Saturday, July 7, 2012

Opsail 2012

Opsail 2012 is my favorite event! 
Operation Sail refers to a series of sailing events held to celebrate special occasions and features sailing vessels from around the world. Each event is coordinated by Operation Sail, Inc., a non-profit organization established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy and must be approved by the United States Congress. Often referred to as OpSail or Op Sail, the event has the goals of promoting good will and cooperation between countries while providing sail training and celebrating maritime history. It is also sometimes erroneously referred to as "Tall Ships". While the tall ships form the centerpiece of the event, smaller sailing vessels also participate. Op Sail events, when scheduled, are run concurrently with the annual International Naval Review, which features present-day warships from various navies. Six Op Sail events have been held to date, in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, 2000 and 2012. The event culminates in the Parade of Ships on the Hudson River and in New York harbor on July 4, Independence Day. The United States Coast Guard cutter Eagle has been the host vessel to all six Op Sail events.

When Opsail was here in 2000, I took both boys and we walked our legs off but we went on so many tall ships and modern ships too!  This year when Opsail came to town, I was bound and determined to take in as much as I possibly could!  I dragged John and Ian with me and took the day off from work!
Just to warn you, there are many pictures!  I took some, Ian took some and well, I put the best ones on the blog!
I didn't take this picture, it was on Naval Station Norfolk's Facebook page.  I loved it though.  This is taken off Little Creek as the ships were coming into the Norfolk Harbor.

 The USS WASP, was the staging ship. VIP's were aboard to watch and salute all of the ships coming into the Norfolk's Harbor.  The USS WASP was also John's last Command in the Navy. He retired aboard the WASP in 1998! (and was glad he wasn't aboard for this event!)
 Two of the carriers in port for the moment.  Their flight decks would have made a perfect perch to watch the ships come in!  The IKE and the George H.W. Bush were in port that day!
 The Coast Guard ship, The Eagle
 John brought his binoculars.  Well, they broke on his trip home this time so Ian was using them as best as he could! ;)

 The WASP manning the rails in salute to the ships coming into port!

 We started our observation from the Naval Station Norfolk seawall at 9:30am.  About 11:30, we decided to head downtown to Norfolk Harbor to see the ships pull in and take in some of the festivities.  Ship parades move kind of slow...we had time! 

So, we boarded the Tide!!  Our new light rail in Norfolk.  It made going into the city SO much easier, no parking issues and we rode it to the different venues along the Norfolk harbor wall and the different locations Opsail had events and ships moored!

 What do we behold, but a German Frigate!  We had to go aboard! So we did, and  had a great view of more ships coming in!! 
 This is one of my favorites.  If you look closely, you can see their sailors, manning the yards!
 Love that all the boaters were escorting the ships into port.  It was just cool!

 Of course the frigate Hessen has  a bar on the helo deck, don't all frigates??? LOL
                                           John's beer.....He had to have one! But of course!

 Modern ships were available to tour as well.  We didn't go aboard these. I go aboard ships quite a bit with my job and of course, so does John! 
                              For our Canadian Family, I had to get a picture of their ship too! :)
 There were many displays from all of the services; Army, Navy, USMC and Coast Guard!  This Navy Diver and EOD display was pretty cool.  They of course, had a diver!  I was focusing to take this picture when the diver waved Ian and I over....

So we went! The diver and I played Tic tac toe...he  and he can write better backwards than I can!
 This event also commemorated the War of 1812. There were many re enactors from that time period around the event.  This trio were singing drinking songs! lol
                   This ship is from Mexico!!  It was so pretty!!  well they all were...

 Two Canadian ships...
 A Story teller, telling stories from the 1812 time period.
 This is a ship's surgeon...telling this young lady how to amputate limbs while at sea...
 These drummers were from Indonesia...I am not sure what the walrus represents but they were awesome!
                                               and they did tricks with their drums as well!

It was a fabulous day!  If you ever hear of Opsail coming to port, I encourage you to go!  As you hopefully read at the beginning of this blog entry, it doesn't happen very often!  It's an incredible event!!

No comments: