Wednesday, January 11, 2012

San Diego Harbor

Sat, Dec. 31st - Mon, Jan. 9th

The San Diego Harbor is 34 miles long including five cities. Point Loma on the far left and then San Diego, followed by National City, Chula Vista and Imperial Beach on the right bordering Mexico. The two little islands just off the San Diego beach are Shelter Island and Harbor Island(man-made). The large island in the bay is Coronado, connected by the Coronado Bay Bridge, and way over to the right off the map is the Silver Strand, a road built to connect it to Imperial Beach. Population of San Diego is 1.3 million, metro area 3 m.

We were on the Spirit of San Diego waiting to pull out on a cruise of the bay. I hope they don't go to all this trouble every time one of the workers needs a potty break.

Here's another cruise ship like the one we are on, going by the USS Midway air craft carrier. The Midway was commissioned right at the end of WWII and finished it's career as the Flagship of Persian Gulf air operations in Operation Desert Storm.

It is now a museum with a self-guided audio tour narrated by Midway sailors. Midway pilots shot down the first and last MiGs of the Vietnam War and led the evacuation of Saigon with the rescue of 3,073 refugees in two days.

This is Seaport Village with shopping and restaurants right along the waterfront and downtown San Diego behind it.

One happy sailor. Calm seas in the bay. No dramamine needed. Coronado Bay Bridge ahead is a little over two miles long out to the Isle of Coronado.

This is a view of Shelter Island. It and Harbor Island next to it are man-made parks each about a mile long. From here we watched sailboaters and ships.

This is a car carrier from Tokyo departing the bay. We are watching from Shelter Island.

This is the USS Reagan which has called San Diego it's home port since 2004. It is heading out to Washington for a longterm maintaince overhaul. It was being led out by a smaller ship and had several smaller guard boats along the sides. A small fishing boat started out from the beach near us, and one of them immediately gave chase to warn them off. San Diego is home port to three of the newest aircraft carriers, USS Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Carl Vinson.

A couple shots of the Coronado Bay Bridge as we finished our cruise on the bay at sunset.

The Midway cost $90 million to build in 1945 and was overhauled from 1966-70 for $260,000 million. It weighs 69,000 ton and has 212,000 HP. It has two 20-ton anchors with 2,000 feet of chain (each link weighs 100 lbs). To quote one sailor, "Taking care of two 20-ton anchors at the end of 20 ton of chain took a lot of grunt work".

This is the flight deck on the USS Midway where the planes take off and land. It is huge (over 4 acres), at least as wide as the length of a football field. If they could stand it on it's end, it would be taller than the skyscrapers behind it. There were many planes and helicopters on this deck and the hanger deck below, plus lots of flight simulators to try. We did lots of climbing up and down ladder-like stairs. There are 18 decks on the ship. We got to go up to the bridge where the captain runs the show. We also went thru several dining halls, heads, living quarters, galley, supply rooms, laundry, etc.

This is looking down from the flight deck to the park with a statue of a sailor getting a welcome home embrace. They could carry 75 airplanes and had 200 pilots on board.

What's the big deal? This sounds just like our daily showers in the RV, when we're not hooked up to water. They had a crew of 4,500. That's a lot of showers! They used ten tons of food daily for 225 cooks to prepare 13,500 meals. Now that's a lot of dishes!

The Brig! John thought this would be a good place to leave me. But there was no lock on the door, so I got out. You wouldn't believe how many cells they have on board. There must have been a lot of misbehavin' goin' on!

This was on one of the desks in one of the pre-flight, mission planning rooms. I guess they were planning to put on a show with lots of fireworks. I bet the ending was a little different than Saddam had planned.

We were on the Midway six hours and probably walked four miles. It was just about dusk when we left. The Ooterdam, of Norwegian cruise lines, was just leaving port.

View of the Midway from the boardwalk. The lit up "41" stands for it being the 41st aircraft carrier built.

As we walked down the boardwalk to Seaport Village, we met "Occupy San Diego" on parade. Lots of signs and chanting and drum beating. They were on their way downtown with several motorcycle cops, and at least four cops on bikes, trying to keep things under control.

And the sun sets over the Midway. More about San Diego tomorrow.

Happy Sailing,


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