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Indonesian Navy Ship On World Tour Makes Stop In San Diego

Evening Edition

A 60 year old tall ship owned by the Indonesian navy made a brief stop in San Diego. Its crew of 77 had to brave San Diego's wettest weekend of the year. But that didn't stop their mission to extend a hand of friendship to anyone who came aboard.

The storm clouds finally broke and a crewman scaled the 191-foot mast of the colorful Kri Dewaruci from Indonesia.

Elizabeth Huston and her children had just arrived in San Diego from the Phoenix area.

"I was very impressed with the riggings because you can't really appreciate it until you're right up on it and its just amazing," Elizabeth Huston said. "I think its really like beautiful, because in Arizona you don't get to see ships a lot, so I think its really cool," daughter Shelby Huston said.

This navy ship with its traditional carvings in wood was first launched in 1953. Today it's more like a floating ad campaign -- encouraging tourist to buy its exquisite textiles, drink its international beer and above all, visit Indonesia. One of the missions of any navy ship is to show the flag and there are plenty to see on the Dewaruci.

Raymond Ashley is president of the San Diego Maritime Museum. "There is nothing threatening or intimidating about a tall ship. It really is the highest expression of national sentiment and so when a tall ship shows up in any country its an ambassadorial vessel from that country. It's a pure expression of friendship."

The Kri Dewaruci is on a 10 month voyage around the world to extend the Indonesian culture. It's already made stops in Honolulu and San Diego. Now it's onto Mexico and through the Panama Canal and up and down the east coast.

The ships Commander Haris Bima was hoping the weather here would be like back home in the 70s and 80s. "I hear San Diego is the good weather, but I come and its bad weather, obviously its no problem, he said. The ships voyage around the world will end sometime in October.

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