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Parking: Park at Aloha Tower. It is $2 with validation of any purchase from area shops or museum admission.
Total Distance Traveled: Half mile from parking.
Estimated amount of time to complete: Less than one hour.
Amenities: Restroom can be found upstairs above Hooters or in the Museum.
The Falls of Clyde is distinguished as the only surviving iron-hulled sail-driven vessel in the world. The hull is a hollow tank with an 800 gallon capacity that was used to transport oil and molasses among other things.
If The Falls of Clyde were an automobile in her younger years, she would be a heavy duty pick-up truck and among one of the fastest cars on the open road. Although she was tasked with some pretty odd jobs like the transport of brides to Austrailia from England (this earned her the nick-name The Brides Ship) and languishing as a floating storage tanker/hotel off the coast of Alaska for almost 30 years, most of her working days were spent hauling cargo around the world.
Here's a brief outline of the incredible international odyssey of this vessel:
1878- Built by Russell and Company in Port Glasgow, Invercycle, Scotland. She was built to the highest standard for worldwide trade - Lloyd's Register A-1. Her maiden voyage took her to Karachi, now in Pakistan. She spend first six years in the India trade.
1884- 1899. Became a tramp pursuing general cargo such as lumber, jute, cement, and wheat from ports in Australia, California, India, New Zealand, and the British Isles.
1899-1907. Purchased for US $25,000 by Captain William Matson of the Matson Navigation Company, taken to Honolulu, Hawaii and registered under the Hawaiian flag. To economize on crew Matson rigged her as a barque, with two more easily managed fore-and-aft sails. The ship made over 60 voyages between Hilo, Hawaii, and San Francisco, California. She carried general merchandise from San Francisco and sugar from Hawaii, and passengers both ways. Her voyages averaged 17 days each way.
1907-1927. The Associated Oil Company bought Falls of Clyde and converted her to a bulk tanker with a capacity of 19,000 barrels (three million liters, 800,000 gallons). On her return voyages, she carried bulk molasses to California, where it was used for cattle feed.
1927-1959. The ship was sold to the General Petroleum Company, who cut her masts down, and she served as a floating fuel depot in Alaska.
1959-1963. She was sold to William Mitchell, who towed her to Seattle, Washington, intending to sell her to a preservation group. Mitchell's plan fell through and subsequent efforts by Karl Kortum, director of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, and Fred Klebingat, who had sailed in her as chief mate in 1915, to place her in Long Beach, California, or Los Angeles, California, were similarly disappointed.
1963. The bank holding the mortgage on Falls of Clyde decided to sell her to be sunk as part of a breakwater at Vancouver, British Columbia. Kortum and Klebingat aroused interest in the ship in Hawaii, and within days of the scheduled scuttling, raised funds to buy the ship. Most of the funds raised were donated by island residents.
1964. Falls of Clyde was given to the Bishop Museum. She opened to the public in 1968. Her restoration as a full-rigged ship was assisted by the grandson of the original 19th century designer, William Lithgow.
1973. She was entered into the National Register of Historic Places and located where it can be found today at Pier 7, Honolulu Harbor, part of the Hawaii Maritime Center
2006. Team Geoblast places a micro cache near the ship so all geocachers have another reason to visit and enjoy the history of this fine vessel.
Spring 2008. The Bishop Museum announces that they cannot bear the cost of insurance and upkeep of the ship any longer. The masts are removed and a plan to scuttle the ship 15 miles off the coast of Honolulu is revealed. This plan was aggressively backed by local dive companies as they saw the potential for a new dive tour destination.
Fall 2008. Just as Kortum and Klebingat did in 1963, a local community group rallies with a plan to once again rescue the ship from being sunk.
Spring 2009. The Falls of Clyde's future is now officially "uncertain" as the Maritime Musuem is closing. Team GeoBlast changes hide again to keep things interesting.
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