Monday, March 02, 2015

Thought Provoking Day

I must admit that I hesitated making a post after our day's activities. Do you normally go for thought provoking outings when on vacation? I want only happy things requiring little or no reflection on my part. This morning we drove up I-5 to La Jolla to visit the Birch Aquarium, part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Except for the hordes of screaming school children, we always enjoy aquariums, even though they often feature the same kinds of exhibits. Since Scripps is a leader in ocean research, they added a lot of facts about global warming, which are quite disturbing, even though I've accepted the concept from the beginning. Seeing the charts on levels of CO2 since the industrial revolution, especially since mass produced automobiles, made my day less than happy.
My  good camera doesn't do well when photographing fish in a tank - not enough light for the most part. Occasionally you find one filled with sunshine that comes out OK. Or, I've started using my cell phone since it lets me tap the screen to designate the part to focus on. Although I was chilly up on the hill, wetsuit clad surfers tried to ride the waves in down on the beach. Not many birds other than gulls and crows.
USS Midway
After serving for 47 years, the aircraft carrier USS Midway was decommissioned in 1992 and opened as a museum in San Diego harbor in 2004. If you come here sometime, make a point to visit. Aircraft carriers are huge, right? I mean, jet planes take off and land on their decks. But the halls and rooms are all so small - except for the wide-open hanger deck, of course. The lower ranked crew sleep in quarters so cramped they are literally on top of each other. How anyone knows what travels through which tubes is beyond me.  The doors have barriers (there is surely a proper term to use) you must step over every time you go through one. During a storm people must fall and break their legs on a regular basis. They hand you an audio player and send you off on a self-guided tour. I had a lot of sympathy for new crew members trying to find their way around the ship. Some voices on the tour talked about how wonderful it was, while others said they couldn't stand the crowding, heat and humidity.
Excellent docents explained how the crews got planes to land and take off a moving deck every 45 seconds!  Many generations of planes, both propeller and jet, and helicopters lined the flight deck and hanger deck. The Midway served throughout the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, so people we knew might have served on her then. She could carry 3.4 million gallons of diesel fuel, needed since she used 260 gallons of fuel for ever mile traveled. A crew of 4,500 used 10 tons of food daily. Some men did nothing but wash dishes or do laundry for a full 12-hour shift every day.
Our last stop was a film about the battle of Midway. War is always disturbing - the sacrifice, heroism and waste of it. Like I say, not exactly a fun vacation activity. But, the good news is sunshine for the rest of the week, and all day tomorrow at the Zoo! We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo, how about you, you, you!

No comments: