Questions and Answers !!

OK, listen up here !  Over the course of the last five months I have put out a lot of information and some of you have been kind enough to respond with questions.  Before we get into the questions I should tell you how this works: I write the BLOG and then this Editor guy comes along and adds more useless words trying to explain what I have already told you.  I humor him and let him rattle on, but I think he only confuses the situation.  As a result some of you have been sending in questions and the purpose of this message is to answer those questions.  Got it ?

Question No. 1:  I didn’t know that the California Gull is the State bird of Utah.  Why is this the case since Utah is a long way from California ?

Answer:  The California Gull has two main rookeries, or nesting areas.  The biggest one is at the Great Salt Lake in Utah; the second one is at Mono lake in California.  There are lots of California Gulls in Utah.

In the mid-1840’s the Mormon Pioneers immigrated to Utah from the midwest.  In June of 1848 after they had planted their crops there was a drought in the Great Salt Lake Basin and the crops were in trouble.  More importantly the local crickets or locust were starving and they moved out of the foothills surrounding the Salt Lake City area and attacked the crops.

Miracle of the gulls monument in Salt Lake City

It was like a war between the crickets and the farmers.  The local California Gull population, always on the lookout for a free meal, jumped into the fight and took care of the problem by gobbling up the crickets thus saving the crops.  The pioneers were so grateful they adopted the California Gull as the ‘Official State Bird’.  For more information please look at Miracle of the gulls. 

Question No. 2: How can a person tell one type of gull from another ? They all look the same to me.

Answer:  There are at least 57 species of different gulls, and they range from the smallest ( Little Gull : 4.2 oz. ) to the largest ( Great Black-backed Gull: 3.8 pounds  ).  The easiest way to type the members of my extended family is to start with where you are situated. In the San Francisco Bay we have two most common types:  The Herring Gull and the California Gull.  They are easy to sort out. The California Gull has yellow feet and legs and a red and black spot on the bill. The Herring Gull has pink feet and only a red spot on the bill.  The plumage is very similar. Others may wander into our world on their migratory patterns, but we chase them away as fast as we can. For more information than you will ever need I suggest that you hook into this web site for the Gull Family.

Sammy Gull at Sinbad’s. Note pink feet.

Here, by the way, is a picture of Sammy Gull, a true Herring Gull and a  pretender if I ever saw one.

Question No. 3:  In one of your posts about the dry dock experience  you talked about ‘Sacrificial Anodes’ on the ship.  I have no idea what this might be.

Answer:  What do you think I am?  I am a Gull !

I  have no idea what you are talking about so I am going to turn this over to the Editor guy to see if he can sort it out. Geeze !

Editor’s Note:  When the SS Jeremiah O’Brien was in dry dock it was noted that there was some corrosion on the hull.  Corrosion on a ship in salt water is inevitable, but it can be controlled.  It cannot be stopped or reversed, but it can be controlled. One of the ways to control it is to install metal anodes or coupons to the hull to act in a ‘sacrificial’ manner.  

Zinc coupons on the rudder and hull of the SS Jeremiah O’Brien to act as sacrificial anodes to control corrosion,

In the case of the O’Brien the answer was to install zinc coupons in strategic areas near the rudder and the prop. The zinc coupons will corrode and the steel hull will be saved.  The coupons, which are like ingots of zinc, will be ‘sacrificed’ and eventually corrode and disappear, but the hull and rudder will be saved.

For more information about the SS Jeremiah O’Brien or to ask more questions please visit our web site, or better yet please visit the ship at Pier 45 Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco.  


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