Journal Entry  -  October 25, 1999  -  Day 44

Monday Evening Position Report
8:00 p.m., Central Daylight Time

16 Degrees, 43 Minutes North


81 Degrees, 02 Minutes West

Days Run:

45.3 Nautical Miles


3.78 Knots (Average)  running to meet a fixed ETA.

Total Run This Leg:  446.5 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  4.28 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  104.3 Hours / 4.34 Days
Distance To Go This Leg:  1,650 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  3:00 p.m., Saturday, November 6, Cape Henlopen Sea Buoy, at the mouth of the Delaware River.
Present Course:  335 Degrees North-Northwesterly
Winds:  North-Northeast at 20 Knots
Seas & Swells:  Combined at 10 Feet
Barometric Pressure:  1014 Millibars
Air Temperature:  80 Degrees
Sea Temperature:  82 Degrees
Visibility:  10 Miles
Skies:  Cloudy
Sea Floor:  Ocean depths beneath the USS New Jersey at this point are 290 Meters, or 951 Feet.

Panama Canal Transit:  October 16 - 21 / Balboa Pier 14 - 15, Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, the Gaillard Cut, Gamboa, Lake Gatun, and the Gatun Locks, and Cristobal.  USS New Jersey's clearance into the Caribbean Sea / Atlantic Ocean was completed at 11:34 a.m., and her mark for the commencement of the Cristobal, Panama - Philadelphia, PA Third Leg was passed at 11:42 a.m., Thursday, October 21.

Distance Of Second Leg:   September 21 - October 15 / Long Beach, CA to Balboa Anchorage, Panama: 2,948.7 Nautical Miles, the longest leg of New Jersey's homecoming voyage.
Total Average Speed Second Leg:  5.18 Knots

Distance Of First Leg:   September 12 - 21 / Bremerton, WA to Long Beach, CA: 1,193.6 Nautical Miles from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to Long Beach, CA anchorage.
Total Average Speed First Leg:  5.54 Knots

Position:  The USS New Jersey continues her passage through Northwest Mar Caribe.  She is now well beyond the Rosalind Bank, and is entering what the Sea Victory's small scale chart shows to be the Nicaraguan Rise, South of Western Cuba, and Northeast of Thunder Knoll.  To the far West of New Jersey's position here, at nearly the same latitude, is the Northern Caribbean coast of Honduras, and farther West, Belize.  Due North of her 335 Degree trackline is the Cayman Ridge and the United Kingdom's Grand Cayman Island.  She is approaching from the South the general vicinity of the Yucatan Basin.

Fish Catch:  Two lines lashed from Sea Victory's control deck side rails are again part of daily life since the Panama Canal transit, and they require steady monitoring by those crewmen off-duty, and an occasional eye-check by those in passing.  There's never a shortage of volunteers here.   The thrill of spotting a catch before it either escapes, or is consumed by others in the food chain, grants automatic interest to this visual responsibility.

The team's last catch, a Yellow Fin Tuna, was on Monday, October 8th. Lines were stowed approaching Balboa, and throughout the Panama Canal visit, and only resumed their duty over the weekend.

The total catch as of tonight, Monday, October 25 is: 28, including 4 Albacore, 4 Yellow Fin, 1 Yellow Tail, 4 Skipjack and 2 Bonita tuna, 12 Mahi mahi, and 1 Wahoo.

Control Means Knowing Where You're Going

The photo accompanying this evening's report shows Captain Kaare Ogaard on Sea Victory's control deck, the second-deck level of the tug where he operates the tow winch, hauling in or letting slip the tug's connection to the USS New Jersey.  This is the Captain's third home on the powerful tug.  He spends more critical time here everyday than elsewhere, save his second and first homes.  His second would probably be his stateroom, just forward of this control deck, through a passageway, just the other side of the laundry room.  One believes this is his sanctuary.  His place for thought, reflection, fiction, journals, mail, music, biography, planning.

