I have seen many unique and interesting boats on Long Island Sound, but a 19th century Chinese junk was never one of them. I first saw the Mon Lei this past February when I visited the oyster docks in East Norwalk. Except for a partially exposed transom, she was covered under her winter tarps which prevented me from getting a full view. I made a mental note to return in April.
At first, I was highly skeptical that this was the 150 year old ship which has sailed the world. Built near Hong Kong, she is 50 feet long and was once owned by Robert Ripley. She also served time with an airline company that used her to promote their flight service to the Far East in 1959. Unable to find much current information on her, I suspected that this ship was either a replica, or simply had the same name (for example, there are lots of boats named Kon Tiki).
The trouble with online research is that misinformation gets repeated just as often as accurate information.To paraphrase an old Chinese proverb: One website tells a lie, and hundreds of others repeat it. While I am not totally convinced, I am starting to believe that this may indeed be the original Mon Lei. It sure would be nice to find out for sure.
Tugster: Other Harbors
Frogma: Mon Lei Photos (scroll down)
Note: Mon Lei means 10,000 miles, and can be used to imply infinity.