Journal Entry  -  November 4, 1999  -  Day 54

Thursday Morning Position Report
11:00 a.m., Eastern Standard Time

26 Degrees, 31 Minutes North


78 Degrees, 52 Minutes West

Days Run:

77.8 Nautical Miles to transfer point at Freeport, Grand Bahamas Island, from the Miami Harbor Sea Buoy.


11.97 Knots (Average)

Hours / Days Since Leaving Miami:  6.5 Hours
Distance To Go This Leg:  826 Nautical Miles from the Freeport, Grand Bahamas Island transfer point to the Cape Henlopen Sea Buoy.
Present Course:  328 Degrees as of 2:00 p.m.
Sea Floor:  Ocean depths beneath the USS New Jersey at this point are 250 Fathoms or 1,500 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 tow has now been resumed by the tug Sea Victory, after an impressive transfer from the tug Mariner at 10:39 a.m. this morning, 2.7 Miles off the sandy beaches of Grand Bahamas Island, nearly due East of West Palm Beach, Florida in the Atlantic.

Fish Catch:  All is well aboard the Sea Victory when the fishing lines go out again.  Such was the case this morning after the New Jersey transfer. The crew hasn't pulled one in since October 25, which seems as far back as Baja California, but, of course, wasn't.

Ogaard's Sea Victory Wins Back "The Big J"

It was only four days ago that the Sea Victory and her disheartened Captain and crew had to cut loose the U.S. Navy's most decorated Battleship in waters off-shore of Southern Cuba, but one might have thought it was four years ago.

For Captain Kaare L. Ogaard, Jr., whose professional standards serve as a model to less experienced seamen, as well as anyone around him, having to transfer the USS New Jersey to any third party, friend or foe, tore at his core.   He wouldn't reveal it, of course, but it was there. Nothing mattered more to him at the instant of release than to get her back.  And fast.

His supervision of the tug's single-engine journey to Miami for engine repairs, his oversight of the intricate, laborious and skillful mechanical effort, his insistent pressing forward at each turn and with each breath to complete the work and return to the ship, every expression said let's get her back.

When it came time to depart Miami to rendezvous with the tug Mariner and the New Jersey out in the Atlantic, he slipped the Sea Victory away from the dock with the same assurance his vessel's name carries. Confident and eager, his midnight departure along the watery corridor of Miami's multi-million dollar apartments couldn't proceed quickly enough.

Soon he was in deep water, and he let the newly tuned engines go.  Off she went, the Sea Victory bound now for a meeting place where he would recapture his decorated vessel and take her home.  It couldn't come soon enough, and it wouldn't be real until it happened.

This morning, just after the sun broke the horizon off the Bahamas in the East, there she was, the puffing little tugboat Mariner with the giant Battleship New Jersey.  Ogaard had come here to reclaim his tow.

By 7:00 a.m., he was in contact with Captain Ray Wilson of the Mariner. They discussed where to execute the transfer, and it was decided to proceed a few miles more Northward to seek the lee side of the Grand Bahama Island, where the 20 Knot wind and five Foot sea would be less direct and challenging to the three vessels engaged in this open-ocean transfer.

Three hours later, after the Mariner found her place, brought in much of New Jersey's tow line, and made ready the transfer to the Sea Victory, Ogaard's vessel pulled alongside the Mariner's port side, stern to stern.

Each vessel's crew worked their respective decks, preparing lines, tow wire, and stoppers to secure the New Jersey's heavy gear while they prepared it for a safe release into the water and for the journey to the Delaware River and Philadelphia.

As the Sea Victory and the Mariner rode the sea together and transferred the Battleship's connections, Ogaard waited patiently for the lengthy process to unfold on the other tug.  Finally, the ship's gear transferred to his tug, and the second it occurred, one could almost feel the jubilation. He turned to his Captain colleague on the Mariner and waved a grateful thanks.

All the heartache at losing an engine had evaporated.   It wouldn't be forgotten, but this morning it didn't matter.  All the pain of waiting for the repairs had vanished.  The young mechanics from Louisiana and their counterpart engineers from Crowley and other outfits worked small miracles in very short order to repair the Sea Victory's 3,600 horsepower engine.  Their work was praised by all.

But this morning, none of that mattered.  Ogaard and his crew had recaptured the USS New Jersey and were once again taking her home.

It was a quiet victory for the Captain today, but everyone who looked into his eyes saw the joy of it as clearly as this morning's sun.   He's now bound for the Delaware, and he's honored to be bringing her home again.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


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