Jul. 17th, 2008

Song for All Seas, All Ships )

I have been on board the HMS Surprise! That was, of course, the first place we went at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, where I sadly could not touch the wheel which had just been revarnished, but I did walk around Jack Aubrey's cabin and sit where Stephen Maturin sat sulking in the stern and touched the masts and ropes and guns and took photos of everything, even the postcard Russell Crowe had autographed for the staff in the gift shop. *g* The bell on the ship still says HMS Rose, her original name before the refit for the film, and the exhibits from the film have been moved aside in favor of pirate stuff, but I still cannot overstate what a thrill it was to be on the ship.

When we disembarked from the Surprise, we visited the claustrophobic Soviet submarine B-39, after which the kids were hungry so we walked to a sandwich place near the ferry launch. Then we walked further along the water to the aircraft carrier USS Midway, which is a truly extraordinary experience: it's like a small city, or at least a medium-sized college, and even though we only saw a small portion of the vessel, we walked more than a mile while aboard (the flight deck alone is bigger than four acres). The audio tour includes various quarters from the enlisted men's berths through the admiral's cabin, two galleys, the laundry, the engine room, the sickbay, machine shops, the anchor chains on the forecastle, and two dozen planes and helicopters on the flight and hangar decks.

We stopped for ice cream, then returned to the maritime museum which was open much later than the Midway, visiting the historic merchant sailing ship Star of India, the yacht Medea, and the ferry Berkeley which houses the museum collections and gift shop. When we got tired of walking, we sat and watched film clips about the Age of Steam (Steamboat Willie, The African Queen, Titanic) and went up to the ferry's beautiful restored passenger deck with stained glass panels all around. The sun was beginning to set by the time we left, walking past dozens of sailboats and circling pelicans. I took dozens of photos and promise to post an entire night's worth of nothing but the Surprise when I get home, but for now...


Maritime San Diego )


On Thursday we have a long drive to Zion National Park in Utah. I have no idea what our internet options will be like, so here's hoping I can connect!

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