Norfolk, Virginia

Wednesday September 14, 2016

I am going to try to catch up.  Cliff suggested that I try to post more often with less content.  So I am going to give it a go.

On this beautiful Wednesday morning.  I ordered combo tickets online for the Victory Rover Naval Base Cruise.  The cruise is a 2 hour fully narrated ride along the  Elizabeth River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay.  We choose the 11:00 cruise.  They also offer one that departs at 2:00.  After the cruise, our tickets get us into Nauticus museum and the USS Wisconsin.20160914_093315Off this point in the Elizabeth River is the zero mile buoy marking the beginning of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. 20160914_093340Apparently, it is there somewhere.  This is from Downtown Norfolk.20160914_100651An aircraft carrier being worked on.20160914_100953The Elizabeth River.  It is so pretty.

20160914_101316This Ship cost 75 million dollars.  You read that correctly. That is pretty hard to believe, I know.  It is privately owned by Charles Simonyi.  As of June 2016, he is estimated to be worth 1.6 Billion, so he can afford this yacht.  He was a software developer for Microsoft when he started there in 1981. He was the chief architect of Microsoft Word & Excel and created the Microsoft Office Suite.  He left in 2002. The yacht’s name is SKAT.  You can google that for more pictures.20160914_102134There are sailboats that give sunset cruises.20160914_102412This is Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia.  My father was stationed there in the early 50’s.  It is the oldest continuously running hospital in the Navy Medical system.  What you see is the original part.  The high tower to the left is part of the newest section of the hospital.20160914_102627You are looking at 3 ships tied together.  The one is the middle is the back end.  It has a door that drops down to the water, so other boats can drive into it’s lower section.  Amazing!20160914_103550This is hard to see, but this de-magnetizes ships. They pull the ships between the two dock looking things and the white building in the background does all the work.20160914_103703Cargo ships being loaded.  The one of the left is Maersk Line, a Danish business.  It is the global container division and the largest operating unit of A.P. Moller/Maersk Group. It is the worlds largest container shipping company.

The one on the right is Cosco, which stands for China Ocean Shipping Company.  It is a government-owned company of the People’s Republic of China.  It ranks sixth largest in number of container ships.20160914_103812With all of these huge ships, they have to dredge the Elizabeth River.  They suck the stuff off the bottom with a large vacuum and it is deliver through a pipeline under water to an area outside the channel.20160914_104747Another large shipping company, Hapag-Lloyd. This is a German company. It is the world’s fifth largest container carrier in terms of vessel capacity20160914_110318Now to the Norfolk Naval Base.  The world’s largest naval station.  I am so glad we took this cruise, because we would not have been able to see all of this if we had not.20160914_110352This is hard to see, but there is a submarine in the water to the left of the dock.  It has some type of cargo on the front nose and it is mostly submerged.20160914_110406These are Destroyers.20160914_111847This is an aircraft carrier.  This is MASSIVE!20160914_113004This is the newest ship in the Navy fleet.  Our captain got very excited when we came across this.  Apparently, it was not here yesterday and he was all a flutter about it. Most technically advanced ship ever built.

Don’t mess with the US now.20160914_113539There were lots of helicopters and different types of planes flying around during our cruise.  Those are V-22 Osprey.20160914_113555Today, the Navy operates two dedicated hospital ships.  This is the USNS Comfort, launched in 1987.  The USNS Mercy was converted in 1986.  Both ships were converted supertankers. They are huge, equivalent to the height of a 10-story building and the length of three football fields with a crew of 1.200. 20160914_113713And just a pretty sailboat.20160914_114858There goes the COSCO container ship that we saw earlier.  The tug boat leads them out of the Elizabeth River.20160914_115000That is a lot of containers.20160914_120557That is the USS Wisconsin.  One of the largest and last battleships ever built by the US Navy.20160914_13175620160914_131809I don’t think I would like working in that building in front of this ship with the guns pointed at my window.20160914_13205120160914_132116This is crazy big.20160914_132338The flag poles at the bow and stern are called staffs.  On the stern, it’s a flag staff and flies the national colors or “ensign”.  Here in the bow, it’s the jackstaff and the flag it flies is a “jack”.  Jacks and ensigns are only flown on staffs when the sip is not underway.20160914_132343The blue jack with the white stars is the “Union Jack” and was used by the Navy until after the September 11, 2001 attacks, when the Navy began flying the “Don’t Tread On Me” jack.  This Union Jack is still flown on the Wisconsin since it was flown during her active service.20160914_133843There was a machine shop inside this ship.20160914_141641Cliff’s mermaid with all the tour stickers on her.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of Norfolk Naval station.  We enjoyed the day.

Until our next post. Cheers!