16 April 2019
Our guests were up early on Sunday morning and anxious to get on the road to see their new boat. Bev and I lazed around over coffee before heading out for a stroll around town. We had planned on visiting the nearby Railway Museum but unfortunately it's closed on Sundays during the off season. The river walk stretches about 2 kms. along the waterfront and it's a hub of activity providing great people watching. The city fathers have done a great job of preserving the historic downtown area so after lunch we walked around checking out the numerous sites.
The Cape Fear Museum was on our to do list, however, strong thunderstorms were forecasted for later in the day and we were a little reluctant to leave Dagny unattended all afternoon. After our mid afternoon walk which included our first ice cream cone in 5 months we headed back to the dock. The weather had started to deteriorate and the south wind was pushing Dagny towards the dock so we added extra fenders and doubled up the lines. A check of the weather radar showed a huge line of thunderstorms along the coast that was due to hit Wilmington late in the evening. The worst storms missed us but we still had gusts to 40 knots with a few heavy rain squalls and lightening. Fortunately the river here is only 1/4 of a mile wide so there weren't any waves to speak of and we rode out the night without incident.
Monday dawned bright and sunny, a perfect day to play tourist. Years ago when I was driving for Can Am I passed through here delivering Lasers and was stunned to see the battleship USS North Carolina moored here. The ICW passes 12 miles south of here and the tidal currents are strong so it's not an easy side trip. However, once we knew Mark and Megan needed to rent a car this stop quickly moved to the top of the list. In the 60s when Wilmington was looking for ways to attract tourists and rebuild their historic downtown area someone had the foresight to bring the decommissioned WWII battleship here. What a brilliant idea!
Access from downtown is provided by water taxi and the $10 entrance fee is worth every penny. The ship is very well preserved and the tour permits visits to almost every part of the ship. Actually there is so much to see it would probably be better to do it over two days to prevent information overload. I was blown away by the amount of equipment aboard and how cramped it was inside for the 2,000 man crew to operate. Without going into all kinds of detail I think the raw power of the ship was the most impressive. During one battle a torpedo tore an 18 x 31 foot hole in the hull below the waterline causing a 5 degree list. Within minutes emergency pumps stabilized the ship and they could still steam at 25 knots.
The surprise of the day came as I was walking across the aft deck preparing to leave and bumped into Don Dickenson from HYC. Once again proving it's a small world.
Today's picture is of the forward guns on the USS North Carolina.