Friday, April 30, 2010
Two Hour Naval Base Cruise At Norfolk
Wednesday afternoon after the NARFE conference concluded Jack and I took a two hour cruise of the Norfolk city harbor and was able to see over 80 Navy ships plus commercial ships, a sailing ship that can be rented for cruises plus lots of tugboats and speedboats. The 8o some Navy ships in dock on Wednesday included destroyers, frigates, cruisers, aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships and one submarine.
Our tour boat, the Victory Rover, had a GPS system that allowed us to follow our journey around the harbor.
The grey domed building in the distance is the oldest naval hospital in the land. (You may need to click on the photo to bring it into view.
In this photo are the new naval medical buildings plus the old naval building. This complex of buildings makes up the largest naval medical complex in the whole world. (Again you may need to click on the photo to see the complex better.
Here is a pic of downtown Norfolk with the modern day sailing ship in the foreground. Later in the tour we saw this sailing ship heading out for a run with tourists.
The Norfolk harbor has ships being repaired in "drydock". The big white ship on the left is the Norwegian Cruise Line's Enchantment of the Seas that was getting a spring repair job in anticipation of the summer season of Caribbean cruises. It also was in port to meet the very thorough annual inspection of the U.S. Coast Guard. I find it interesting how they drive these ships up out of the water for repairs and painting of their hulls. The black material covering the hull is to help keep down dust from the repairs and to keep paint from smearing the work dock. The ship to the right is a Navy ship in for needed repairs.
Another view of the Enchantment of the Seas.
They have enormous price tags too!
Our guide pointed out that these can cost up to more than two billion dollars apiece!
See the two car ferries in this photo. On the side of each ferry it says Hawaii. These were very fast car ferries between the various Hawaiian Islands but they were recently required to cease operations because they were going so very fast that they were hitting and killing whales. The U.S. Navy might buy these ferries if they can find a use for them.
On the side of this cargo ship it says CMA CGM. Jack and I saw this same ship the day before coming into the harbor at VA Beach. It went cruising right by our hotel. See the blue ship cranes for lifting. Guess where they are made? Shanghai, China that's where. How come the good old USA can't make these? Your guess is as good as mine. I sure wish they made them along with a lot of other things like clothes, shoes, toys, housewares, cars, etc.
Here's another loaded container ship in the harbour. In the middle of the ship is a beige "building" that might be where the sailors live on board this ship.
More made in Shanghai, China ship cranes with lots and lots of colorful containers on the land. I wonder how many of these containers have merchandise headed to WalMart.
Our guide pointed out this 25 story office building at the marina. He told us to remember it when we get to the aircraft carriers in the harbor. He said that each aircraft carrier is 25 stories tall from flight deck to the very bottom of the ship.
Saved my best picture for last. There were two aircraft carriers docked in the harbor: the U.S.S. Harry Truman and the U.S.S. Enterprise. I believe the one in the above photo is the U.S.S. Enterprise. I hope you will click on this pic after I tell you some amazing facts about aircraft carriers.
Some Amazing Facts
1.The flight deck of a carrier is over 1000 feet long and with the width it covers over four and a half acres.
2. You could have four football games taking place on the flight deck at the same time with room to spare for spectators.
3. There are four massive airplane elevators that can bring up on the flight deck an airplane
within a matter of a few seconds.
4. Over 6000 sailors can be on board at once which means that over 18,000 meals must be prepared each day.
5. Each flight carrier is a complete city with restaurants, shops, libraries, medical hospital, fire department, maintenance shops, etc.