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
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- Vintage snapshots of San Francisco pt. 2: Google-mapped
- #10: The Ruination of Fatty Arbuckle
- #38: Rudyard Kipling in San Francisco
- book review — “River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West”