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