My aerial photo searches brought me to some shots of the Royal Navy’s dockyard at Portsmouth. One or two shots from this were used in a post about a flight I took with Pete but not very many. Flying over the home of the Royal Navy, we got to see a bunch of ships – large and small. HMS Bristol was moored for use as a training ship. I think she may have now been relieved of that duty so don’t know whether she is still around and for how long.
Plenty of frigates were moored alongside and there were surplus Type 42 destroyers at various locations too. This got me thinking about a day many years ago when we were in Portsmouth for some reason. We took a trip around the harbour in a sightseeing boat and I got a few shots of some ships then too so these are interspersed here. Now the arrival of the two carriers to the fleet would mean a good chance of getting a far larger vessel alongside. Might have to think about doing something like this again at some point when I am in the UK.
A dark afternoon with a band of sunlight on the ships moored up at Naval Station Everett caught my eye. The snow on the mountains behind was in shade, sadly, but the bright glow of the foreground warships still made for an interesting shot.
I was flicking through some old shots that weren’t well keyworded and was surprised to find some shots from a San Diego visit which included some warships. I had some shots of an aircraft carrier including a few for a panorama that I had never compiled. Why not correct that? Here it is, the USS Ronal Reagan.
My friend Bob alerted me to an unusual warship visiting Everett’s naval base. The USS Michael Monsoor is the second of the Zumwalt class of destroyer. Only three of these ships are going to be built so it is an unusual thing to see. They have a shape unlike almost any other ship with a stealthy profile. I had seen pictures of them and figured I would try to catch it at some point. I was hoping to see it shortly after Bob mentioned it but then saw it had already sailed for some local exercises.
As with aircraft, there are ship tracking websites available so I waited to see if it was heading back. It wasn’t coming in that day. Nor the next or the one after that. Instead it was going to and fro off port Angeles at a low speed.
Then, as I got up one morning, I happened to check the tracker and I saw it was heading back. The weather was pretty grim but was forecast to clear up a bit. I grabbed my stuff and headed for Mukilteo. They would come passed the point en route to Everett and it should provide the best opportunity to get a shot. There followed quite a bit of trouble as they first appeared to not be coming my way and then made a 180 and did indeed come towards me. I will spare the details of this. Meanwhile, the sun had made an appearance.
I initially spotted them a long way south. The odd profile of the ship was conspicuous, even at a distance. As it got closer, the unusual shape seemed strangely unreal. Pictures do make it look strange but seeing it in person it is somehow stranger. The sun was appearing and disappearing behind the clouds but I was able to get some nicely lit shots. The details of the structure were interesting with the bridge seemingly buried in the structure, the guns on the upper rear decks looking like something out of a sci-fi movie and the side door open with the ladder lowered, presumably for the pilot.
After it had gone, I was tied up on a call for a while but I did drive back along the shoreline towards Everett to get a look at it tied up alongside in the base. Head on you get a clear idea of how different it is from the rest of the ships of the fleet.
If you are used to a modern shape of an anchor, particularly one for a large ship, the old style of anchors in the days of the early 1800s will be rather strange looking. They look like a giant version of the sort of anchor you would see on a small boat. This example sits on the seafront in Southsea and comes from a ship that fought in the battle of Trafalgar. It seems in pretty good shape. I wonder whether that is a feature of the materials used or the result of lots of bits of it being replaced over the years.
The Royal Navy destroyer fleet’s most recent additions have been the Type 45 Daring Class. These ships are an integral part of the groups that will support the new carriers. The Type 45s preceded the carriers in to service by a number of years. They have a superstructure that suggests more focus on radar reflectivity and the main mast is a larger structure than seen on previous ships. This example was sailing out of Portsmouth and towards the English Channel while I was at Seaview on the Isle of Wight. It was a bit distant but still worth a shot given how I haven’t seen one on open water before.
One leg of our trip to the UK included a ferry to the Isle of Wight.We took the ferry from Portsmouth and, as we drove in to town, I thought I could see the twin islands of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the pair of new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.Sure enough, when we pulled out of Gunwharf on the ferry, we could see the carrier moored in the naval base.A rear view doesn’t give to much impression of the ship but she is clearly pretty large.At about 65,000 tons, she is over three times the displacement of the previous RN carriers.
The USS Constellation is the last sail powered warship built for the US Navy. She is now preserved in the harbor in Baltimore. I saw her a few times from a distance while I was in Baltimore but I didn’t get a chance to take a shot until I was walking back from a reception. By that time it was dark and, since I only had my phone with me, that had to suffice. The phone on the camera has a wide angle lens so, even though we were quite close, the ship is a little small in the original shot. However, she still looks pretty impressive. I imagine she would have looked even better when under sail!
Walk around the headland from Sutro Baths and you come to a great view looking across towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Here is located the memorial to the USS San Francisco. The ship was engaged in a vicious battle during the Second World War at Guadalcanal in which her senior officers were killed. The ship survived albeit heavily damaged. When she was scrapped after the war, the wings from the bridge were kept and placed as part of the memorial. They still bear the scars of the rounds that hit the ship during the engagement with the steel holed and twisted in many places.
I have mentioned the LCS ship that was part of the Parade of Ships for Fleet Week. It was one of several warships to take part in the parade. Most were US Navy ships but there was also a Coast Guard ship and a visitor from the Royal Canadian Navy. They entered the bay under the Golden Gate Bridge before parading in front of the spectators arrayed along the shore and in the boats out on the water. The first ship was led by a fire boat that sprayed water from its cannons in greeting.
These pictures are a sample of the different ships that were on parade. Another warship was part of Fleet Week but it remained tied up during the parade which was a shame as I would liked to have seen it. You could tour it if you wanted but I had other plans that meant that wouldn’t work out.