Journal Entry  -  September 29, 1999  -  Day 18

Wednesday Morning Position Report
8:00 a.m., Mountain Daylight Time

20 Degrees, 56 Minutes North


108 Degrees, 22.9 Minutes West

Days Run:

63.8 Nautical Miles


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

Total Average Speed:  5.3 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  180.5 Hours, 7.52 Days
Distance To Go This Leg:  1,990.7 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  7:00 a.m., Saturday, October 16
Present Course:  125 Degrees South by Southeast
Winds:  Northwest at 20 Knots
Seas & Swells:  Combined at 8 Feet
Barometric Pressure:  1006 Millibars
Air Temperature:  78 Degrees
Visibility:  10 Miles
Skies:  Mostly Cloudy
Sea Floor:  Ocean depth along USS New Jersey's track in this area ranges from 1,550 to 1,610 Fathoms, or from 9,000 to 9,660 Feet.

Position:  USS New Jersey is now 105 Nautical Miles Southwest of Las Tres Islas Marias, the group of islands off the principal Mexican coastline from San Blas, which serve as a prison colony.  The island group, a cautionary area for ships, includes three main islands, Maria Madre, Maria Magdalena and Maria Cleofas.

Fish Catch:  As of Tuesday, September 28: a total of 16, including 4 Albacore, 3 Yellow Fin, 1 Yellow Tail, 2 Skipjack and 1 Bonita Tuna, and 5 Mahi-mahi.

BB-62 Website Visitor Question & Answer...

Question:  Why is the ship being towed 3/4 mile behind the tug?  Is it not safe to have it any closer?

Answer:  Captain Ogaard explains that the Battleship is very heavy and stable, but the tug is lighter and more susceptible to the motions of the sea.  The greater the length of the tow wire, the gentler it is on the tow gear, including the wire and the connections.  The shock absorption benefits increase with the length of the tow wire.

Preparing The Battleship For Battle

One imagines how the "Jerseymen" spent their time crossing the vastness of the seas.  It's a question asked of towboaters, and probably sailors of all kinds.  The tug Sea Victory's tow of the USS New Jersey has brought crew and vessels into an ocean that the eye cannot possibly envision, nor the mind grasp.  Mile after mile, day after day, week after week, the waves roll by, the tug pulls forward, the battleship follows.

For the sailors aboard New Jersey in 1987, when Captain Douglas J. Katz assumed command, relieving Captain Walter L. Glenn, Jr.,  in August, the ship was in for a day of reckoning.  She had been in "the yard" for awhile, according to Katz, and there was much work to be done to bring her back up to speed.

For those sailors, there was no question how their days at sea would be spent - working full time to pass the inspections required of the ship preparing for whatever would be asked of her.

"When I took command, it was sad," Katz said.   "We were hard pressed to get the ship in shape.  It was a very difficult time."  He said the crew started working uphill to ready her, and had to start everything new.

"I considered it a privilege to be her CO," Katz said, "but with her systems, it was no pleasure.  She had the advanced Tomahawk missile system, she had the guns, all the right stuff, we just had to get her up to shape, and had to start from scratch."

But in shape she got, after many weeks of effort at sea and in port. Finally, the ship was ready.  The commitment to get her there was complete and constant, and fulfilled.

Once having passed inspection, those sailors may have been at sea for days and weeks at a time, but there was more to do than enjoy the ride. Beyond the physical and mechanical challenges of keeping her fit and trim, they were headed for cruises lasting far longer.

Unlike them, the Sea Victory's crew has no possible conflict to face, no Battleship fitness inspection to pass, no 212,000 horsepower engine problems to fix, no missile systems to fine-tune, just a vast, empty sea to carry them to Panama, and home to New Jersey.  And they are fully involved in Sea Victory's performance, assuring her steady pace, hour after hour.

But the sea speaks with a subtle voice, and those Jerseymen, perhaps at night, maybe in the early morning, may have slipped quietly out on New Jersey's deck and listened to it, maybe even gaining insight about where they were headed next, for how long, and what would come of it.

These days and those, and this great Pacific, have their own messages. The Jerseymen and their Captains knew that, as do the Sea Victory's crew today.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


Previous Journal Page 
Next Journal Page
To Photo / Journal Index Page



Line Drawing of Big J

For best viewing use Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or Netscape Communicator 4.61 or newer.
This site is privately funded and maintained, it has no official sponsorships or affiliations.
Please send any Comments or Questions regarding this site to the webmaster.
Last updated on June 10, 2002.