Hi Everyone, my English friend Rose is on the next leg of her adventure and is now in Brisbane, Australia. We had the pleasure of her company for two weeks and to say we had a fantastic time doesn't say half of it. We had a blast! It was very sad to say goodbye to her at the airport this past Saturday but I know we will be meeting again, either at the next reunion or when Gregg and I decide it's time to see the UK again. We are long overdue and are talking about it quite a lot these days.
Half way through her visit was the annual shipmates reunion that we go to each September/October. Last year Rose and her niece Pat joined us and we were delighted when Rose said she would be coming again. Hopefully Pat will make it next year. Above my father-in-law is talking to us all on the bus that took us out to the dinner cruise ship. He has been organizing these events for 37 years and does an amazing job, and as long as he and Celia have been together she has jumped right in and worked right alongside him to make sure everything goes smoothly and everyone is kept happy.
We had a little time to wait before we were able to board and took a walk around the harbor. Could not resist taking photos of these Coast Guard Officers. They were all smiling and looked like they were having a great day. The sunshine and warm weather made everyone feel good I think.
You can see Mermaids everywhere around Norfolk, from the statues like the one above scattered all over the city to the one below at the top of the flagpole. They even have their very own website which shows more of them very decoratively painted. You can take a look if you click here.
Below is Rose with Kevin. Kevin, whose Dad was also one of the survivors after the ship sank on D-Day, is our historian and host of the ship's website. He does a fantastic job of learning all he can each year, updating the site and passing on anything new he has learned. Frankly Gregg and I can't thank him enough for all that he does, because we know the hard work he puts into it but as the old saying goes, it is a labor of love and a wonderful and loving tribute especially to his Dad, and also to all of those who served on this ship. He has also been contacted by several people from Germany who are trying to find out information about fathers and grandfathers who have had various encounters with the ship during WWII, has been able to supply much sought after information and has developed a lasting bond with some.
Here he is again with my father-in-law.
Gregg and Rose found a nice quiet spot to have a chat.
The following are various scenes around the harbor.
This is a charter boat, the Inevitable.
The Inevitable was certainly a beautiful boat. No surprise, she has her own website here.
I was curious about the flag and found out that it was from the Cayman Islands.
I found it interesting that there were several boats moored that day flying the same flag.
I am not sure what this one's name is but you can charter something similar at this website.
This is Celia with her sister and her husband. I ran into them enjoying the various sights around the harbor.
It wasn't too long before I had to head back to board the boat for our dinner cruise.....
and I quickly caught up with Gregg and Rose. You can learn more about The Spirit of Norfolk here.
Just like on an aircraft we listen to all safety procedures.....
and here's the same man entertaining us later.
It turned out he was a really good singer.
We sat down to a sumptuous buffet but I only remembered to take a photo of the dessert.
As I looked around I could see everyone was having a good time. Gregg took these photos by the way.
After our meal and while Gregg and Rose were enjoying their conversations with others below, I quickly made my way up to the top deck. This is one of my favorite parts of the cruise, going topside to see all the activity on the Elizabeth River.
Fascinating to see all those containers as high as they were. Usually I only see them on the back of trucks, or if I visit this area on merchant ships going out to sea, or coming in.
Eventually I went downstairs for the entertainment. All our waiters and waitresses were the entertainers and they put on a great show.
A lot of the ladies made their way onto the dance floor, and that's Celia in the pink shirt.
The DJ made a comment about the husbands not joining their wives. No one could persuade any husbands to dance.
Eventually Rose and I joined in when they started playing the twist. So much fun! Sorry, no photos. Just as well and oh boy did I feel it the next day. I noticed that my 'twist' wasn't quite as twisty as it was 40 years ago. Now, Rose has to use a walking stick but even she managed to get on that dance floor, she's a real player. Kevin was walking by and we managed to pull him on in, what a good sport he was and I do believe he enjoyed himself too. We couldn't persuade Gregg but he was too busy taping the whole thing. Can't wait to see that video. No, I'm not showing it when I do.
After a while Gregg went up top because after twisting my body in all kinds of twisty dance maneuvers, I was in need of a rest and I was happy to sit and chat.
He took some great shots, one of his Dad pointing out the naval ships to one of the family members. My father-in-law spent 30 years in the navy and was the chief engineer of four ships, including the carrier, USS Forrestal.
There was a really lovely lady who was our bus driver. She took to Rose and after having a chat before, she asked how she had enjoyed it. We were busy chatting to her when this gentleman walked by. He was our driver from last year and when I said hi, he recognized us immediately. He gave us both a hug and of course we had to have one last picture.
Another great day with Rose.