History does not always repeat itself. Last time the Tall Ships came to Duluth, they mustered out along the North Shore then sailed down toward the canal for the Parade of Ships. It seemed reasonable enough to us that they would follow the same pattern this year. We were so convinced, in fact, that we got up at 5am to see if we could catch them against the shore in the early morning glow of the sunrise. Well, we saw a nice sunrise at any rate. Just no ships.
Undeterred, we mounted our bicycles and headed up the shore once again around mid-day. This time we stopped at McQuade Harbor to wait for the ships to appear. We could see two of them in the distance – indistinct forms but unmistakably sailing ships. It was a beautiful day and we didn’t mind hanging around waiting for the others to appear. Only they didn’t. A quick phone call to our daughter, who was down at Canal Park with her family, revealed that the remaining seven ships were plying the waters in front of them, awaiting their grand entrance. Missed again!
We hustled down to Canal Park as fast as we could pedal, thankful that we were on two wheels not four as we slid past the heavy traffic. We still arrived in plenty of time for the show. In fact, we beat the two ships we’d been monitoring out on the lake. The area was crowded with people, creating an air of festivity and the excitement was building as the time approached for the ships to sail through the canal.
The pier on the far side of the bridge proved to be the best spot for taking pictures – both for the position of the sun and for the smaller crowds lending easier access to the edge of the canal. It was the perfect day to be outside and no one minded waiting between the waves of ships that passed under the bridge. Conversation flowed easily between groups of strangers, brought together for the fun of watching big sailing ships. We finally settled in to watch the Parade of Ships and photograph the beautiful vessels. This time we were not disappointed. And our chase was over.