I’ve been on so many ships and boats lately that you’d think I own one. Alas, it is merely a coincidence that I’ve been on a cruise, visited the Queen Mary, and attended the Tall Ships Festival within the span of only a few weeks. Still, this post isn’t only about ships. This post is about ducks. This post is about one giant duck in particular.
During the Tall Ships Festival down in San Pedro, the world’s largest rubber duck made its west coast debut. The 40-foot duck was created by Dutch artist Florentine Hofman and has traveled the world since 2007. Finding out that it was going to be in Los Angeles was the reason that I even heard about the Tall Ships Festival in the first place!
When I got to the festival, the first thing that I did was go to the craft booth and make my own duck hat. All the materials were provided and you just had to put it together. Best of all, it was free! There were people of all ages making duck hats and throughout the day, people kept asking me where they could make their own. With my duck hat completed and on my head, I went to get a closer look at the inflatable giant.
What are good words to describe this sight? Massive? Random? Adorable? Yep, all those words work. I should note that it’s only a rubber duck in image and not actually made of rubber. That doesn’t make it any less cute though.
After spending some time with the duck, I went to explore the other parts of the festival since everything was actually spread out on a pretty large area. The first thing that I stumbled on was the Ralph Scott Fireboat (aka Fire Boat No. 2), which was built in 1925. It’s not in the water anymore, and I think people are working on the boat’s restoration, but it did help put out a lot of fires in the LA harbor when it was still in active service.
Nearby was the Battleship USS Iowa, the only American battleship stationed on the continental west coast of the United States. There are actually only 8 battleships that have been preserved, with the USS New Jersey, USS Massachusetts, USS North Carolina, USS Alabama, and USS Texas berthed in their respective namesake states. Those that are named after states that don’t have an ocean border (USS Iowa, USS Missouri, and USS Wisconsin) are spread out elsewhere.
The ship only opened as a museum in 2012, which is actually much more recent than I had thought, especially since the ship was struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 2006 (though it had been first struck a little over a decade earlier in 1995 until it was reinstated for several years). Now, it makes it home on Berth 87 of the harbor.
A little past the USS Iowa is the SS Lane Victory, a smaller cargo ship that, like the USS Iowa, was active during WWII and the Korean War. Unlike the USS Iowa, the SS Lane Victory was also used during the Vietnam War. There are several levels to the ship that you can look around and it appears to be used frequently as a film location for movies and shows like Pearl Harbor and NCIS.
I decided to return to the area where the duck was afterwards to check out some of the tall ships since this was the Tall Ships Festival after all. I think I went on the Exy Johnson and then decided that I would very much rather spend more time admiring the duck since I guess I’m just that type of person.
There was a booth selling miniature replicas of the duck and all day I kept going back and forth on whether or not I wanted to buy it. Well, I did. My co-worker once told me that if you keep thinking about buying something for such a long period of time, then you obviously want it and I still feel happy with the decision I made.
Darkness eventually started to fall and the festival began to close down for the night, so I packed up my duck and headed home. The festival runs through Sunday, so there’s still time to see the duck before it goes away! In the meantime, here’s Ernie!