstburg and stand in line to see our American 1812 War Chesapeake Bay Privateer Schooner. There is a lot of 1812 War history in and around Amherstburg. It was home to the British Naval fleet that fought the American Naval fleet in Western Lake Erie. That navel battle was won by the Americans. Even so, the Canadian visitors aboard were clear that they had repulsed American solders that had invaded across Lake Erie and the Detroit River. Conversation between American enthusiasts for the 1812 War and Canadian enthusiasts for the 1812 War can become pretty animated as points of success on each side are made. Notwithstanding any passion of nationalism, that war gave both sides pause to consider their identity and allegiances. The citizens of the United States gained a much stronger sense of identity and a realization of ability and accomplishment that put the nation on its near meteoric growth onto the world scene. The citizens north of the American border realized they were more than just an extension of the British Empire…but were in fact Canadian. Now, today, the two countries have between them the longest unfortified border in the world and enjoy a respect and courtesy as neighbors we all could wish existed the world around. In any event, by far the majority of visitors aboard PRIDE were glad to have a chance to see a “tall ship” and speak with the crew about life today aboard such a vessel. Everyone was polite, interested, patient and joyful at the wonderful cool sunny weather.

Our Canadian hosts were particularly attentive to PRIDE and her crew. I met with Amherstburg Mayor Wayne Hurst who was on the dock as PRIDE arrived. There were a number of media recording PRIDE’s arrival. The marina…Duffy’s Marina…even had the dock reinforced a little to be sure PRIDE would be secure. There was a very attentive team of hosts that made sure the public remained safe and organized as they went out to board PRIDE over a long narrow pier. PRIDE’s crew were hosted to dinner and breakfast at Duffy’s Restaurant. The crew were offered two motel rooms at Duffy’s Motel. A loaner car was provided. These thoughtful considerations were much appreciated by the crew. It was a lot of work answering questions from the 5,000 visitors.

Now it is onward towards the east. PRIDE is in the early stages of heading home from the Great Lakes. As we do so during this quiet first day of sailing from Amherstburg we all speak about the impact Irene had in Maryland and on so much of the East Coast. 

Cheers,
Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II


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