Journal Entry  -  October 1, 1999  -  Day 20

Friday Evening Position Report
8:00 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time

18 Degrees, 03 Minutes North


104 Degrees, 04 Minutes West

Days Run:

58.6 Nautical Miles


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

Total Run This Leg:  1,256.8 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  5.23 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  240 Hours, 10.02 Days
Distance To Go This Leg:  1,691 Nautical Miles to the Balboa Sea Buoy, Panama
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  7:00 a.m., Saturday, October 16
Present Course:  125 Degrees South by Southeast.  An hour from now, Captain Ogaard intends to execute a pre-designed course change to 117 Degrees, a more easterly track line to follow the coast of lower Mexico.
Winds:  Southwesterly air, a light breeze out of the Southwest
Seas:  Rippled Surface
Swells:  9 Feet from the South
Barometric Pressure:  1010 Millibars
Air Temperature:  80 Degrees
Sea Temperature:  82 Degrees
Visibility:  Good at 10 Miles or more
Seas:  Clear
Sea Floor:  Depths here are 2,600 Fathoms or 15,600 Feet.

Position:  USS New Jersey is now 37 Miles Southwest of Punta San Telmo, the closest point she will be to land in Mexico.  Farther down this coastline is the internationally famous resort of Acapulco.

Fish Catch:  The Sea Victory's principal fishermen, AB Celso Martinez, AB Fred Davis and Cook CJ Good, caught 2 Skipjack Tuna yesterday, one Mahi-mahi this afternoon, and hauled in an 80 pound Wahoo this evening, after it put up enough of a fight to require two sets of muscles to get it aboard.  (Wahoo are known on the U.S. east coast as Kingfish, and in Hawaii as Ono.)   Their total catch as of tonight, Friday, October 1 is: 20, including 4 Albacore, 3 Yellow Fin, 1 Yellow Tail, 4 Skipjack and 1 Bonita Tuna, 6 Mahi mahi, and 1 Wahoo.

Nightfall Visitor:  A large, dark seabird set down on Sea Victory's bow just before sunset this evening and took a liking to the place.   It appeared, as of this writing, that the bird was preparing to spend the night.  After some self grooming and curiosity satisfaction, it went to sleep.

Battleship And Canal - History Converges

There come times when the pen carries a heavy weight.  Speaking of the thousands who gave themselves to this honorable ship's legacy, or the even greater thousands who spent themselves on a canal linking the oceans together, requires the words of those who lived and knew the measure of those days.

The USS New Jersey will soon find a part in the canal's emerging legacy. The historic construction achievement of this century will play its part as well in honoring the ship's.  Both will share the common threads of human achievement and sacrifice.  The words of their contemporaries and observers speak for themselves.

From the Philadelphia Navy Yard's December 7, 1942 newspaper "Beacon," Lieutenant Commander Francis X. Forest, Naval construction officer, as published in "Battleship New Jersey: An Illustrated History," by Paul Stillwell (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 1986):

"Many of the most necessary parts of the construction and the launching of this ship depend entirely upon the steady hand of the machinist who scrapes the bearing, of the shipfitter who places the steel, of the shipwright who shores and supports the structure and carefully sets the staging that men's lives may be safe while working.

"All of the skilled trades, the blacksmiths, the toolmakers and electricians, and others by their own touch, place in the ship that which no specification or plan can provide.  Not the least of this coordinated group are the riggers, who place every piece of material in its place, safely handling single weights of hundreds of tons, always with the forethought to ensure that the painstaking labor of the other crafts will not be wasted by a single misstep at the last instant.

"Nor should we forget that the laborers, sweepers and fire watchers play an equally important part in the building of the ship; for without them the chaos of scrap and dirt, and the many other tasks would be a hopeless burden."

Estimates of New Jersey's workforce of men and women amounts to 6,000 - 8,000, and climbs to 10,000, counting everyone who ever lent an eager hand to the effort.

From the Panama Canal Commission's Administration Building Rotunda, a plaque bears the engraved words of President Theodore Roosevelt, a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, on the achievement at Panama:

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

From the Panama Canal Commission's website, "Civilization's Heroic 50 Miles": David McCullough in his book "The Path Between the Seas," wrote:

"The creation of a water passage across Panama was one of the supreme human achievements of all time, the culmination of a heroic dream of over four hundred years and of more than twenty years of phenomenal effort and sacrifice.

"The fifty miles between the oceans were among the hardest ever won by human effort and ingenuity, and no statistics on tonnage or tolls can begin to convey the grandeur of what was accomplished.

"Primarily, the canal is an expression of that old and noble desire to bridge the divide, to bring people together.  It is a work of civilization."

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.