The Captain's first home is the Bridge.

Walking through the passageway from the control deck and laundry room, the Captain's stateroom, as all crew cabins are called, is on the starboard side across from Chief Engineer Andy Cleland's.  On the other end of this level are the staterooms of Chief Mate Terry Jacobsen and Second Mate Mike Poirier.

Between the staterooms in this passageway is the stairwell down to the galley, and another leading topside.  Above this one is a brass nameplate:

"Bridge," engraved as on a sizeable trophy.   The wheelhouse, the pilothouse, whichever preferred, it's the nerve center, the brain stem, the corpus of everything relative to the USS New Jersey's safe and secure passage.

Up a steep, 45 Degree set of seventeen steel steps, which should always be negotiated deliberately and carefully, especially with hot coffee in one hand and notebooks in the other, one rises into the control center of information from all conceivable sources.

Included are various radios, 360 degrees of paneled, wrap-around windows, fax and email machines, telephones, radar screens, rudder and propeller monitors, engine gauges, tow wire winch signals, redundant and state-of-the-art navigation electronics and communications systems, a small library of everything nautical, navigational and necessary to prudent sailing, and one chart table.

It's this chart table where the Captain reports each day at 8:00 a.m., actually 7:45, but officially 8, morning and evening.  Here he works out each 12-hour position report, the genesis of our daily reports.  Here he applies real world data, such as weather, course, sea conditions, towing performance and numerous other factors to the current chart before him.

Beneath the table's spotless slab of glass is a chart titled the "North Pacific Ocean."  It's a small scale chart, meaning it reveals a great sweep of earth's surface, but little specific detail.  Large scale charts are the opposite, revealing great detail about small areas of focus.  This chart shows the North American West coast, from Alaska and the Aleutian Islands to San Diego and outward to all the Hawaiian Islands.

This chart table is the Captain's navigational altar.   He keeps it entirely free of anything unrelated to the Sea Victory's and New Jersey's welfare. If an object is placed upon this table that does not relate to this, it won't be there for long.

During the Captain's 15,000 mile towing voyage with the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany earlier this year, he spent some of that San Francisco to Cape Horn to Texas time plotting each course line for the USS New Jersey tow.

Every course reference in these daily reports - that we have the benefit of reading - represents the academically precise work of Captain Ogaard's course planning for the New Jersey's 6,370 mile homecoming voyage.  Every inch of the voyage has behind it the Captain's knowledge from 40 years of seamanship, decades of towing experience, and a lifetime of inherited maritime values and standards.

This evening, the present working chart, number 28004, above the glass-topped North Pacific Ocean reference, is a smaller scale chart (1:1,300,000) published by the Defense Mapping Agency Hydrological/ Topographic Center in Fairfax, Virginia.

It's a fascinating overview of USS New Jersey's present theater of passage.  On its Northeast corner is the Great Bahama Bank and Andros Island in the Bahamas, with a reference to the "Tongue of the Ocean." On its southwest corner is Guatemala and Belize.  Yucatan, Mexico is on the middle left, or West, of the chart, with Southern Jamaica and the Nicaraguan Rise to the Southeast.   The vast Yucatan Basin is in the middle of the chart, to which New Jersey approaches. Western Cuba is to the North.

Captain Ogaard has calculated the entire course of the trip from Sea Victory's Pier 17 departure from Seattle, to New Jersey's berthing at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  It encompasses 76 charts which at some point during this voyage will lie upon his chart table for everyone to survey. Today's chart is Ogaard's 51st of the trip.

He has also created a computer database for each trackline of this journey, measuring latitude, longitude and distance between his selected waypoints for every mile of the 6,370 trip.  And the Captain's affinity for this precise work is exactly what leads to his expertise.

For the son of Norwegians, almost doesn't count.   Ogaard's calculations are not only to the hundredth, but the thousandth.   Anything less invites navigational discomfort, and he won't stand for it.

Ogaard's a captain's Captain.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


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