Sunday, August 18, 2019

Patriots Point

After the digression for the delivery of the rented car from Enterprise, a Dodge Grand Caravan which easily held the Go-Go mobility scooter, we headed for Patriots Point, home of the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier and other ships comprising a naval and maritime museum.

Most levels of the Yorktown,known as the Fighting Lady, were accessible with the mobility scooter including the Hanger Bay, Flight Deck and Quarters. On the Quarters level, models of life size figures and food show the chow line and kitchens and there is an engine room experience with interactive kiosks.

An Avenger with wings folded up
In the Hanger Bay are various planes including a some like the Avenger similar to those my father would have worked on repairing at Iwo Jima and other islands in the South Pacific during World War II, probably what he was doing while I was being born halfway around the world in Connecticut in December of 1944.

The Flight Deck also has several planes, a helicopter, and a great view of Charleston harbor. On the side of the island tower on the flight deck are plaques showing the ship kills of the various air groups on the Yorktown.

Most of the icons were clear but one of a duck was a bit puzzling until we found a plaque giving the legend for the plaques ... it represented "aircraft destroyed on ground" or, in other words, sitting ducks.

This gave me an interesting visual perspective on my father, sitting in a foxhole, trying to sleep, read, or even write a letter to my mom, while Japanese aircraft bombed or shot at the 'sitting duck' airplanes on the ground that my dad as a US Marine Master Technical Sgt and his crew were trying to repair. He spoke of bullet holes in the radios they were fixing or replacing and having to interrupt the work when the air raid sirens went off for incoming enemy planes.

While doing research online about this I found a photo that fits well with the stories my father told me about his time in the South Pacific ... It isn't him but it could have been. He often said he thinks he spent more time in foxholes than anywhere else.

Marine sleeping in a foxhole in WW2 South Pacific

Charleston Harbor viewed from the USS Yorktown

Geoff at Parade Rest at the Yorktown Bell
Also at Patriots Point are a destroyer, the USS Laffey, and a submarine, the USS Clamagore. Neither of these is handicap accessible so we did not see them although I understand that the submarine has an excellent demonstration of what it feels like to be the target of a kamikaze attack.

The exit is of course through the gift shop, named The Ships Store, where I got a ball cap for Patriots Point, of course, as well as a baby Sea Turtle figure which now resides on a book shelf with other memorabilia from our trips.

It is our general habit to have breakfast early at TimmberWolf and then eat a late lunch/early dinner out at a local restaurant avoiding the chains that are available at home. We then have either a light dinner or just a snack back at Wolf in the evening. The Hanger Deck included an information desk staffed by several volunteers. Here we asked for suggestions for a nice sit down restaurant and a very helpful gentleman suggested several. We ended up at R.B.'s Seafood Restaurant on Shems Creek where I had excellent Oysters Rockefeller!

Our table was right at a window looking out on the creek which looks more like a canal actually with another restaurant across the way and parking for various watercraft. There are also kayak tours in the creek. There were dolphins playing in this canal! They seem to know the minute you get a camera out and refuse to show themselves until you put the camera away! So ... no pictures of them but we saw at least three of them playing and jumping.
Oysters Rockefeller

After our sumptuous meal we returned to Wolf and the only eventful thing after that was when I managed to fall out of the bed in the middle of the night bruising and scraping my arms. Not fun but could have been worse I suppose.

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