Hey! Want to join the Navy?
After a stupendous sunrise and a little run/walk along the boardwalk here in Virginia Beach we spent most of today on and around the Norfolk Navy Station, the biggest Navy Station in the world.
First we went out to visit a lighthouse that is on the base. The soldiers at the gate were very friendly as they explained the process of allowing us entry. Once on base we stopped to see the lighthouses; one is historic, the other is still a working lighthouse.
Can you guess which one is which?
We just about sprinted up the older brick lighthouse when we noticed through a window a destroyer (that’s a big ship) heading out to sea when we were part way up the interior steps. I lost count of how many steps up…
…but we counted them on the way down…181 steps plus 12 steps up to the door, plus 75 steps up the hill to the base of the lighthouse. All of that equals a lot of steps!
We also went to a viewing platform overlooking the ocean and happened to catch a submarine heading out to see. It went right past a big container ship which was headed into port. Later in the day we saw that same container ship docked and being unloaded. Very cool.
Then we took a bus tour of Norfolk Naval Station, and after that a 2 hour boat tour of the Elizabeth River and the docks and shipyards there. We saw lots of different types of boats on our way out to the Naval docks. One of the most photogenic was a fishing boat headed out to sea.
But there were docked ships that caught our attention too. Here’s a couple at the coal loading docks…
…and many more.
We eventually got out to the Norfolk Naval Station docks where we saw destroyers and amphibian ships…
..and learned that the smallest destroyer costs more than $2 billion…
…and the large aircraft carriers cost more than $10 billion. We must have seen dozens of ships and I can’t begin to total up all the money that was represented there. Even the planes on the aircraft carrier cost more than I want to think about.
Once back ashore we walked over to the USS Wisconsin, which has been turned into a museum. Unfortunately it isn’t open on Mondays, but we walked around the outside anyway. The thing that struck me was how thin it appeared to be from the front.
But for those of you that want to see what it really looks like…here you go:
After a long day being Naval we headed back to Virginia Beach for our last night spent walking the boardwalk and listening to the ocean waves. I haven’t even shown you the boardwalk, the beach, the ocean.
And there’s still Williamsburg to share with you. Someday, I promise.
So many adventures, so little time.