Fleeton Year of Adventure travel blog

The Battleship USS Wisconsin, which served from WWII through to Iraq.

The bow of the Wisconsin, already decorated for Christmas.

the cruise ship terminal, with the USS Bainbridge at dock for a...

The little harbor ferries, which go from Norfolk over to Portsmouth.

THE USS LHN Iwo Jima, a WASP class amphibious assault ship

The huge Portsmouth military hospital complex - the biggest in the world.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration headquarters - the weather people!

Huge navy supply boats moored head-to-tail

Cat ferries from Hawaii, mothballed because of environmental concerns - sound familiar?

Navy fleet refueling tanker - note the derricks with huge hoses on...

Huge freighter used for moving major equipment

USS Leyte Gulf - guided missile carrier

Los Angeles class Nuclear attack submarine - we saw two of them,...

Another WASP the USS Kearsarge being manouvred into dock by tugs

The Sacagawea, a cargo ship, next to another missile cruiser

Helicopter traffic overhead

Coming back into downtown Norfolk after our harbour cruise

We got up and finished the last load of laundry I had worked on last night (and run out of quarters for the dryer!) Then we headed over to the Norfolk Naval Dockyards for their bus tour (Norfolk basically joins into Virginia Beach like Burnaby does to Vancouver). We discovered when we got there that we were going to have to wait for a couple of hours, and we wouldn't be allowed to use our camera during the 45 tour. So, we drove around the city to the maritime museum area, and bought tickets for a 2 hour boat cruise around the docks where we didn't have to wait long and COULD use our camera (they said anything under about a 1000 mm. lens was OK!) We were going to go into the museum and see the USS Wisconsin battleship while we waited, but the facilities were all closed for a special occasion today, so we just walked around the waterfront for a bit. Out behind the museum was the cruise ship terminal, and docked there for a couple of days is the guided missile destroyer the USS Bainbridge. If you remember back to last April, the Bainbridge is the ship which stopped a freighter being pirated by Somalians and saved the captain Richard Phillips from being ransomed by the pirates. It turns out that today Captain Phillips was visiting on the boat to do a thank you presentation. And tomorrow (or perhaps tonight already) he is opening a new exhibit at the museum, which is all about pirates - how appropriate. Anyway, that's why the building was closed, and apparently was why we saw big and small coast guard ships (all armed) keeping a close eye on the museum area today. We headed out on our harbour cruise, and despite some clouds the weather was quite warm. First on the cruise were some commercial repair facilities and drydocks, and in one of them was the USS Iwo Jima, a small type of aircraft carrier called a LHD - a WASP class of amphibious assault ship, which carries helicopters and STOL aircraft. We later saw several more of these LHDS, along with many other types of navy vessels large and small. There were none of the big Nimitz-class aircraft carriers at dock, to Malcolm's disappointment, but there were several of the Los Angeles-class attack submarines - both unfortunately being worked on and with scaffolding on them. Our boat captain was very good and knew every ship name and number, where they had served, purpose, etc. Among many others we saw the destroyer USS Cole, which was the ship bombed by a suicide bomb-boat in Yemen back in 2000, all repaired and back on duty again. After our cruise we walked back to the motorhome and spent a while in rush-hour traffic, til we finally got off the main highway and found a restaurant for dinner. Tomorrow we head south again, and into another new state.

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