Hanging out in Brooklyn as ships from all over the world sailed in for Fleet Week, I was in awe of the beautiful Tall Ships docking at the pier.
I was expecting them to arrive, but wasn’t entirely prepared for what happened next.
From a distance, I was impressed by the symmetry and pristine condition of Mexico’s ship, the Cuauhtemoc. Someone told me they installed artificial mannequins standing proudly on the masts.
Looking up at the sky-high sails, we nodded, but something didn’t seem quite right.
The mannequins started to move.
Sure enough, there were real-life crew members up there. And it made sense, as the stunt actually a traditional show of respect. For a good moment though, everyone on the docks was appropriately stunned—including the pier volunteer who informed us they were fake.
One cadet told us—doing his best to cross the language barrier—that nine months ago he was fairly freaked out about climbing up several storyes into the air. But he’s used to it now, he said, and it doesn’t faze him.
It’s an incredible sight to see, with cadets positioned all over the ship—everywhere.
Here’s what was seen at first:
With more than one hundred cadets on board, organisers of Fleet Week say the Cuauhtemoc is training vessel for the Mexican Navy. For more than 20 years, she has sailed around the world with officer candidates on board so that they can learn essential elements of seamanship and navigation.
Here’s a closer look. We didn’t notice the cadets on the ropes below until later: