Posted by: Erica Geary | February 6, 2012

Boating With Red Hats

When I was a child I used to imagine what it would be like to be older.  My best friend Sara and I used to dream of all of the crazy things we would do when we were grandmothers.  Mostly we imagined the two of us playing tricks on younger people and laughing for hours.  We had plans to set tiny creatures loose and watch people scream, to eat as much ice cream as we could manage, and to take up some silly style of dance we were too embarrassed to try early-on in life.  All in all, we imagined spending time together and having fun.

Recently I followed a tour for the Red Hat Society here at the Maritime Museum.  Since I am training to become a docent, I am required to shadow three tours guided by official museum docents along with other training courses.  I had heard of the Red Hat Society before and have admired their wild outfits on many occasions but I did not know what they were all about.  Listening to the playful banter between two women, I felt comfortable asking.

A lovely woman with shiny silver hair adorned with a red hat (of course), magenta lipstick, and a wicked sparkling purple sweater filled me in on the details.  The Red Hat Society is an international organization for women generally over 50 years old (though younger women can also join) where women can join groups or “chapters” and spend time doing fun activities with their friends.  They are a supportive community created to empower women and provide a place to play!

I could not help but smile.  It seemed that many more women shared in my childhood dream of enjoying all of the years life had to offer.  After talking a bit more and exploring some of the exhibits on the Berkeley, we boarded the Pilot boat for a tour of the San Diego Bay.  There is nothing like being out on the water and seeing new sights to make you feel like a kid again.  With the wind in our hair, and the San Diego sun on our backs, we were all smiles.

Captain John guided us smoothly through the water as we learned facts on the US Navy, Coronado, the Coronado Bridge, Seaport Village, the Midway, and even saw some sea lions playing nearby.

After exploring the bay for 45 minutes, we descended the steep staircase into the American submarine, the USS Dolphin.  There, I learned that submarines do not need to be pressurized like airplanes.  I was shocked!  I was also fascinated to learn that oxygen and CO2 have to be provided and extracted respectively for longer journeys undersea.  We all took turns using the periscope and asking lots of questions.  As the tour came to a close, we waved our goodbyes and the group headed off to lunch.

Thanks for a great morning ladies!  Keep having fun!

Fair Winds,

Erica Geary


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