This is not our first time in the Williamsburg area, in fact, we were here 2 years ago. Since we had already visited Colonial Williamsburg (see blog post here) we were not too upset about the fact that the temperature was in the triple digits and we were not able to go walk around for hours.
Instead, we decided on a 2 hour narrated cruise in Norfolk’s very busy harbor, which turned out to be the perfect choice since we had a nice breeze the whole time. So, from Williamsburg, we made our way to Norfolk to find the Nauticus , departure point of our cruise. Driving there turned out to be quite an adventure in itself since our TomTom GPS loves to send us through small streets, alleys and one ways (usually the wrong way) and gets very annoyed with us when we do not follow her exact directions (commands would be more of an appropriated word), so after a very colorful exchange between yours truly and a GPS, where the words “idiot” and “stupid” were spoken a number of times, we finally made it in time for the cruise! My GPS and I have a love-hate relationship and I affectionately nicknamed her, “the freaking idiot”.
We boarded the Victory Rover and away we went.
The cruise was narrated by a very knowledgeable staff, the Navy ships were a sight to behold and we learned a lot along the way. Even if Bear calls me a “sponge” and even if he keeps praising my memory, there is no way I could ever remember everything we saw and learned that day, but here are the highlights 🙂
The Destroyer USS Bainbridge is well known because of its participation in saving Capt Phillips from Somalian pirates on April 12, 2009. This was the first incident involving pirates and a US ship, the Maersk Alabama . You can read the entire story here. The USS Bainbridge is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. According to our tour guide, the ship cost just under 2 billion dollars to build. She can identify over 100 targets at a time, and differentiate between friends and foes. She can fire a missile every 1 1/2 second.
The USS George H. W. Bush has the distinction of being the most expensive ship in the Navy, with a cost of 6.2 billion dollars. It is an aircraft carrier and was named for the 41st US President, George H. W. Bush who was a naval aviator during World War II. The ship’s nickname is Avenger after the TBM Avenger aircraft flown by Lieutenant G. Bush during WW II.
We were tickled pink when we saw our first submarine! A Los Angeles class.
Hiding in the back was the USS Nicholas, which on April 1st, 2010 came under fire from Somali pirates near the coast of Kenya. The Nicholas seized 5 pirates, sank their skiff and captured the pirate’s mother ship.
Back at the Nauticus, we strolled through the museum and then went to visit the USS Wisconsin. This ship has the biggest guns ever installed on a battleship. 16 inch guns, 60 feet long, they can fire as far as 27 nautical miles. She served in the Pacific during WW II. She was launched in December 1943. She is now a museum ship at Nauticus, the National Maritime Center in Norfolk, VA.
Whatever you do, do not eat at the cafeteria in Nauticus, unless you enjoy bad food… ask us how we know… 😉
Speaking of food though, we went back to the Carrot Tree in Yorktown for a nice lunch, something we had truly enjoyed the last time we were in the Williamsburg area.
Of course, I went yarn shopping, especially since my niece Maude just had a new baby, “Mademoiselle Béatrice”, a 5 1/2 pound bundle of joy who could not wait to see the world, so she was born a month early. I bought some wonderful yarn at Coordinated Colors in Yorktown and had a lot of fun knitting this Norwegian style sweater for Miss Béatrice.