The America’s Cup comes to town

Something big is cooking out on the Bay.  There are GIANT single masted sailboats scooting around the central Bay.  They have two skinny hulls and very tall masts with colorful sails and they are very fast.  I have tried to catch a ride on one of the boats, but they are too quick and they look like they are going to tip over at any moment.  From what I can see there is no food on board the boats and everyone on board wears helmets and looks like they are scared to death.

America's Cup USA Oracle boat practicing on San Francisco Bay

America’s Cup USA Oracle boat practicing on San Francisco Bay

The boys in the avian squadron and I hope that all this activity means the old gray ship will have visitors and there will be food.  During the other cruises there are lunches served and lots of scraps for the birds.

I got ahold of my faithful on board correspondent, Sophie-the-Cat, and she filed the following report:

Sophie-the-Cat on guard on board the ship.

Sophie-the-Cat on guard on board the ship.

Hello Bob:   I got your note about the sailboats and the questions about what the ship is going to do.  I have been listening to the crew and here is what I am hearing.  The races are going to start in July and continue until late August.  There will be seating on the ship and food will be provided. Crowds of people are expected to be on board and there will be lots of opportunities for scraps.  Let your boys know that it should be a good time for them scavenging the left overs.  

Editor’s Note:  The America’s Cup races, dubbed AC34, are coming to San Francisco Bay. The current races are being held in various locations and the big boats, 72 feet long, will start the final challenger races on July 7th.  At this time there are several nations still in the running, and  Italy, Sweden & New Zealand  have boats in the trials.  The United States is the defending champion and they will face the selected challenger in races that will be held from September 7 – 21. If you would like to learn more about the ship and watch the races please visit the web site for the SS jeremiah O’Brien   get more details. 

My Favorite Things

DJR_3321

The breakfast buffet line during the Fleet Week Cruise

Among my very favorite things are donuts, and when we have visitors on board sometimes we also have donuts.  Can you imagine the temptation I face when I look at an entire box of donuts ?  During the trip when we left the dock and went out to see the loud airplanes they had many boxes of donuts just sitting around.  I was sorely tempted to dive in, but there were too many people standing around.  Usually we wait until the ship docks and the people leave.  Then we can cruise down to the deck and find the scraps.

I also love to sit and talk to my neighbors like Al the Pelican.  Al rarely comes on board the ship because he spends most of this time cruising around at wave top looking for fish. With that giant beak of his Continue reading

Sophie-the-Cat

While I was gone on my sojourn to Utah Sophie-the-Cat stayed at home and kept track of what was going on.  It was a good thing she was here to look around and prepare reports. Sophie knows her way around the interior of the ship a lot better than I do since I have never been inside the main cabin or any of the below deck areas.  I explained earlier that there is no way I could go up and down the interior ladders or stairs, and there is little chance that any food would be found if I did visit the inside.  Here is her first report written just after the boys and I started our flight to Utah:

Sophie-the-Cat on guard on board the ship.

Bob:  Thanks again for asking me to help out with the reporting during your absence.  I personally think you are nuts for attempting a flight like that over uncharted territory, but a gull has to do what a gull has to do, I guess. 

While you were gone I did my usual thing around the ship.  One of my favorite places to hang out is near the galley.  The chances that I might scare up a mouse increase and that is where the crew puts my food bowl and water.  The people that work in the galley pretend to be gruff and grumpy, but if the truth be known they are softies.  In some ways I am a lot luckier than you because I don’t have to scavenge for food, but then again I don’t get to fly around.  Everything balances out I guess.

The galley crew

I understand that there are going to be more of those overnight programs with the young boys and girls and I hope they scare up some more mice for me to chase. 

I also have been hanging out near the ship’s store where there is this big model of a bunch of ships and what looks like a beach.  The visitors spend a lot of time walking around down there and there is also a easy stairway for me to use to get into the lower levels of the ship. 

D-Day beaches diorama on board the SS Jeremiah O’Brien

More later and I hope you have a safe trip. 

Editor’s Note:  It was only after Bob returned that we found out that he had told Sophie what he was going to do to get to Utah to see his grand daughter.  Sophie stayed home, of course, and has filed some reports about the ship in Bob’s absence. 

