When I visit Anacortes, I almost always take a trip to the shipyard to see what sort of interesting things are up on the area near the road. Normally it is tugs or support vessels, but a recent trip provided something a little different. The Washington State Ferries vessel Chetzemoka was in for some work. Seeing a vessel of this size up close and from below is rather cool. The props had been removed and there were supports welded to the hull for the duration of the work. It was a slightly gloomy day, but I had my phone, so I got some shots. I wonder how long it will be before she is back in service.
Whenever I go to Anacortes, I always swing by the shipyard to see what they are working on. This was a quick visit but there was a large vessel up on the yard with a crew of people steam cleaning it. I don’t know whether this was the precursor to some work or the end of some. I did like the shaping of the screws on this vessel though. They looked pretty sweet.
A Canadian Coast Guard boat was up on the shipyard being worked on while we were in Victoria. A ship out of the water has a very different feel given how much it sits above you and the view of the area below the waterline. It changes the scale of the vessel to my eye. I’m not sure what work was being undertaken and wonder whether it is already back in service or not.
The walk from our hotel in Victoria to a favorite breakfast spot took us alongside one of the local shipyards. This yard had plenty of decent sized vessels out of the water and being worked on. I was quite taken by their method of moving the boats around. They have a lift area in the water and then the ships get put on supports on rails. There is a turntable in the yard which allows each vessel to be moved to a different part of the yard. I had seen a hint of this on Google Maps before we went so was interested to check it out when we walked by.
A sunny weekend day at this time of year is not to be wasted so I took a bike ride across to Seattle. I was heading for Discovery Park and one of the trails that made up my route took me passed a lot of the local shipyards. As I approached one of them, I saw what looked like a funnel. Then I realized it was a mock up of a whole ship. It even had a helicopter on a pad. One my return journey, I stopped to take a look. I realized that there was a lot of piping underneath the structure and it had a notice about a fire training facility. I guess they can simulate fires in different parts of the vessel and crews can be trained to handle them. I wonder what it is like on the trail when the training is underway.
We took a ferry from Anacortes as part of our vacation. We had some time in hand so stopped for lunch in the town and then took a wander around afterwards. The center of town is right near the shipyards and they seemed to be pretty busy. What particularly caught my eye was this huge boat that appeared to have undergone a process to stretch it and add some new structure. Seeing something this size sitting up on the ground is impressive when you are level with the bottom of the hull!
The Society of Aviation History organized a visit to Mare Island recently and I went along. The tour started at the museum and walked to a number of locations before ending up back at the museum which we were then free to roam around. I will start at the end today and cover a little about the museum itself. That should set the scene for the follow up posts about elements of Mare Island that we took a look at.
Mare Island was a naval shipyard. From its earliest days it grew into a major shipbuilding facility. In its later days, it was involved in building many nuclear submarines. Ultimately, as part of the reduction in bases undertaken in various phases around the US and beyond, Mare Island was closed as a naval facility and returned to the local community. Much ship related work is still undertaken but the location is a faction of what it once was.
The museum has a lot of displays of what went on at various stages in the history of the yard. Outside there are some missiles and cannons on display covering old wooden frigates through to a Polaris missile from a nuclear ballistic missile boat. The submarine theme shows up in many of the displays and a periscope has been recovered from a submarine and erected in the museum. You can operate it and survey the surrounding area. The clarity of the optics is quite amazing.
The running of the museum is not cheap – not least because the local town of Vallejo charges them a substantial tax each month. Therefore, getting people to visit is an important issue for them. If you have a free day, I would certainly pay them a visit and see a little of the shipbuilding history of the area.