Total Run This Leg:
Total Average Speed: 5.18 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg: 515.5 Hours, 21.48 Days
Distance To Go This Leg: 277.6 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival: 9:00 a.m., Friday, October 15, Balboa
Present Course: 117 Degrees Southeasterly
Winds: West-Southwest at 15 Knots
Seas: 3 Feet
Swells: 8 Feet from the Southwest
Barometric Pressure: 1011 Millibars
Air Temperature: 74 Degrees
Sea Temperature: 79 Degrees
Visibility: 5 Miles
Sea Floor: Ocean depths beneath the USS New Jersey at this point
are 2,952 Fathoms or 17,712 Feet.
USS New Jersey has arrived in the waters of Panama! She is now due South
of Bahia de Charco Azul in the Golfo de Chiriqui, and the terminal of Puerto Armuelles, a
major oil discharge port for various kinds of oil products. The presence of this
major oil terminal eliminates the need for large tankers, from Valdez, Alaska, as one
example, to transit the Panama Canal with their cargo of "black gold."
Charco Azul is an oil storage and transshipment terminal for tankers of up to 265,000
It is a transfer point for Alaskan oil from VLCC's (Very
Large Crude Carriers) to either transcontinental pipeline or smaller vessels for canal
transit. The pipeline connects Charco Azul to Chiriqui Grande Terminal on the
Atlantic coast. The terminal consists of three berths, pilotage is compulsory, and
services are provided 24 hours a day.
Isla Mantuosa, Heavily Wooded, 508 Feet High, Foul
USS New Jersey has now traveled through two time zones
since her September 21st departure from Long Beach, California, 2,670.5 Nautical Miles
over 21.48 Days, or 515.5 Hours. She has seen Summer turn to Autumn, a cool
California become a warm Central America, and still no one aboard the Sea Victory has
stepped on terra firma for 30 days.
New Jersey has now logged 3,864 Nautical Miles from
Bremerton, Washington to this morning's position, where the first land was spotted
directly to the North, Isla Mantuosa, Panama, guardian to the entrance of Bahia de Charco
Azul, a major oil transshipment port from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans.
Landfall! A small island, to be sure, but still
coastal land, visible, with all the imagination brings with that image to sailors.
Even though for these towboaters, 30 days in the warmth of the Pacific off Central America
is a piece of cake compared to those same 30 days, say, fighting against an Alaskan storm
during the crest of winter. Life has its blessings, indeed.
Her homecoming voyage, her last in the Pacific. A
memorable one, to be sure.
Two Miles South of the Long Beach breakwater, 47 Miles
West-Southwest of Point Loma, San Diego, 42 Miles Southwest of Ensenada, Mexico, 41 Miles
Southwest of Isla San Jeronimo, Mexico, 54 Miles Southwest of Bahia de Ballenas, Baja
California, 60 Miles from Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja, 98 Miles off-shore of Cabo
Corrientos, then Manzanillo where the storm waited for New Jersey's passage before
entering stage right, and Buffadero Bluff, Zihuatanejo, the lagoon of the parrots, Laguno
de Papagayo, Acapulco, Rio Verde, Golfo de Tehuantepec and the Tehuantepeckers, Mar
Muerto, San Jose, Guatemala, the tri-national border shores of Golfo de Fonseca for El
Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, then Cape Filibusteros, Costa Rica, a parliamentary
etymology one thirsts to discover, Cerros de Havana, Punta Guiones, the Guardian Bank,
shallow pinnacles with their longlines, and now Panama, now Isla Mantuosa, and Friday,
anchorage in Balboa.
How, though, can that compare to USS New Jersey's earlier
Her entire 1968 mileage total was 38,034. And what of her
destinations and crossing points? Philadelphia, Norfolk, Panama, Pearl Harbor,
Funafuti, Ellice Islands, the Marshalls, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, the Majuro Lagoon,
zigzagging through South Pacific nights in a black-out condition, avoiding enemy subs and
harm's way, New Guinea, Aitape, Tanahmerah and Humboldt Bays, the Philippine Sea, Turkey
Shoots, Saipan, Okinawa ... then Wonsan, Changjon, Songjin, Chongjin, Yokosuka, Kosong,
and Subic Bay, Da Nang, cross-Pacific treks, Pearl Harbor to Subic Bay 4,879 Miles, Subic
to Da Nang 748, or coastal operations off Vietnam, September 30 - November 9, 1968, a mere
6,785 Miles, or November 22 - December 8, 1968, another 3,793 miles - and what were the
sailors thinking then? - or, December 22 - 31, 1968, Christmas time, coastal operations in
I and II Corps, 1,224 Miles, and to Beirut from Cristobal, Panama, 12 Days at 25 Knots,
What of those passages? Where was landfall then?
What would welcome the Jerseymen when they hit those beaches? What were their
thoughts through those long, watery miles? And when would they come then?
Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.