Journal Entry  -  September 25, 1999  -  Day 14

Saturday Morning Position Report
8:00 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time

26 Degrees, 44 Minutes North


114 Degrees, 46 Minutes West

Days Run:

60.6 Nautical Miles


5.05 Knots (Average)  running at reduced speed due to a fixed ETA of October 16 at the Panama Canal.

Total Run This Leg:  456.3 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  5.34 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  85.5 Hours, 3.5 Days
Distance To Go This Leg:  2,491.5 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  October 16
Present Course:  141 Degrees, altered at 4:00 a.m. this morning from the previous course of 148 Degrees. Captain Ogaard says the USS New Jersey will remain on this course to the tip of Baja California where the resort mecca of Cabo San Lucas is located.
Winds:  Northwest at 20 Knots
Seas & Swells:  Combined at 6 Feet
Barometric Pressure:  1017 Millibars
Air Temperature:  64 Degrees
Visibility:  10 Miles
Skies:  Overcast
Sea Floor:  The ocean depth in this area of USS New Jersey's trackline range from 2,140 to 2,175 Fathoms, or 12,840 to 13,050 Feet.

Position:  USS New Jersey is now 32 Nautical Miles Southwest of Isla San Roque, Baja California Sur, Mexico.  To the South down that stretch of coastline are Bahia San Hipolito and Laguna San Ignacio.  Mountains inland, called Cerro La Mesa, rise to 1,833 Feet.  The waters here and to the South off Baja are prime whale habitats. Numerous bays along the coast are calving areas for these whales, and one of the habitats is named Bahia de Ballenas, the Bay of Whales.   Sightings began this morning of pods of smaller whales as USS New Jersey continues her Southeasterly track to Balboa, Panama.

The Mexican Navy Checks Out USS New Jersey

Last night, at about 8:50 p.m., as Captain Kaare Ogaard was on his four-hour watch, and the USS New Jersey was passing some 22 miles southwest of Cabo Tortolo and Bahia Tortugas, the Sea Victory's VHF radio Channel-16 announced the presence of the Mexican Navy.

The voice requested information from the Captain about the two vessels the Navy radioman had obviously spotted on his radar screen. Ogaard says the USS New Jersey presents a very definitive radar image, and ahead of it, the Sea Victory, by comparison, appears very small. The two images prompted the Mexican Navy's radio inquiry, called a "challenge" in marine parlance.

Because New Jersey was within Mexico's 200-mile fisheries or economic zone, although beyond its 12-mile territorial claim, passage through these Baja California waters would assume the possibility of official contact.

The call to Sea Victory came on the universal international Distress and Calling radio channel. After an introduction that he was calling as the Mexican Navy, the polite but inquisitive voice continued.

"And the name of the ship is Sea Victory," he said? "Over ..."

"Yes," responded Ogaard, "the Sea Victory. My call sign is: whiskey-charlie-yankee-six-seven-seven-seven, over..."

"So this is whiskey-charlie-yankee-six-seven-seven-seven, and this is the Sea Victory," the Navyman established.

"That is correct," said Ogaard.

"And what kind of ship is the Sea Victory," asked the Mexican radioman?

"The Sea Victory is a towboat ... Sea Victory is a tugboat, remolcador," Ogaard said. "Over."

"And ... so that big tugboat ... is also ..." the Navyman was saying, seeming to still be wondering about the battleship half of the dual radar image.   "So thank you very much, Sea Victory.  We'll stand by on Channel-16 if you need anything ... if we can help you ... we are on Channel-16 ... stand by," he said.

"Roger, roger," Ogaard quickly responded, then added:   "Did you ask what kind of ship we were towing?  Is that what you asked, over?"

"Yes," the radioman replied, continuing with the good English that helped make the entire conversation a smooth one.  "This is your tug ... the kind of ship you are towing?  Over ..."

"Roger, roger," Ogaard said, reaching the point where both men wanted to be from the outset.  "It is the United States Battleship New Jersey, over."

"Roger, it is the Battleship New Jersey," said the Navyman.   "Thank you very much, thank you very much, Captain.  "We will stand by on Channel-16, over."

"Roger, thank you, good evening," Ogaard concluded.

"Thank you," the Mexican Navyman said, ending a brief but required exploration of two nighttime vessels registered on a radar screen in Baja California.

It is quite impossible to know just what the Mexican Navy did with the information they just acquired about the presence of the USS New Jersey. Whether it became a topic of conversation among them or not, and if it did, what its nature was, will not be known here.

But the level of respect shown to Ogaard as the captain of a foreign tugboat was clear from the outset.  One imagines that this Navyman treats all captains with respect.  But his immediate reaction to hearing the battleship New Jersey reference appeared to fasten his attention and elevate his respect even more.

Her stature still reaches far and wide.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


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