March 10, 2006
The Park Service website reads simply "sing traditional working songs aboard a floating vessel."
The songs? Sea chanteys. The vessel? A majestic iron-hulled squarerigger called the "Balclutha". I had no idea how inspiring the experience could be, nor how powerful. It turned out I had inadvertently wandered into a 25 year old San Francisco tradition: the “chantey sing”. This monthly gathering not only serves as a fascinating tie to our maritime history but also happens to be a unique and thriving San Francisco community.
Although I had gone down to the pier with no intention of doing research for a podcast, after five minutes on board I knew that "sparkletack #50" would be the perfect occasion to share this wonderful story.
For further edification:
» Hyde Street Pier - National Park Service
» Hyde Street Pier virtual tour
» chantey history
» more chantey history and lots of songs
» Todd Menton - chantey featured on Sparkletack
- #22: The China Clipper
- San Francisco toothpick contraption, 35 YEARS in the making
- SFist: “A Jitney Elopement” — Charlie Chaplin’s San Francisco film
- #20: Fog City
- #48: Mark Twain and the Great Earthquake of 1865