Friday, August 31, 2007

Depart Baltimore

GPS Position : 36 13N , 075 02W

Another reason that I liked Baltimore was because it gave a feeling of a classic city. Sort of like a snapshot of an American city from the forties. Cities like New York seem to have lost their soul in the maze of concrete & glass.

Most of the High-rises in Baltimore are concentrated in the Downtown region as is the case with most American cities, but they do look beautiful. I'm not sure which any of these buildings are but I'm sure that almost any Baltimore resident would have
been able to recognize these buildings.

Another picture that intrigued me was this huge Sugar factory called "Domino Sugar". At least I think that is the factory & not an Advert Billboard. For some reason, a sugar factory in a major port of the US seems to be a bit strange. One would imagine
that All American sugar would be made elsewhere.

We did leave Baltimore today, but over the last few ports, I think Baltimore is one of the cities that I would enjoy walking around in.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Current GPS Position : 38 48N, 076 24W

I Liked Baltimore. At least the bit I saw from the five miles away. I had actually planned to roam about in the city, but circumstances pervaded & I stayed on the ship. The evening on the Baltimore River Front was beautiful. As the sun began to come
towards the horizon & people came out in the Sailing boats & small boats for a bit of a sail. As the Sun set, all of these boats came back to the Marina like birds to their nests. Any City that affords its citizens a sail on a weekday can't be all that

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Norfolk Anchorage

GPS : 39 06 N, 076 14W

Norfolk anchorage is not really a very busy place. If you come from the major shipping lanes like the Malacca Straits and the English Channel, you would actually think it a bit deserted. The only things other then a few Container ships that keep
moving to & fro are the Naval Ships from The Norfolk Naval Base. Yesterday I had shown you the Princess I riding to her anchor. On the other side were rows of Aircraft carriers (I counted six!) being refitted. I even spotted the aircraft carrier that
had interfered with the movements of ships the other day. All it sported was a solitary & sad looking plane with no one for company.

In the other picture, you see the Warship 67 coming in the channel being escorted by her Tugs. I chose this picture because you see the Aircraft carrier in the background, & you can even see the sailors lined up on the deck. I'm not sure why all the
sailors are required to line up on deck whenever a Naval vessel comes to port, but I've found that theses Naval chaps are altogether funny chaps.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Princess I & the IALA buoyage

GPS :36 57N, 076 20W

We anchored near the Princess I at the Norfolk anchorage today. The Princess I looks like a Panamax bulk carrier & has five Hatches & four cranes. It's a bulk carrier of just the right size to go to great ports and it's a treat to handle a vessel of
this size. It looks like the chaps there are doing a bit of hatch cleaning as they have partially opened two hatches. In ships like these, you generally have two hatch covers over each hatch & they open by folding and stand up at either ends of the
Hatches. The hatch covers are opened by Hydraulics & waterproof the hatches by thick rubber packing. I remember the many-many times that we had to repair leaks in the hydraulic piping and the testing of the water tightness by hosing down by a fire

To test the water tightness, one team would go inside the hatch & the other team would start hosing down on the sides of the hatch with a fire hose at good pressure. The tricky part was to let the person inside the hatch know where the team above was
hitting the fire hose. For this purpose, a chap was deputed to stand on top of the hatch and keep hitting the hatch cover with an iron rod near the point where the hose was directed. These were the times when Walki-talkies were a luxury and the only
thing this incessant hammering produced in the team inside the hatch was a throbbing headache.

Another point of interest in the picture is the two buoys. There are two types of Buoyage system adopted by all countries. Region A buoyage is adopted by most of the countries, whereas the US adopts Region B buoyage. (A fact that has caused untold
misery to navigational cadets over the years). Under this buoyage, you are supposed to keep the red buoys to your Starboard & the Green buoys to the port as you enter the port. As you depart the port, the red buoys come on the port. The Princess had
anchored just across the channel and you can see the channel marking buoys with it. Some of the bouys have bells fixed to them and as the bouys wobble due to the weather or the wake of the passing ships, the bells ring. Over a quite sea or at night,
it's a pleasure to hear them ringing out to the waves.


USA is beyond doubt one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We came into a place called Chesapeake today. It is a berth at the end of three hour long pilotage and passes through the Norfolk Naval Base. The base is one of the biggest naval
bases & also a very old & famous Ship yard. I saw more then twenty naval ships either under construction or being refitted out there. Today they were going to launch an aircraft carrier at 1000 hrs & they had decided to shut down the whole channel for
it. Luckily managed to sneak in just a few hours before the window began. As you pass the Norfolk area, the USS Missouri lies as a Museum on the Port side and a friend works in one of the offices near it. After the Norfolk area, you come to the
sparser countryside with green grass & wide fields. It's a little scary to pass underneath a few draw bridges, but it's a perverse fun to watch all the cars waiting for you to pass so that the bridge will be lowered.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

At sea

Its a beautiful day. The sun is out & the visibility is fine. The weekend is on & the local people will start moving out of the marina's in a couple of hours. We were in port yesterday and the amount of boats out on a saturday evening was simply
amazing. They were like bugs moving all around the ship trying to get where ever they might be off to. I'm not sure if the Americans do anything productive on their boats over a weekend, but they sure did make the second mates day. I think he managed
to see three episodes of Baywatch in the Half an hours berthing.

Stuck in the middle of the Ocean

There have not been many entries in my blog over the last few days. The reason for this is that I have joined a Ship again and this particular moment finds me far removed from the Internet. But regardless, I shall keep trying to updating the blog by
email. The only problem with this is that I will not be able to check up on the stuff I write. Probably a good thing. :)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

And they also eat!

After the post about the sparrow, I felt obiliged to atleast put out some food for them. They ahd a few pecks, but I'm not sure they are crazy about uncooked rice. :)