Journal Entry  -  September 27, 1999  -  Day 16

Monday Evening Position Report
8:00 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time
Latitude:

22 Degrees, 46 Minutes North

Longitude:

111 Degrees, 09 Minutes West

Days Run:

60.3 Nautical Miles

Speed:

5.03 Knots (Average)  running at reduced speed due to a fixed ETA of October 16 at the Panama Canal.

Total Run This Leg:  766.3 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  5.3 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  144.5 Hours, 6.02 Days
Distance To Go This Leg:  2,181.5 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  October 16, 7:00 a.m., Balboa Sea Buoy
Present Course:  125 Degrees Southeast by East.  Captain Ogaard's trackline altered to this direction at 3:15 p.m. this afternoon, and the New Jersey will remain on this course for another 520 Nautical Miles.
Winds:  Northwest at 22 Knots and Brisk
Seas & Swells:  Combined at 8 Feet
Barometric Pressure:  1007 Millibars
Air Temperature:  72 Degrees
Visibility:  More than 10 Miles
Skies:  Clear
Sea Floor:  The ocean depths here vary between 410 and 1,550 Fathoms, or 2,460 and 9,300 Feet.

Position:  The USS New Jersey is now 60 Nautical Miles West of Cabo San Lucas, the Southern tip of Baja California, Mexico.  Continuing East across the Gulf of California, and just North of the Cabo San Lucas latitude, is the Mexican city of Mazatlan.

Correction:  In this morning's report on Chief Engineer Andy Cleland's early enlistment in the U.S. Navy, the term he used was "kiddie cruise."

Thirty Years, Three Vessels and Cabo San Lucas

He had just re-fueled his New Bedford, Massachusetts scallop boat, replete with an auxiliary fuel tank, in Manzanillo, Mexico, and was setting out "by the seat of my pants" toward Cabo San Lucas.

No fancy Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system, just a radar and a magnetic compass.  He had plenty of sea experience under his belt, though, after scallop fishing in the Atlantic and submarine service in the Navy.

His journey had already brought him from his home in New Bedford, down the Atlantic, across to the Panama Canal, and then north to this point.   It was early April,1969, he recalls, and he was taking his livelihood across the seas to a new home.

Kaare L. Ogaard, Jr. was the skipper of the "Sandra Jane" then, crossing the same waters he's passing this evening with the battleship New Jersey.  When he and his 3 crewmen, engineer, cook and mate, plus one sightseer who was along for the ride, arrived at the Gulf of California, the vision of hundreds of porpoises opened up to them.  He says the sea was filled with them, coming out of the Gulf and into the Pacific, in swarms.

He made his way with the "Sandra Jane" from this tropical mariner's waypoint to Alaska where scallop fishing was booming.  The following year, he put the "Sandra Jane" in a Seattle dry dock, and he and his wife Barbara settled there.

The "Sandra Jane," named after his wife's classmate, was his vessel in 1969 through these waters, as the Sea Victory is today.   How would the ex-submariner have felt knowing then what he's about today?   What would he have thought had he somehow known that the USS New Jersey would be his lone sightseer thirty years later?

The "Sandra Jane" was just under 90-feet, says Ogaard fondly, "a wooden, eastern-rigged scalloper."  She was built at the Harvey Gamage Shipyard on the Damariscotta River in South Bristol, Maine.  She was made of Maine white oak, as hard as wood comes.

Ogaard was 15 years old when his father, Kaare Sr., brought it down from Maine.  All of New Bedford's finest were on hand to witness the new "Sandra Jane's" arrival, elected officials, friends, neighbors, everyone.

The new scalloper was apparently something to behold.   Kaare Sr., his son, and the boat's cook, "Tarzan," were aboard her going from New Bedford through the Cape Cod Canal around to Provincetown.  As they moored to a crowded pier, a place loaded with tourists, and as the young man handled the bow line, someone shot a photograph of Kaare Ogaard, Jr. standing on "Sandra Jane's" whaleback, the raised bow of the scalloper.

The picture, showing a proud son with his father's new vessel, made the cover of Better Homes and Gardens in 1957.

Ogaard, Jr. will likely have other photographs taken of his vessels, as he has from the beginning of his sea-going life.  And in these waters adjacent to Cabo San Lucas this evening, where the porpoises swarmed in 1969, and the "Sandra Jane" took him to a new life, the Captain of the Sea Victory prepares for another kind of photograph.  This one awaits the capital ship he has in tow behind him.

It won't be his father's new scalloper, but for many, it will have a similar meaning.  Thirty years of a skipper's sea life: "Sandra Jane," "Sea Victory," and USS New Jersey.  There have been many others, too, and more to come.  But perhaps, through these waters the past few days, there has been one vessel the Captain reserves a special place for.  It would be hard not to.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.

 

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