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Monday, October 20, 2008

Princess TaiPing

On Friday Oct. 10, I was biking in to work through Aquatic Park as usual, and luckily I had a camera with me. I never expected to see a junk that wasn't the Grace Quan in Aquatic Park, and little did I know about the treat that lay in store.

Yesterday at our staff meeting, we were privileged to hear a presentation by Nelson Liu (Liu Ning-sheng), captain of the Princess TaiPing, and Angela Chao (Chai Hsiu-Ying). Fifty-four feet long, drawing only about six and a half feet, they sailed into Eureka on Oct. 3, crossing the Pacific in 69 days. They hope to sail down the Pacific Coast of North America, and return to China--if they do, they will making the first documented round-trip voyage of a junk under sail, since the Free China who crossed the Pacific 50 years ago never made it back.

A replica of a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) war junk, her keel was laid on Jan. 20, 2007, and she was built using completely traditional techniques, and as historically accurate as possible. She was even launched traditionally, with a custom-built winch, later donated to a maritime museum. Now this war junk is on a mission of peace and living history--if she is successful, it is hoped she will continue her mission of peace and education through donating her to a maritime museum.

Now she is in San Francisco at the Hyde St. Pier, open to the public, until the end of the month (possibly Oct. 28), from there, continuing on to Hawaii. Visit her if you can--how often does one get the chance to step aboard a Ming Dynasty war junk?


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