Friday, July 16, 2010

Battleship Cove at Fall River

With all our boat work completed, it was time to depart. First I we had to walk Hoolie and get ice and on the way I took a picture of how the work crew got on and off the boat with the enormous keel, “Numbers”. Frankly, it looks a little tippy to me but they go up and down all day on it.

We had intended to pick up a mooring in Bristol but with a 15 to 20 kt wind out of the south, the harbor would be rough – it’s wide open in that direction. With that we decided to try Battleship Cove. It’s the home of the battleship Massachusetts, the destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy Jr, the missle corvette Hiddensee and the submarine Lionfish. The cove is formed on one side by the USS Massachusetts and land on two other sides, it’s completely protected from wakes but still open to a cooling breeze. There’s a local boat club that rents out moorings not being used by their members. They answer on channel 72 and a mooring costs $40 and comes with no launch service.
We started our tour around 1:30 with the USS Massachusetts. I’ve always known battleships are big but there’s a big difference in the knowing and the seeing. The guns are enormous (where’s the soundproofing?) We saw where they slept and ate. There’s a complete machine shop on board, a necessity I would think when you need a part out in the middle of the Pacific. Everything, of course, was 70 year old technology but ballistic shells are still deadly. Perhaps they are delivered with more accuracy nowadays but when they hit I can’t see much difference.

Neither Ann or I had ever been on a submarine so we had to see Lionfish. You were allow to walk the length of the ship inside. All the navigation is manual (no GPS!) with a lot of dead reckoning thrown in for good measure. I can’t imagine being inside with depth charges being released during the war. Everything was very compact as you might expect inside the submarine but I could stand up without bumping my head except when passing through the hatches that seal off parts of the boat. It looked pretty much like in the movies. Notice the bunk above the green torpedo. Imagine sleeping above 1000 lbs of explosive! Or, for that matter, sleeping while 200 feet below the surface with enemy ships trying to sink you!

After all that, it was back to the boat, Hoolie duty on shore again and a night’s rest.