A Full Day of Lookin'...

Trip Start Dec 24, 2010
Trip End Jun 01, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We took off this morning and headed south to the site of the USS Lexington.  She's a ship that was commissioned in 1942 for the Second World War.  She was in use thereafter as a training ship until she was de-commissioned in 1992.  Even as old as she is, she is still huge.  I was a bit disappointed in that there were no vintage WWII planes on board.  When I was a young lad, my late brother, Bob was stationed aboard the USS Midway, also a carrier. I do remember how excited everyone was when he returned.  He just missed the war by a couple of years.  His tour was through the Mediterranean

This ship is definitely not ship-shape, but it was very interesting to tour the various spots.  One of my favorites was The Bridge.  We were the only folks there, so I got to sit in the captain's chair and look out on the water, imagining what it must have been like to be in charge of such a large seagoing vessel.  We climbed and descended lots of steps, holding on well to avoid the natural consequences of gravity.  The aircraft were interesting and nearly all of them from more recent years.  The one helicopter was from the Vietnam era and called "The Reaper".  Several cut-away engines were on display as well as one aircraft in the rebuild phase.  Overall, I'd rate it as a Gem and not to be missed if you get to the area.

We "lunched" in the Sooby, next to the beach and looking out over the water.  A nice quiet spot and less nutritionally demanding than a nice greasy burger, but it sufficed.

We then let the Droid lead us to the Corpus Christi Museum of History and Science.  It's the site of two of the replica ships o Columbus' first voyage.  The Pinta is boardable,  although in sorry repair.  These ships and the Nina, which is still in the water at another location, were built by Spain to honor the five-hundredth anniversary of the voyage.  Unfortunately, to save money, the built them out of pine, save the keel.  These two were damaged by an errant barge some years ago and are slowly being re-fitted.  The Pinta is about seventy-five feet in length and the Santa Maria ninety feet.  In 1992 the Spanish sailed the three to twenty-two ports in Europe as part of the celebration.  Then, they sailed them to America.  Columbus' voyage took thirty three days.  With a crew of over twenty men on a small ship, it must surely have been a bit stressful.

When they arrived in America, they sailed to eighteen ports.  Corpus Christi had the largest turn-out, up to ten thousand folks on a weekend, so the ships were given to the city.  In my mind, things went downhill from there.  It must be a huge expense to restore these replicas.  It's evident from the slow progress being made.

The rest of the museum is outstanding.  The photos show a bit of what appealed to us.  The picture of Louis XIV is interesting in that it shows how royalty dressed in that day.  I didn't realize that Lou had such tiny feet!  As a Frenchman myself, I'll make no additional comments and leave that up to the Lurkers.

We're moving to the water again tomorrow to camp for a night.  Hopefully we'll see numerous birds and aquatic sites to share with y'all.
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