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

Musical support:
Thanks to the amazing Derek Sonderfan for “Knitting Sand”, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network.