Last Sunday I traveled with the Dalvero artists to witness (and draw) the launch of the Charles W. Morgan, the only surviving wooden whale ship in the world. (If you remember, we currently have an exhibit of art documenting her restoration and history at the seaport – see it at www.dalveromystic.com.) A launch means that the ship leaves dry dock and is lowered on a special platform back into the water, to prepare her for sailing.
Quentin Snediker, the director of the shipyard, poured out the rum for his crew for a final toast to the Morgan before she touched the water – this was at 9 am, before any *official* festivities began. It was raining, but I stepped into the weather to get closer, and draw this very emotional moment. Quentin read a beautiful quote:
Openings to the water I stopped; I searched for cracks and the wanting parts I fixed: Three sari of bitumen I poured over the outside; To the gods I caused oxen to be sacrificed. – Babylonian, 3rd Millennium BCE.
Sailors don’t cry, but they sometimes get caught in the rain of emotion, especially when they are watching the ship they’ve lovingly restored leave land and touch the ocean she was meant for. It was very serendipitous how a drop of rain touched each man’s face as I made this drawing, including Quentin’s. I was honored to witness such a personal moment of this very public event, and even more so when Quentin, after the toast, passed the bottle to myself and the other Dalvero artists. Cheers to the Morgan, and bottoms up!
I’ve posted more of the story on my blog… Veronica