USS Midway

dsc01307Moored downtown San Diego is the museum ship USS Midway. Built during WWII she was commissioned two weeks after the end of WWII but later served in Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf war.  For a full history follow the link.

On de-commissioning she was donated to the city of San Diego.  I was impressed with the condition she is in, a credit to all who sailed on her and those who look after her now. I was also impressed with the volunteers who guide visitors, deal with problems and give technical talks on carrier operations.


The hangar deck had aircraft plus a lot of simulators / games and static displays of equipment.


Next was the flight deck with a good mix of aircraft. This one was part of a display on landing and trapping showing the hook down. There was also a lecturer giving a talk with photos which was done very well.



The island


Looking down the flight deck from forward


Most of the vessel was open to inspection with only the propulsion spaces excluded. Unfortunately my phone ran out of batteries at this point, although I did get a 10 minute video of the inside of my pocket. Another blog maybe.

The various crew spaces were fascinating.

The Admiral and Captain’s quarters very nice with lounges, meeting rooms, head and their own little kitchen with cook / steward. However you got a little feeling for the loneliness some of these senior people must have endured being somewhat separated from the rest of the crew. The admiral’s area also had war rooms, communications etc

The officer’s area was nice but I was very surprised to find out that they paid for their food.

The Chief Petty Officers also had a nice area which was an excluded space for all other ranks including commissioned officers. If only those bulkheads could talk!

For all other hands, even though the ship only had visitors on board, the feeling was one of congestion. The food areas were nice but they were very clear that getting food was one thing, finding a table and chair a lot more difficult. I don’t think pleasant after dinner conversations were a recruiting tool.

The cost was $18 so good value and a worthwhile time if this interests you. You can stay as long as you want.

Dad did his national service in the Royal Navy and spent time on HMS Perseus, the carrier used to trial the steam catapult. I remember him telling me of sailing round the north Atlantic Ocean firing off boxes to test it. All very secret.

Passage to San Diego

With Kate on her way home we moved down to San Diego to do the preparation for the passage to Hawaii.

A nice day cruise down the coast arriving at sunset. The berth assigned was too tight for us but luckily some of the marina “liveaboards” came to help and they knew of a wider berth that was free so we moved there.

Passing Point Loma on the way in. Obligatory Lighthouse included.

California, being on a different planet, has two suns it seems.



Griffith Observatory

After trips to some expensive shopping centres we had an evening trip the the Griffith Observatory on the hills behind Los Angeles. Hour plus taxi ride from the marina. A quiet place to visit, a couple of guys in bow ties, two cars in the car park.

The place was packed, we had to get out of the taxi and walk a mile as it was quicker. They had telescopes out on the lawn for people to look at the setting sun, stars etc



It was a fantastic visit, the items on display including moon rocks, models and the instruments made it a visit worth repeating.

However you will need to go there yourself to find out but here are some photos of the area, too dark inside for good photographs.

The monument to the Astronomers, I was taken by this honour to some of the greats of the science.

Remebered here are:
– Hipparchus (about 150 B.C.)
– Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)
– Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
– Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)
– Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
– William Herschel (1738-1822)


Looking west as the upper limb of the sun just sets.


A little known real estate development to the west, look at the cars parked on the approach road.

dsc01256Downtown LA


Two views as the sun sets


Looking down you can see the walkway we took leaving


Gratuitous artistic shot


The hills to the east


The observatory looking up from the track, the big dome is the planetarium and the smaller dome the 12.5″ telescope. The other dome, out of picture, has a coelostat to show the sun’s image on a screen.


One of those places you go to but wish you had done so earlier or had more time.


Passage to Marina del Ray

After a pleasant stay we departed Alamitos and headed north. First stop was Los Angeles to bunker.


Heading up the channel past the US Coast Guard base. Ahead of us a battleship museum. I have seen the ‘USS Texas’ in Houston, TX, the ‘USS New Jersey’ in Camden, NJ and in Los Angeles, Ca, it is the ‘USS Iowa’?


After bunkering we headed back out past this old Liberty ship.


All the buoys we passed were happily claimed


The obligatory lighthouse at the end on the port breakwater.


Approaching Marina Del Ray, it is huge with over 7000 berths with a ferry that runs round them.


Passing Fishermans Wharf on the way in, the obligatory lighthouse.



Kapowai berthed, the tent behind us was for a performance of Madame Butterfly so we had a free dress rehearsal and the main performance as well.




We had a ferry trip to Longbeach, nice little cruise up the coast. I really like these islands, all done up to look nice but actually an oil producing base. The tower is the drilling derrick carefully disguised. There is also a couple of other derricks. There was three of these plus more normal platforms.



One of the highlights is the Queen Mary, now a hotel.


She looked in good shape from a distance but not so good close up. There is a Russian submarine in the same dock.


As passengers would have seen her.


As she looked on her maiden voyage. After much discussion we decided not to go on board, mostly as the hotel would have changed her inside. I later read an article on her that confirmed our decision saying she wasn’t that nice inside. Better to remember how she was.


Longbeach from seaward.


The hills behind


And a lighthouse in the middle of the harbour




Downtown Los Angeles

After Venice Beach we had a quick trip to downtown. As it was Sunday town was a bit quiet.

Angel’s Flight cable cars, not working on Sunday. Opposite was an excellent food market where we had lunch, with craft ales.


The civic centre, nicely labelled by our Photographer. There is a lot of memorials to the Police and Firefighters.


The entrance to China Town


Famous Route 66 goes through China Town – trivia question of the week.


I would like to have gone back on a week day but time did not permit.