:: Friday, November 12, 2004 ::
San Diego Waterfront.
From the picture, which at least on my monitor's resolution is so so, you can tell I am pretty close to the Star. Over to the left and out of frame is something else I had never seen before in person an Aircraft Carrier. USS Midway, a Forrestal class carrier which was built in 1945, and is 51,000 tons. It was decomissioned twice, last in the early 1990s and is currently a retired museum ship in the harbour here in San Diego. She is big, perhaps not by today's carriers - and some cruise ships - that surpass 90-100,000 tons. I have never walked by a ship that blocked out the sun. I briefly debated whether I would board her on Friday, but decided I might not have time before I leave SD. Self guided tour starts on the interior hangar deck, winds forward through some enisted quarters, and then aft and up to the flight deck.
The flight deck, for those not so militarily inclined, is the flat section of the carrier where all of the various aircraft park and where all the take offs and landings occur. There were several aircraft on deck, a C1 turbo prop cargo aircraft and F-14 were aft near the fantail, an F4 was set up so it looked like it was landing and had hooked the wire - the cable stretched across the deck that is used to stop landing aircraft from simply shooting off the far end and into the drink.
Further up near the island - the Starboard side superstructure that rises above the deck and where flight operations and the bridge and CIC, etc are located - were an A6 Intruder and an E2C Hawkeye AWACs aircraft - with a round flat disk on top that houses the powerful airborne radar that allows the area of the ocean that a carrier can effectivley cover to be increased by an order of magnitude. Both aircraft had their wings folded for storage. And up front there was a Corsair set up on the steam catapult, it's front gear hooked in for take off. I had taken the picture of a tourist couple below decks at their request a little while before, and I got them to return the favour when I was forward of the Island on the flight deck. I was almost smiling in the picture too!
Standing on the deck of a carrier was pretty cool. And on the other side of the
harbour were two modern carriers, CVN 74 John C Stennis, and CVN 76 Ronald Reagan. Not only did I get to see one carrier, I got to see three. I was quite impressed. Don't expect to see aircraft carriers when you open the curtains in the morning. At least I don't. :)
After Midway, I walked the length of the Embarcadero region of the harbour. And this was a lot of walking. Going to check out the Gas Light section of the city for dinner. Oh and get this: the restaurant in the hotel? Elephant and Castle. Exact same decor. More later.
A long walk. Nice day in Cali.
:: Mike Wood 18:35 [+] ::