Friday, December 20, 2013

Tourists in Mobile

Arriving In Mobile Alabama

 Marc & I are  happy to be done the Inland Waterway 
and starting a new chapter in our adventure. 

After the long winding river entering mobile bay was a flurry of activity. There were barges upon  barges being staged. Tugs, ship yards, loading docks, cranes. The pictures do no justice to the men working and scurrying around on the enormous equipment. Often the equipment was so large men looked like ants. 

After traveling through the Industrial area we entered Mobile Bay. We were so lucky that it was a beautiful clear day. There were fishing boats every where! And Dolphins. Lots and lots of playful dolphins. As I write this much time after the fact I still haven't been able to capture a great picture of these playful and lovely mammals . Seeing the Dolphins quickly ended my sadness for leaving the river system. 

 Mobile Bay Welcoming Committee

When we first arrived in Mobile we rented a car and explored the surrounding area. We fell upon Fairhope a beautiful bay side town. Beautiful scenery and picturesque piers. While walking we stumbled on this amazing bronze statue. The statue was of Marietta Johnson. It was said that her spirit exemplified her hope for the future, education and children. For me my first thought was Miss Suzzie & her gifts. 

Can you see the difference? This was the first of many sunken and abandoned boats we have seen. 

Dauphin Island Alabama was a great way to spend the day
Just a few interesting facts. Dauphine was originally named “Massacre Island” because of the large pile of human skeletons found there when it was discovered. It was renamed in 1707 after the heir to the french throne. Whew, I think that was a good thing. Personally I just thought someone screwed up the spelling of Dolphin. Dauphine Island was at one time owned by the France, Great Britain, Spain. The US got their act together and gained control in 1813.

As we were leaving the marina we met a young man John who was just about to complete the loop. He was on his last leg before going home in Florida. When he heard what we were doing he asked to join us and of course we happily agreed. BTW John if your out there I lost your boat card. Send me a note. 

Fort Gaines Where History Spans Three Centuries

Without giving a history lesson the architecture and efficiency of this fort was amazing. You might recognise the famous line “ Dam the torpedoes, Full speed ahead” spoken by Admiral David Farragut 

This was not your everyday outhouse. It was a ten seater that connected by way of culvert to the bay. Once a day the tide would come in and out and flush the toilets. This was necessary being that over 400 men used the latrines daily. It was connected to the courtyard by a long tunnel and to the rifle lines by doorways to the left and right.  

 To the latrine

For the love of old buildings

For Mike Gulf Coast Hash House Harriers.

Condo living Dauphin Island

Marc says no pets

Often along the route we saw stops for boiled peanuts so we just had to try them. Ok so they don’t look so great. Just remember boiling kills anything. They are salty, who doesn’t like salty. 

I just loved this store window! Except I think it’s missing about 5 women. Gabe is in the red (except there is too much wine in that glass LOL). Shep in the pink. 

We spent a sunny Sunday exploring the USS Alabama Memorial Park just prior to Remembrance day or Memorial Day here. As a note we didn’t see any US ceremonies but listened to our capital hill ceremonies on CBC Radio (my Canadian life line) One thing that we have appreciated in the US is the attention they as a nation give to those who serve or served. There are signs and notices everywhere giving thanks. Discounts for just about everything is given to past and present service members. Did you know Lowes gives a 10% service discount! Now if only West Marine could help a boat out LOL. 

Interesting to know but the huge Battleship Memorial Park is not tax supported. The park was created by generous citizens of every kind and is self sustaining. We were talking to a gentalman from Alabama about our age that can remember taking penny jars to school in the 60’s to help support the set up of this park. It opened in January 1965. The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is dedicated to all Alabama Veterans who have participated in conflicts of the United States 

The park includes a tour of the Submarine USS Drum. This submarine was commissioned in 1941, is 311 feet long and 27 feet wide. Her crew consisted of 7 officers & 65 enlisted men. She earned 12 battle stars during WWII. Me and my claustrophobia stayed on land while Marc viewed her

I did tour the USS Alabama Battleship. Ok most but not all of her. She was commissioned in 1942. Earned 9 Battle Stars and shot down 22 enemy airplanes in World War II. She was 680 feet long, 108 feet wide and weighed over 45,000 lb. (90 million pounds). It was 194 feet high. The crew of the Alabama consisted of 127 officers and 2,200 enlisted men. Think about it. The stats are insane. I was overwhelmed by the size. I would tell you the armament but you would think an alien had taken me over. Ok Im going to tell you anyway. Nine 16"/ 45 cal (3 main turrets) accurate to 21 miles. twenty 5"/38 cal. Ten side mount guns, Forty Eight 40 mm guns (12 mounts) and fifty two 20 mm guns. Ok so I'm not interested in the guns. I was interested in the serving crew. How amazing. Did you know President Kennedy once said " Any man can be asked what he did in this century to make his life worthwhilecan respond with a good deal of pride and satisfactionI served in the Navy. I could be a little off but...

The ship had living space, galley, bakery, barber shop, laundry, post office, sick bay, radio room, cinema ect, ect, ect. Amazing. 

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