ILWACO, Wash. - If thoughts of plowing the deep under Capt. Robert Gray, the explorer who traded in tea and otter pelts and navigated up the Columbia River, puts the wind in your sails, then Ilwaco has an adventure for you.

Two tall ships are arriving at the Port of Ilwaco, Wash., Wednesday, May 11, including a replica of the brig that Gray captained around Cape Horn.

The Lady Washington and square-rigged topsail schooner privateer Lynx are on a two-month "Voyage of Discovery" tour of West Coast ports. The ships are offering dockside tours, adventure sails and sea-battle re-enactments for schools and the general public.

The Ilwaco Tall Ships Committee, part of the Ilwaco Merchants' Association, has planned special parties and events to complement the ships' itinerary.

Tall ships tangle in a mock battle as smoke from cannon fire emerges. Photo courtesy Grays Harbor Historical Seaport.It's the first time the Lady Washington has graced Ilwaco since 1992, and a new stop for the Lynx.

"In Ilwaco we have commercial, charter and sport fishing boats," said Port of Ilwaco Manager Mack Funk. "The neat thing is to have a different type of vessel - we don't have very many sail boats, and these are historic replica sail boats. It brings to mind the excitement of sailing the seven seas."

The vessels will enter under cannon fire in a 4 p.m. "Grand Arrival" at the Ilwaco port.

The Lady Washington's mission is a voyage of education and discovery. Photo courtesy Grays Harbor Historical Seaport."The ways of old was to pop off the cannons, to let them know 'We're here and we're on our way in,'" said Mark Toy, vessel operations manager for the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, which owns the Lady Washington.

Free dockside tours will be available to anyone who comes out to greet the ships. Tours will be $8 per family afterward.

During the dockside tours, crews at different stations will talk about the difficulties of living aboard and navigating a tall ship. For example, crew members were young and uneducated. They were gone for months or years at a time, and had to worry about injuries and running out of food, water and wind, Toy said.

At $50 per adult, the May 14 and 15 battle re-enactment sails are more expensive, but include time out on the water and loud cannon explosions.

"The cannoneer will yell 'Fire in the hole!' Everyone plugs their ears and 'Kaboom!'" Toy said, describing the scene.

The Lady Washington was constructed in the 1750s in the Massachusetts Colony. Originally used as a coastal freighter, she fought as a privateer during the American Revolution, according to information provided by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport. Under Gray and Capt. John Kendrick, the vessel was instrumental in the development of the "China Trade," as well as establishing the basis for an American territorial claim in present-day Oregon and Washington.

The replica was launched in 1989, and is built primarily out of old growth Douglas fir. It was the "Interceptor" in the Disney movie "Pirates of the Caribbean," but the extra gun stations have been removed, and a different paint job brushed on.

The Lynx is an interpretation of an actual privateer named Lynx, built by Thomas Kemp in 1812, according to the Lynx Educational Foundation, the California-based nonprofit that owns the vessel. The Lynx was among the first ships to defend American freedom by evading the British naval fleet then blockading American ports.

Both vessels are as close to the original historical records as U.S. Coast Guard regulations and safety requirements allow.

"They're such beautiful ships and are part of our heritage and part of our history," Toy said. "(Tall ships) are coming back because of the history and popularity of that era, the adventures and the horrors of being a sailor."

Tall Ships Itinerary

Wednesday, May 11

4 p.m.: "Grand Arrival" at the Port of Ilwaco, free dockside tours to welcoming party (anyone who comes out to greet the ships)

Thursday, May 12

4 to 5 p.m.: Dockside tours

6 to 9 p.m.: Robert Gray sail

Friday, May 13

4 to 5 p.m.: Dockside tours

6 to 9 p.m.: Sails (possible cancellation if not enough advance reservations)

Saturday, May 14

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Dockside tours

Noon to 1:30 p.m. Ilwaco Saturday Market with live interactive pirate theater by Brotherhood of Oceanic Mercenaries (B.O.O.M.)

2 to 5 p.m.: Battle re-enactment sail

5 p.m.: OleBob's Coffee Net Grand Opening, featuring $1 crab cakes, beer and wine specials and pirate entertainment

7 to 9 p.m.: Paint 'N the Town Red's Pirate and Mermaid Adventures, grand opening pirate party with pirate entertainment

Sunday, May 15

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Dockside tours

2 to 5 p.m.: Battle re-enactment sail

Prices: Dockside tours are $8 per family, $4 per adult and $2 for kids 12 and under. Battle re-enactment sails are $50 per adult and $30 for kids 12 and under. Three-hour sails are $45 for adults, $35 for seniors 62 and older and youth ages 13 to 18, and $25 for kids 12 and younger

To reserve your space on a sail: 1-800-200-LADY.

The tall ships will return to Ilwaco June 3-5.