TALL SHIPS HEAD TO HARBOR NINE-DAY VISIT STARTS MONDAY.
OXNARD -- Michael Kellick's journey from Simi Valley teenager to ship's captain had some unusual stops along the way.
After graduating from Royal High School in 1980, he served in Europe with the United States Air Force and attended Moorpark College, where reading Joseph Conrad planted a seed for his love of sailing.
He went on to graduate magna cum laude in world arts and cultures from UCLA, studied Shakespeare in London and became a television actor on the ``The X Files'' and ``Melrose Place.''
``I've taken education very seriously, and I see my role now as a teacher,'' Kellick said.
``Being a ship's captain is not about just sailing. It means meeting all the challenges that nature throws at us and pushing ourselves to be smarter, wiser and more capable as individuals.''
Kellick, 44, will be at the helm of the rare tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain on Monday when it sails into Channel Islands Harbor, where it will dock for a nine-day visit featuring battle re- enactments, ship tours and excursions on the water open to the public.
Another tall ship, the Lady Washington, will also dock Monday.
Tom Hyde, communications director for the nonprofit Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, which sponsors the tall ship tour, said one of the primary missions for the visits is educating children up and down the West Coast.
``We work with local schools arranging visits, and this gives the children a look at what life was like in the 18th century on board these ships,'' he said. ``The kids get an opportunity for a lot of hands-on learning. It's history that comes alive.''
Kellick said he discovered his love for tall ships when he saw one in Long Beach in 1994 and decided to volunteer to help out on the educational voyages offered by the Los Angeles Maritime Institute.
This opened the door to a special opportunity in 2002 and 2003 when he signed on as a watch officer and film adviser to the captain on the Lady Washington, which was headed out for filming ``Pirates of the Caribbean.''
During the filming he worked as a sailing double for actor Orlando Bloom, and when Kellick returned to Southern California he decided to go for his own captain's license, which he received in 2004 from the Coast Guard.
He first served as relief captain of the Lady Washington and took his first full-time command of the Hawaiian Chieftain in 2006.
``For me, it allows me to use so many faculties,'' he said, noting that his study of Shakespeare has helped him in his sailing career. ``Whether you are performing Shakespeare or sailing a tall ship, you are a tradition bearer, bringing centuries old art to modern audiences.''
How to see the ships
The Lady Washington is a 112-foot brigantine, a replica of the first American ship to round Cape Horn and land in the Pacific Northwest. It has appeared in numerous films, including ``Pirates of the Caribbean,'' ``Curse of the Black Pearl'' and ``Star Trek:Generations.''
The Hawaiian Chieftain is a 103-foot replica of an 18th century square-rigged ship built in the style of a trading vessel on the island of Maui.
Free tours of the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain will be offered Monday afternoon from 12-5 p.m.
Free guided dockside tours will be offered Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 4-5 p.m. On Saturday, public tours will be offered from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The public can go along with the crew on three-hour cannon battle re-enactments Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 p.m., at a cost of $60 for adults, $50 for students 13-18 and for seniors 62 and older, and $40 for children 12 and under.
A three-hour Adventure Training Sail from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 11 costs $55 for adults, $45 for students and seniors, and $40 for children 12 and under.
To make reservations to come aboard the tall ships, call (800) 200-5239. For more information, call the Channel Islands Harbor Visitors Center at (805) 985-4852 or visit www.channelislandsharbor.org.
(ran in Simi edition only) The regal Hawaiian Chieftain's visit will feature battle re-enactments, ship tours and excursions on the water open to the public.
Thomas Hyde/Special to the Daily News
How to see the ships (see text)