Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The U.S.S. IOWA BB-61 as seen by the Nikon D70 and 18-55 kit lens.

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday, I did a self tour of a World War 2
merchant ship with about 7 or 8 souls aboard and today I did the same thing
aboard the Iowa with hundreds of people everywhere.
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Looking from the fantail forward; note the air conditioning units setup for the gift shop which is below deck.

There were people all over. Most of my photographs have people in them.
But it could have been worse. Opening day, the 7th, I heard that it took 5 hours to complete the tour of this huge battleship.

The ship is not anywhere near ready for a full showing. There is no entry to the
engine room or the gun turrets at this time due to asbestos issues, per a tour
guide. But those things are in the works as I write this. Below is a billboard
that is self explanatory.
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Currently you can walk through the enlisted men’s mess on the way to the gift shop. The gift shop was doing a booming
business with lots of people buying things from books to baseball style caps with the ship’s number on them.
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The bow.
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You come aboard this gangway and exit from from the rear gangway.
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The view across the channel. That is the Vincent Thomas suspension bridge in the background.
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A view from the port side of the 2 front gun turrets. Note the plywood sheeting on the deck. The teak deck(douglas fir
in some places) is going to be restored gradually I heard. It is in poor condition visually in quite a few places with
raised and uneven spots also, so watch your step. It is in better shape up on the superstructure.
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Interesting fact sheets about the 16 inch guns. Below is a 1955 U.S.Navy training film which takes you inside one.

This virtual gun turret tour will have to do for now.

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The forecastle or fo'c'sle straight ahead. This is currently closed off to the public.
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The anchor chains.
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The business end of the 50 caliber guns- see the deck here- one day this will all be restored to its former glory. By the
way, there is a photo in one of the areas showing the row of sailors scrubbing the deck in the old days with the pumice stones. Fyi, the purpose of the wooden deck was to provide shock absorption from the enemy’s shell impacts.
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Hope you guys don’t mind all the photos as I took about 200 today. Relax, I won’t put that many up on this trip report!
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When you see flags like this on a navy ship, you are getting close to Flag country- bigwigs ahead.
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Gun Turret 2 with the remembrance for the 47 gunners killed in an accidental explosion during naval maneuvers in 1989.
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Plaques inside the Captain’s Stateroom. When these presidents were aboard, the Captain got bumped from his
quarters. Being that it is considered the highest honor to host the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, I am sure
that he wouldn’t mind the temporary “eviction.”
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A picture hanging on the wall in the Captain’s Stateroom.
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God bless Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I wish we had someone like him in the White House today. He suffered greatly
with polio and that affliction opened his eyes and heart to the suffering around him in this country during the Great
Depression. And what a backup cast he had. To think that they all at one time sat in this Stateroom and laid plans
which led to the victory over fascism. This is like catnip to an amateur historian like myself.
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Above is the only bathtub aboard a U.S.Navy ship ever.
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The Captain’s bedroom.
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Looking up at the superstructure.
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The ship’s medals and ribbons.
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For some reason, I like that shot above and the one below.
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Patterns are always interesting to amateur photographers.
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And now we arrive at the bridge. This is definitely not a destroyer’s bridge. Check out the helm(wheel removed)
and the engine order telegraph. Unlike when I was the helmsman, I doubt very much that the officer in charge ever
had to give the order, “helmsman, mind your helm.” You can’t see anything, note the view port cut into the thick armor
plating.
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That actually happened to me when I was the helmsman going through the Straits of Gibralter. Too much sightseeing.
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The view from the Captain’s chair out front.
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The phone allows the Captain to over-ride the gun officers.
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You could not get into the helm room so I took another shot from the other side. Note the missing steering wheel or helm.
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What is this?
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Lots of folks visiting the Iowa. This photograph taken from near the bridge.
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Below is the ship’s last line of defense against anti-ship missiles, the Close In Weapons System. This is a replica
as the Navy removed the real ones for use in the fleet at decommissioning.
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If you would like to see the weapon in action, please watch the video below. It is impressive.

One bad little dude!

Did I mention that when this first hit the fleet, the sailors nicknamed it R2D2?
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The above photo shows the Subroc launchers and the CIWS systems  on the port side.
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Below is a closeup of the Harpoon missile system.
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5 inch guns starboard side near rear gangway.
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Tomahawk cruise missile launching boxes.
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Mood picture.
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A view of the back of the rear turret and looking toward the fantail.
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A close up.
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Here is a picture looking into the galley below deck.
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That deep fryer got a real workout I bet.
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Crews mess. This is only a small part, it was huge and the gift shop is now just beyond this room.
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Another view of the crews mess. The gift shop was through the open portals on the left side.
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This is a fun little video where they demonstrate the battleship in action plus this ship was rated number 1 in firepower.
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One of many informative billboards next door to the gift shop.
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I really like the shot below.
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The “bullet” with the 6 powder bags attached. This was HUGE.
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This was certainly an interesting experience. Here are a few observations that
might help you if you decide to visit the ship. First this is not for families with small children. You will be going up and down narrow stairways and you can not do this safely cradling an infant or small child. Also if you have difficulties
with stairs, this is not the attraction for you. In other words, if you use a walker or a cane, you may get hurt. The hatches usually require a step up, you have to
be careful or you may hit the steel deck, fast. There are plans to add an elevator for wheelchairs later but some areas will only be accessed via virtual
tours for those in wheelchairs- since this ship is still part of the emergency fleet,
no cutting is allowed to be done to the frame, it is just the way it is.

This battleship had a crew count, including officers, of around 1,900 men. It was one of the most fearsome and awe inspiring weapon delivery devices ever
built and put to sea. It was extremely interesting to me but it also was a physical challenge as well. When I finished climbing up and down these ladders and walking fore to aft, then walked back to Ports o’ Call where I left
the Morongomobile to avoid the $12 parking fee, my feet knew that they had a workout.

All that said, I am going back for another round soon. The next time I will take the Nikon Coolpix P510. Perhaps I will even go with a real photographer along.

We will see. I hope that you enjoyed this trip report.

Folks I almost forgot to tell you. For a similar virtual tour of the S.S.Lane Victory
that I visited yesterday, please click here.

Morongobill

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