Bob C. Gull-iver’s Travels: Mare Island

Last year the ship took a cruise to Mare Island at Vallejo to have some work done.  Mare Island used to be an open and very active Navy Base and now the sailors are gone, but there is still a lot of action.  While they were tied up to the dock at the old Navy Base the cranes took a lot of pallets out of the hold and the most interesting thing is that now the ship sits much higher out of the water.

Note exposed rudder and propeller due to the removal of the ballast.

There used to be many more ships there when the Navy was still in town.  Now the Navy ships are gone and we don’t have as many inviting targets for our Gull Salute bombing runs.  The ships that are still there seem to be ones that they are taking apart.  Very confusing; why would they want to take a ship apart?  It seems as though there are lots of ships waiting to be dismantled and lots of workers at the old Navy Base.  The crew of the ship worked on board for several weeks and there was some opportunity for me to scavenge food.  The pickings were not as good as at Fisherman’s Wharf because there are no tourists to terrorize.

Ship in a Graving Dock at Mare Island awaiting the cutting torch. Note coffer dam isolating the 'dry dock'.

Editor’s Note:  Mare Island was first established as a Navy Base and Shipyard in 1854 and closed in 1996.  This Shipyard was the site of the construction of nuclear submarines during the 1960-1990 period. The SS Jeremiah O’Brien went to Mare Island in March 2011 to off load more than one million pounds of  ballast. The ballast that was removed  will be replaced with concrete blocks.  The ships being dismantled are from the ‘Ghost Fleet’ near Benicia.  By recycling the old ships the water of San Francisco Bay is improved because many of the older ships are coated with paint and other troublesome materials which may be harmful to the environment.  

The SS Jeremiah O’Brien will be in dry dock in January and February 2012 at Pier 70.

The SS Jeremiah O'Brien leaving the Mare Island Shipyard after unloading the ballast.


One comment on “Bob C. Gull-iver’s Travels: Mare Island

  1. fototaker says:

    aaaah i would’ve loved seeing the JoB lighter on her feet. i am still so amazed that the ship is in such great condition! i am sure the many of the passing gulls are just as impressed! thanks so much for these great updates!!

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