On January 23rd, Monday morning at 6 o’clock there was a lot of activity on the ship and lines of people going on board while it was still dark! Very unusual. In my bleary-eyed state I couldn’t figure it out until I remembered the fact that the ship is going into dry dock and today was the day for the trip. It was raining and the wind was howling, but despite the bad weather I got out of my warm dry nest and prepared to fly down to Pier 70. It was a tough flight because of the wind, but I did get there before the ship arrived.
When I got down there the visibility was so bad that I could scarcely see across the ship yard. After a little while the ship came into view and it was accompanied by three tiny tug boats. I had never seen three tug boats pushing and pulling the ship. The wind was pushing it around and they looked as though they were having a lot of trouble getting it to go in the right direction.
The people at the shipyard had made changes to the dry dock and it was sinking! Why do they want to sink the dry dock just before they put the ship in? Lots of men in yellow jackets were running around and talking on telephones. I found a dry place up on top of one of the buildings to watch the circus. There were repeated attempts to get close to the sunken dry dock by pushing the ship with the tiny tug boats. I thought about trying to fly out to the ship to see if there might be some food on deck but the wind was too strong and the rain was ferocious.
They went back and forth several times and once got very close to the dry dock before backing up. In the end they pulled the ship out away from the ship yard and held it out in open water for a while until one of the tiny tug boats left and headed back up toward the Bay Bridge. Soon they moved the ship further out into the Bay and turned it around to go back to Pier 45.
All of this and I got NOTHING TO EAT!
Editor’s Note: The SS Jeremiah O’Brien was schedule to travel down to Pier 70 to go into the floating dry dock at the BAE Systems shipyard. The floating dry dock had been prepared the week before and blocks were placed to allow the ship to be secured for the necessary painting and repairs. After a couple hours of maneuvering the decision was made to hold off on entering the dry dock until the wind died down. It soon became obvious that we had no idea how long it would be before the conditions improved so the ship returned to Pier 45 and the safety of Fisherman’s Wharf. As one of the SS jeremiah O’Brien’s volunteer crew remarked . . .”Ship happens”. The ship was safely returned to the dry dock on Tuesday and it now is positioned to be painted and repaired. More information will be provided in the coming weeks as progress is made on the project. Please visit us at our web site and on this BLOG for progress reports.