Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Norfolk, Virginia

We are tied up at Rebel Marina, just inside the north entrance to Norfolk, VA.  Friends that we had met 9 years ago in Mexico, Carole and Pat MacIntosh, were on an East Coast visit and we decided to meet up.  What a great time we had, they had rented a car and we spent two and half days exploring the area and having the best of times.  Driving on the freeways and through the tunnels was old hat for these Californians and we zipped around with ease. 

 Newport News is a shipbuilding area on the south side of the Chesapeake, there was an aircraft carrier under construction. 
 The arch in the pictures is where troops returning from WWI were greeted as they disembarked from the troop carriers.  Just off the point was where the iron clads of the Confederate army engaged in battle with the sail powered ships of the Union side during the Civil War. The Confederates claimed victory when the wind died and the Union ship could not manoeuvre.  A few years ago they recovered the ram from the iron clad ship.  

Our visit to the USS Wisconsin was very informative, the tour was given by a former Petty Officer and the stories these guys told were great.  We paid for the deluxe tour and were in the tactical room and heard what a naval engagement would sound like.  I could not imagine having to work in the crowded, dark, claustrophobic conditions in that room.
 The Wisconsin was commissioned to serve in WWII, then was in service in the Korean War, it was mothballed In the 60's and then brought back into service for the first war on Iraq.  It fired some of the first missiles of the war.  
It's huge 16 inch guns were some of the biggest naval guns ever.  There was 660 pounds of explosive that were packed in the guns when they fired their rounds. We saw the crew quarters as well as got to sit in the Captain's Cabin, both of them.  One was for when they were in port and the other was for when they were underway or engaged and there was a third spot he could sleep if they were on exercises or engaged in battle. 

I thought I had it bad on Cat's-Paw IV, the amount of room I have to store my clothes, the poor enlisted men just get a space under their bunks and then a small locker to hang up their dress uniforms. I imagine that privacy was a closely guarded commodity on a war ship!!

Yesterday was Carole's birthday and we spent the day strolling around historic Norfolk admiring the beautiful architecture.
 We had a wonderful birthday lunch at a former carriage house, the food was great but the desserts were fantastic. We each had one and then shared around, the German chocolate cake with Pecan and coconut icing was deemed the favourite although the Key Lime pie was an extremely close second.  
We will stay at the marina until Friday and then make our way slowly south so as not violate our insurance policy which does not want us to pass Cape Hatteras until Dec. 1, when the threat of hurricanes in thought to be over. 
       They have a mermaid thing in Norfolk, there are great sculptures all around the area.