Journal Entry  -  November 07, 1999  -  Day 57

Sunday Evening Position Report
8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time
Latitude:

33 Degrees, 26 Minutes North

Longitude:

76 Degrees, 20 Minutes West

Days Run:

85.5 Nautical Miles

Speed:

7.12 Knots (Average) with help from the Gulf Stream

Total Run This Leg:  464.2 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  5.8 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  80 Hours / 3.3 Days from Grand Bahamas Island, the point of USS New Jersey's transfer from the tug Mariner, at noon, Thursday, November 4.
Distance To Go This Leg:  361.8 Nautical Miles
Present Course:  42 Degrees Northeast
Winds:  Northerly at 25 Knots
Seas & Swells:  Combined at 10 Feet
Barometric Pressure:  1023.5 Millibars
Air Temperature:  66 Degrees
Sea Temperature:  75 Degrees
Visibility:  10 Miles
Skies:  Clear
Sea Floor:  The ocean depth at this point is 355 Fathoms, or 2,130 Feet.

Panama Canal Transit:  October 16 - 21 / Balboa Pier 14 - 15, Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, the Gaillard Cut, Gamboa, Lake Gatun, and the Gatun Locks, and Cristobal.  USS New Jersey's clearance into the Caribbean Sea / Atlantic Ocean was completed at 11:34 a.m., and her mark for the commencement of the Cristobal, Panama - Philadelphia, PA Third Leg was passed at 11:42 a.m., Thursday, October 21.

Distance Of Second Leg:   September 21 - October 15 / Long Beach, CA to Balboa Anchorage, Panama: 2,948.7 Nautical Miles, the longest leg of New Jersey's homecoming voyage.
Total Average Speed Second Leg:  5.18 Knots

Distance Of First Leg:  September 12 - 21 / Bremerton, WA to Long Beach, CA: 1,193.6 Nautical Miles from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to Long Beach, CA anchorage.
Total Average Speed First Leg:  5.54 Knots

Position:  The USS New Jersey is currently 71 Nautical Miles South of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, the closest point of land at this point on her trackline.  The notorious seas of Cape Hatteras lie just up the Carolina coast, and the New Jersey should reach them tomorrow afternoon.

Today begins the ninth week of her homecoming voyage.

Fish Catch:  It's the seaweed!  The hooks and lines can't compete with the seaweed.  It all gets too gnarly.  That's CJ's explanation for no fish since the lines were dispatched to duty up the coast from Miami.  But, he says optimistically, since the sea temperature's dropping steadily as the New Jersey moves North, prospects may improve for Tuna, but the chances for Mahi mahi are zero to none.  Now, about that seaweed .... The total catch as of the last one, on Monday, October 25, is: 28, including 4 Albacore, 4 Yellow Fin, 1 Yellow Tail, 4 Skipjack and 2 Bonita Tuna, 12 Mahi mahi, and 1 Wahoo.

Communications

Wind storms tear down utility lines every so often and residents work through it in many parts of the nation.  Television stations and cable networks sometimes flash advisories that service will resume "momentarily."   Light bulbs burn out, motors need repair, even computers develop glitches.

So it was with our system this weekend, resulting in a Position Report void from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon, some 36 hours.   But with the able, professional and courteous consultation of the COMSAT Customer Support team, and a member of the LandSea Systems technical support staff, our problems were fixed, and the regularly scheduled programs will now resume.

Thanks, COMSAT and LandSea Systems. Without you folks, it would be a very long homecoming week. Because of you ... well, thanks again.

"Cape Hatteras ... It's Always Messy At Cape Hatteras"

The organizers of the USS New Jersey Veterans Association hoped for many more than the 120 members who arrived in Seattle in September just before the Battleship departed Bremerton.  But time and distance prevented many from coming.   Still, the ones there were exuberant over the ship's homecoming.

The same can be said for the many veterans, Jerseymen and others, who traveled to Panama for New Jersey's final transit there.  Many more would certainly have come, but time and distance certainly played a role in that decision.

Both groups spoke of many things, in small groups and as individuals. One subject that found its way through many of the conversations was Cape Hatteras.  Watch out for Cape Hatteras, they would advise. "There're always foul seas at Hatteras," they forecast.  They knew well. They sailed New Jersey through those seas many times.

Well, tomorrow afternoon, New Jersey will once again ride those fearsome seas, as she has done innumerable times in the past, heading into or out of Norfolk, Virginia, the Navy's major Atlantic facility, with all that represents.

Monday's Hatteras passage isn't all this week brings to her.  The national Veterans Day commemoration also occurs.  How more appropriate can it be that the Navy's most honored battleship will be returning home during Veterans Week?

After all, this entire voyage, everyone's combined effort, all the resources that have made this journey and homecoming possible is for one thing only - the veterans who served aboard BB-62, the veterans who who were protected and saved by her presence, the veterans who serviced her in shipyards, the men and women who created her from raw steel, and implanted her teak decks, and the sons and daughters, grand and great-grandchildren of them all.

Then, too, those who never walked her decks, or heard her fire, or went to war, or sledged a hammer to make her whole, but have come to know her and hers, are as alert to this homecoming as it is possible to be without really knowing.

Perhaps a nation this week will notice.  That one of its heroes is returning home.  That thousands of her crew, and many thousands more, many more, care very much about this journey up a river called Delaware to the place where she was launched and formed, along the shores of her state called New Jersey.

So many thoughts ricochet around this week's meaning that multitude replaces clarity.  So many veterans in so many efforts with so many losses for so much freedom.  The nation remembers every year, all of them.  And this week, New Jersey will sail quietly up the river she first sailed, with the same stature and honor she bore 57 years ago on her way to war, and she will pay her own tribute to all of them, all the veterans, all her Jerseymen, all those who turn to watch her this week. She will join, perhaps even lead, the nation's tribute and remembrance.

This veteran, thankfully, is coming home.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.

 

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