June 11, 2012

Ships and Sailors {Opsail 2012}

I love my city. We have fantastic libraries, a great zoo, gorgeous gardens, and lots of beaches. We also have all sorts of interesting events happen here throughout the year. 

This weekend we hosted OpSail 2012.

OpSail is an international sailing event held every decade or so. The last OpSail was in 2000. Tall ships and naval vessels from around the world travel up and down the East Coast, stopping in several ports of call and giving free tours of their ships. We are one of those ports! So this morning I grabbed my favorite little sailor (and my mom) and we headed down to look at the "big boats."

The US Coast Guard cutter Eagle is the host vessel for the event.

I'm not sure why Indonesia's ship sports a pirate flag, but A was thrilled to spot it (and even more excited to tell Daddy all about the "pirate ship"!)

We also spotted cute little tug boats...

 ... elaborate figureheads ...

... sailors from all over the world...

... and even a mermaid or two!

The Navy is obviously a huge part of our culture here. Nearly all of my friends (or their spouses) are active or retired military, so I'm always on the lookout for good books for them. Here are a few of my favorites:

My Sailor Dad by Ross H. Mackenzie

This book describes to children the many responsibilities and activities a "sailor dad" (both enlisted and officers) might do while on deployment. It also explains why Daddy has to leave on deployment at times and assures children they are still loved. The illustrations are lovely and there are several puzzles using signal flags within the book.

The Fathers Are Coming Home by Margaret Wise Brown

I absolutely love this one, and it's perfect for Fathers Day. This just recently published story by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight, Moon) describes different fathers returning home at the end of the day. The father fish returns to his little fish. The father rabbit hops home to his little bunnies. Each page describes a different animal and is illustrated with flat, minimalist graphics. The finale features a sailor returning home to his son.

Piper Reed, Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt

I have not read this one, but when I mentioned it to a friend she said her own navy kid really enjoyed it. Piper Reed is a spunky nine year dealing with life as a middle child in a navy family with constant moves and dad being deployed six months at a time. Navy kids will be able to relate to being the "new kid" while civilian kids will enjoy it simply as a good story.


  1. What an awesome learning experience!
    I love events like this!
    Your pictures are awesome!

  2. Great photos! Thanks for the book suggestions too!

  3. ACK! I've been lurking on your blog for at least 2 years and I had no idea you all were just down the road! We are on the Peninsula and came down for OpSail and had a great time.

  4. My family (we've got four kids) went to this event in Savannah when the big ships began their journey up the east coast. Rather than going to the "big event" on River St. with the crowds of people, we decided to take a friend's boat to view them from the river instead. So much fun!

  5. Heather - Very cool! I was sad to be out of town for the main portion of it. Heard the fireworks were incredible. Lauren - How fun! I had some friends who were able to view the Parade of Sail from a yacht. I was so jealous. :)


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