Portsmouth – Sun, Salt and Plastic Cannons
A quick train ride down to the coast to see Portsmouth, the naval (not navel) center of England for the last few hundred years.
The HMS Warrior, 1860. The Portsmouth historical docks are fill with cool old ships. The Warrior is an odd ship in that it has a full set of sails and also full steam power.
You can tour throughout the whole ship, which they’ve restored to look like it might have originally. Except that all the cannons are made out of plastic. Which makes them pretty ineffective in a battle.
Anyone got a shovel and several tons (sorry tonnes) of coal?
The HMS Victory, 1790. This was Admiral Nelson’s flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar (the battle where the Brits essentially destroyed Napoleon’s navy).
This plaque marks the spot on the top deck of the Victory where Lord Nelson was shot during the battle. He later died below deck. His last wish was to be buried in England, so his crew put his body in a barrel and filled it with brandy. Not only was he well preserved, but marinated to perfection.
A middle deck on the Victory. The ship carried a crew of about 900 sailors. The sailors were grouped into small messes that they slept, ate, and worked with. They also did all of those things in the same place (i.e. the hammocks above the table next to the cannon). Ah, the glorious life of the sailor.
I sense a copyright lawsuit.
A mean looking catamaran ferry that takes half the time to get to Isle of Wight, but has earned itself the nickname of the “Vomit Rocket.”
From left to right: The Warrior, an old Thames Barge (the red sails), and Spinnaker Tower. The tower was originally supposed to be called Millennium Tower, but since it still isn’t open (there will be a restaurant and observation deck), they decided to change the name.
Ships in the Global Challenge 2004. Returned from an eight month race around the world the day before I got to Portsmouth. A bunch of identical ships crewed by normal people in a race around the world. Sound like fun to you? Then you can apply for a crew spot in Global Challenge 2008. No sailing experience is required, but $50,000 is.
Sea fort guarding the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor.
South Sea Castle, built by Henry II.
A view from the other side of the castle, encompassing the sea front, the castle, a lighthouse, and a van from T. Jay’s Inflatable Fun (motto: “All the fun of a hooker, but with none of the venereal diseases”).