There is a long history of cats on board ships.  It is reported that there were ‘ship’s cats’  on board Phoenician cargo ships that brought domestic cats to Europe as early as 900 BC.  Ships mainly kept cats to help reduce the population of mice and rats, and there are many famous ship’s cats recorded in history.  Sophie is in good company.  

The galley is one of the places on the ship that is much the same as it was in 1943 when the SS Jeremiah O’Brien was launched in 1943.  The old cook stove still burns coal or charcoal and it is started with wood scraps from the carpenter’s shop.  Sophie is smart to hang out there. 

 The model she mentions is a diorama presented to the ship by the French people from the area where the ship off loaded supplies and equipment during the D-Day landings in June 1944.  It was constructed as a gift to the ship and it is a very detailed representation of the area in France where the SS Jeremiah O’Brien visited.  

Disaster in the Desert and Victory !

In my last message I gave everyone an idea of our three day flight from the old grey ship into the Great Salt Lake.  The thing that made this trip not too bad was the strong constant tail wind, but more about that later.

When we arrived on Antelope Island and found my grand daughter, Ceci Gull, we settled down for the night and got up in the morning to tour the area.  It turns out that part of the year there are lots of small shrimp in the lake and part of the year the flock survives by scavenging out of the land fills.  Ceci Gull is very proud of the rookery and all her friends offered to show us around.  We took off and flew to the mainland where they took us to a GIANT garbage dump.  Normally we would not lower ourselves to eat at such a place, but we did not want to offend Ceci and her friends so we landed and looked around.  There were lots of big yellow machines and men working around there moving the garbage around, and that was my downfall.

Gull legs are thin and not very muscular. Thus they are subject to damage and we see many ‘gimpy’ birds walking on the wharf.

All Gulls have three ways of getting around:  We can fly, we can float and we can walk.  I have a gimpy leg and I get along Continue reading

I am BACK !!

I had decided to take a little trip and it turned out to be a disaster, but now I am back and things will pick up.  Here is a short version of the mis-adventure.   As you probably remember I have a  grand daughter in Salt Lake City,  Utah right on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.  Ceci Gull and her friends have been urging me to come and visit so I could see the large gull rookery on Antelope Island and look into all the statutes the local residents have put up honoring the California Gull.  The old ship was kind of quiet after all the action with the loud airplanes and big crowds so we decided to take a road trip just like in the old days.  Well, anyway we all took off on the trip east using a carefully planned route designed by my friends.

I rounded up the boys and convinced them that a little road trip would be good for everyone, including the tourists.

Since the big winds blow from the ocean toward the mountains we left early in the morning and flew due east until we crossed the mountains and dropped down into a sunny calm area with a very big lake. The strong tail wind kept up all day and we were able to cruise along with no trouble.   The water in the lake was very salty, and there were Continue reading

A New Correspondent

We had an invasion on board the ship the other night and fortunately my new assistant, Sophie-the-cat, was on top of it to help with this report.

Sophie-the-cat is our newest volunteer (volunteers are always good) and she will help us with details on the inside of the ship while I keep track of what is going on outside.

Let me explain: For some time I have realized that there is a lot going on within the interior of the ship, but I have no way of getting in there.  For one thing the hallways are narrow and they have raised doorways that I would have a problem getting over.  Also I do not want to go into the interior of the old ship.  There may be food in there, but I don’t want to try and find it in the cramped space.  There would be no way I could fly out since it looks like my wings are larger than the hallways and it makes no sense for me to try. Sophie, on the other hand, can creep around Continue reading

A BIG October on the Bay

We are really looking forward to October this year.  While listening to the crew on the old ship talk I learned that the loud airplanes are going to come to the Bay and that the fast funny looking sailboats are going to be racing again.

America’s Cup USA Oracle boat practicing on San Francisco Bay

The reason this is good news for the Avian Squadron is because it will bring out more people and that translates into more ‘found food’ opportunities.  It really is all about food when you are a hard struggling bird on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.  We are the elite of the Gull Family and don’t consider those brothers who hang out at the garbage dumps to be in our league. Continue reading