We arrived at the Naval Base before 5:00 a.m. It was still very dark and a bit chilly. The skies were foggy and we weren't sure what the day would bring: rain, shine or somewhere in between.
Approaching an aircraft carrier in the misty dark is surreal. To stand between two carriers at the same time is more than the eye can take in. Moored next to the "Ike" is the Theodore Roosevelt.
The starboard elevators were lowered for boarding into the hangar bay, which is actually four levels below the flight deck. Most of the visitors would board at these two "brows" (gangplanks). One other entrance was available and that was the officers' brow onto the quarter deck, which is like the "lobby", then opens onto the hangar bay. Scott is a Lt. Commander so we were able to board by way of the officers' brow. :-)
We heard that the number of Navy personnel and visitors on board was about 7,900. The ship carries a population of over 5,000 when deployed.
Once on board we had breakfast and began wandering around the hangar bay then up to the flight deck. There were dozens of activities in the hangar bay as well as self-guided tour routes.
This was good because there was quite a bit of time allowed for boarding and for getting out to sea for the air show.
The pictures I am putting in tonight are just highlights of the early morning hours. When I get home I will have more time to sort and title and put many of them on Flickr. I might be able to do another post tomorrow.
Looking north, this is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which is 19 miles long. In two places the highway goes under the bay. This is one of those places. At this point we are crossing over the tunnel. Generally considered now to be in the Atlantic Ocean, the ship is not yet ready to go full speed. Future photos will show why.
Since there is a lot of water in these photos, I think they qualify for the Thematic Photographic Theme this week which is "watery". ;-)