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.  

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

A Busy Summer on the Ship

This summer season has been very busy for the old ship and quite exciting for the boys and gulls in the Avian Squadron.  First of all we had a nest that was built on the ship by Charles and Claudia De Gull and that caused a lot of chatter amongst the troops and the crew as well as the visitors.  Unfortunately it did not produce any new chicks, but the De Gull Family did get a lot of notoriety from the visitors during one of the cruises.

Then there were more visitors to the pier than I have seen in many a year and that generated a lot of free food for the birds. One of our favorite snacks is the bread bowl that is served filled with soup.  Sometimes the soup is still in it when we get it and we get to pick out the clams and other fish that is left. Terrific stuff, but you have to fight off those pesky pigeons. 

Percival C. Gull scores a bread bowl and he is rightfully wary of the pigeons stalking his find.

Then we had a lot of sailboats out on the water and big crowds watching them zip around. There must have been some kind of special event going on because I have never seen so many boats and the large crowds lining the shoreline. Continue reading

Farewell Drydock Eureka

This is the control room on the upper deck of the drydock. There are numerous compartments in the bottom of the facility that allows selective flooding to 'trim' the ship as it is being lowered into the water.

After more than a month in drydock we are back home at Pier 45, and I am glad of it.  The people at the drydock were very friendly, but the pickings were poor in terms of food sitting around.  Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf is such a gold mine in terms of stuff to scavenge that nothing else holds a candle to that spot.

When it came time for the ship to leave I was sitting on the rail up near the control room and heard the yellow suit guys talking.  They said that they were going to ‘pull the plug’ and flood the dock.  I have to tell you I was nervous because I had seen the big holes they cut in the side of the ship and I wasn’t sure it was going to float!  This ship is my safety net in terms of food and I am not happy about anything that puts that at risk.

The drydock is a big open kind of ship and it has no front or back or roof and big side walls.  It looks old, but it does do the job of getting the ship out of the water. Continue reading

Mission Accomplished !

The work looks like it is done on the ship.  Here is a picture someone took of me and the ship just before they started to flood the drydock.  I was nervous about the ship sinking, but all is well.

Bob relaxes on a box next to the ship just before the flooding of the drydock begins. The new paint job looks great.

The new paint job looks great and the holes in the side are all patched up. I was able to get a few new pictures of the ship just before they flooded the drydock and there are some interesting new developments. Continue reading

New paint job (almost) and the holes are patched

I flew down to the ship the other day to see how they are coming with the paint and the repairs.  The painting is really coming along; I stayed out of the way of the guys with the long paint sticks, but I am impressed how much they have gotten done since I saw it last.  The very bottom of the ship is a nice red color and it has a black line above that and then the standard grey.  They also put a bunch of numbers on the front of the ship for some reason. Continue reading