The brig Lady Washington, the Official Ship of the State of Washington, and the topsail ketch Hawaiian Chieftain have scheduled a seven-week tour of the Columbia River that will include 11 ports in Washington and Oregon. The ships are marking the 225th anniversary of the first landfall by a U.S.-flagged vessel on the shores of what would later become Oregon. The ships last conducted a similar tour in 2009.
On August 14, 1788, the original Lady Washington, sailing from Boston around Cape Horn to what would later be known as Vancouver Island in Canada, made its first landing at the body of water now called Tillamook Bay. The stop was part of a fur-trading expedition led by Captain Robert Gray, who would later discover the mouth of the Columbia River and give his name to Grays Harbor, the home port of the modern Lady Washington.
Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain have scheduled these stops with public availability:
Coos Bay: May 1-12
Astoria: May 15
Rainier: May 18-19
St. Helens: May 21
Vancouver: May 23-27
Hood River: May 31-June 2
The Dalles: June 4
Pasco: June 8-17
Stevenson: June 22-23
Kalama: June 25
Ilwaco: June 27-July 1
At most stops, the ships will offer public tours and excursions, including Battle Sails, which are recreations of a typical 18th-century naval skirmish, complete with cannon fire (without cannon balls), and Adventure Sails, which are family-oriented experiences with an opportunity to take the helm of a real tall ship. Tickets are available now at www.historicalseaport.org or by calling 800-200-5239.
Public and private schools, home-school groups, and service groups are invited to schedule special one-hour and three-hour education programs aboard each ship. Public schools designated Title I by the U.S. Department of Education may qualify for significant discounts on program costs. For information, call 800-200-5239.
Launched in 1989, the modern Lady Washington was designated Washington's official ship by the Legislature in 2007. She recently completed a major hull restoration project funded with a grant awarded by the Legislature. The Hawaiian Chieftain was constructed in 1988 and accompanies Lady Washington on her voyages.