What a pleasant surprise it was this past week to hear that Buffalo was truly tall-ship friendly. The compliment came from the crew members of the soon-to-be-renamed Edith M. Becker schooner who had made a stopover to Buffalo in order to pick up a mast that they had had shipped.
The 62′ schooner (built in 1984) had luckily arrived in the Buffalo harbor at the same time as the visiting Pride of Baltimore – a ship that had returned for its second stay this summer. “You’ve got a real tall-ship-friendly harbor here,” the crew shouted to me as I stood on the Central Wharf observing them as they set to depart. “There’s plenty of room for us to pull up and everyone has been very accommodating. The crew of the Spirit of Buffalo lent us some tools, the owner of West Marine dropped off a marine toilet after business hours, John Montague (Maritime Center) has a great energy and was a pleasure to meet. We had excellent burgers while we were here (at Clinton’s Dish), had an enjoyable time at The Swannie House, and even exchanged cannon volleys with the Pride of Baltimore in the harbor. This schooner has been around the world twice, so we know a thing or two about harbors…”
I left the crew to take care of the ship and walked across the wharf thinking to myself how things had changed for the better at the Inner Harbor. Here were sailors from out of town who had such an enjoyable visit that they were going to pass along to other schooners and tall ships that Buffalo was finally ready for maritime action. There was a time, not so long ago, that this visit would have been mostly perfunctory. I think I could get used to seeing more visits from these types of sailing vessels.