Thursday, April 9, 2009

When The Ship Hits The Sand

Continuing on with my adventure in vacation land, one unexpected and seriously interesting stop was to the U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship, a place you'd probably assume was as boring as watching a bowl of dead Sea Monkeys, but in fact was pretty emotionally moving. The ship is massive and you look literally like an ant, dwarfed by the sheer height of this thing. I remember standing on the deck, looking around in amazement, letting it sink in that this was once an actual working ship with thousands of crewmen aboard during WW11, cruising the Pacific and shooting down buttloads of Japanese planes made me misty. And I don't cry. I would rust. The conditions the men have to live and work in, these small, claustrophobic spaces and boiling hot engine rooms is nothing short of heroic. Visiting the battleship was the farthest thing from boring, in fact, we only had an hour to sprint through all the levels of this behemoth (or else we'd miss our plane home) and really, I could have spent hours more exploring it and wondering what ever happened to the guys who once called that ship "home".

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Apparently the battleship is haunted, but I didn't capture a single ghost in my pictures, nor did I hear a voice from beyond the grave calling "Kiiiimmm... Avast, ye wench! Batten down the hatches and ahoy, matey! Oooooo....". (Apparently Navy men of the 40's speak like pirates. It's a little known fact.) I was bummed for the lack of ghostery. I was also annoyed that neither Charo nor Tony Orlando showed up on the lido deck to do their song-and-dance disco numbers and that Isaac never did bring me that Mai Tai I ordered.

One kicky little detail of the USS North Carolina was the black and white pictures of men aboard the ship during it's heyday, set up throughout different sections of the ship, like the various parts of the kitchen and control room. Standing in front of a picture of a guy standing in the same spot you're standing in, only 60 earlier was phenomenal. My sister and I referred to the guys in the pictures as "The Hotties". They just don't make 'em like that anymore.

Onward to pictures! Some are not the best quality and stupid Blogger makes you shrink your pictures small, so you'll just have to deal with it.

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I was standing where the guys made bread. Guys! Making bread! On a ship! Hot guys! I can't take it.

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Guys stirring soup. Soup! (Ok, Ok, I'll stop.)

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This is a bulk potato peeler, chafes the skin off them and shoots them out. Word was that sometimes the guys would slack and not watch the potatoes (you know how distracting a Betty Grable poster is), and the taters came out the size of marbles and then they'd get in trouble. Oh those wacky sailors.

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Something technical that did stuff.

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This was the Master at Arms' room and it was behind locked glass, for reasons I don't know. I guess he didn't like people touching his stuff.

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One of the medical rooms, which are always creepy, so I hightailed it outta there.

We ended up in the bowels of the ship, way down below. I'm sure there's some sort of actual boat-y name for it, of which I don't know. It gets a little panicky when you know you're that far from the surface of the ship and you have to climb 4 billion stairs to back up. I don't know how the hell those guys did it everyday, let alone when under attack. That's too much like exercise for my taste, thankyouverymuch.

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This is where Captain Stubing drove the boat. I love the aqua and deep red color combo, though I'm sure the guys then didn't appreciate it. Men!

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The view from the portholes in the captains' driving room, looking out over the shooter dealies. Yeah, I don't know what those things are called either. But I do know that Cher sat on some like it in her "If I Could Turn Back Time" video.

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A cute, little old man told me that the ship's bell is important, but I didn't have the chance to find out why. So here's the bell. It's important.


"When The Ship Hits The Sand" by Little Jimmie Dickens

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing these pics pally, I truly appreciate them. Im with you though, I do try to be a mans man for the sake of my daughter, but being aboard this massive vessel while warring with the Japs would have had to have been terrifying.

    Seamen from "The greatest generation". Now there is a bunch of bad asses. Heck anyone serving during wartime is a bad ass in my book, but for some reason the WWII crowd just seems to stick out. My Pa (Grandfather) fought all over the damn place during WWII. Hes been gone now for a few years, but the older I got the more I understood what a hero and what a man he truly was because of that war.

    Now I see or hear of a Vet who has seen time in a place like Iraq and I cant help but feel close to the same thing....what a hero they must be to their family.

    Things here can be rough around the edges at times, but this is still the GREATEST nation on Earth and we should all feel blessed that so many countless others went before us to defend our freedom.

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  2. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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