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Going by the Window

Too many cars on the water.

Floating parking lot full of new cars?

For the last few weeks, I’ve noticed up to the north a couple of RO-RO ships sitting in the Annapolis Anchorage (a deep water anchorage where ships often wait for room on the Baltimore dock to free up before heading to port). I can rarely make out ships up there as they don’t stay that long and due to the Earth’s curve the low lying bulk carriers are usually pretty hard to see.

But roll on roll off (ro-ro) car ships are big bulky looking vessels that catch the sun pretty well and really stand out. I’ve noticed a couple of ro-ro’s up in Annapolis for going on two weeks now, which seems a bit odd. Until I read this story about the backup facing auto importers and exporters in the US, Europe and Japan.

In Baltimore, the MPA moved inventories of Hyundai cars to airport parking lots to make room for cars still on the high seas. The port agency bought about 15 acres of land across from the Dundalk Terminal for overflow space for cars about six weeks ago, but has not yet had to use it. “That’s because the Korean manufacturers, who had never shut their plants down, have cut back production by 30 percent,” the MPA’s White said.

One really wonders if that’s what I’m seeing–a ship full of cars with no place to dock as no one is buying. Or maybe they don’t have the business to export for the GM’s backed up at the plants in Baltimore (apparently there are something like 57,000 new cars sitting around collecting dust in Maryland).

Neighbor’s House on Fire

I’m still coughing.
Was putting the kids to sleep and he was just about down when the wife screamed for me. I ran out of bed and looked out the window but all I could see in the front yard was thick grey smoke, so thick it activated the motion detector lights. She said the neighbor’s house was on fire and I could just hear the first fire truck siren approaching.
I threw on my shoes and saw that the neighbors was pretty heavily involved with flames coming out of one side of the house. I started screaming for her and jumped her fence to run up to her door, but then my other neighbor started yelling ‘we got her over here!’. Guess I didn’t have to do my Rambo routine on her front door.
I then looked down the road and saw the fire truck was stuck in the main parking lot, unsure which dirt road to follow. I took off at a full sprint to get their attention, and then waved them back to the house on fire (again running). I must have sucked down a ton of smoke because I’m still coughing nearly an hour later.
The house was an old 40s beach shack with numerous ‘less than code’ updates. They had to saw through the roof to pour water down into the fire, and I’m not sure how much damage was caused.
The fire department went to three or four alarms. The first and second due pumpers from all 4 stations within 10 miles (North Beach, Dunkirk, Huntingtown, Prince Frederick) along with the two Towers, at least two rescue squads and three tankers that I could see. The first due engine, tower, and rescue squad were on our road, but on the main road I counted 8 other engines and other vehicles. God forbid their was another fire in the Northern part of the county.
Anyway, she’s ok, if a bit shocked. The Red Cross was here in 20 minutes and are taking her away for the night. I can still here the engine revving up the pumps every now and then as they battle extensions (this was a really old house).
In the background of this photo you can see some of the trucks lined up on the main road.
I’m going to try to clean out my lungs.

Fire on Tilghman Island???

Looking out over the Bay tonight was quite pretty as we had some clear skies and a rather large moon rising. But then I noticed this really bright light about 9:00 PM that wasn’t usually there (the other side of the Bay is rather desolate–I can often count the number of lights I see pretty easily)

This was a bit different. It blazed brightly and flickered a bit, kind of like a fire. The odd thing was it was about 40 feet up in the air, and I also saw another flickering light down below (fire truck?).

Unfortunately distortion over the water prevents me from seeing clearly just what is going on over there. The Naval Research Lab has a large tower over there for radar research. I hope that’s not what I saw on fire (maybe they were doing laser tests or something).

UPDATE: Went and got the bigger binoculars out of the basement and…still no idea. It might not be a fire but some really powerful light, being distorted in shape and intensity due to the water vapor over the Bay tonight. It’s still going on after 40 minutes and that tower really doesn’t have the much fuel (it’s not that big). Guess I’ll just have to wait and see…

We’ll check the Eastern Shore papers tomorrow and see what’s what.

The USNS Mendonca ro-ro past the window.

Ro ro past the window where will you go?

Ro ro past the window where will you go?

Military Sealift Command has a number of ships up in Baltimore that you can see anytime you drive through the city. But it’s actually quite rare to see them afloat, unless you are off the coast of Iraq or some other trouble spot.

Today the USNS Mendonca, a ro-ro ship past the window with the AIS Ship plotter listing its final destination as ‘To Sea’. Maybe they sense an Obama victory and are getting the ships in place to bring back the tanks?

USNS Mendonca is one of Military Sealift Command’s nineteen Large, Medium-Speed Roll-on/Roll-off Ships and is part of the 21 ships in the Sealift Program Office.

• Length: 950 feet
• Beam: 106 feet
• Draft: 34 feet
• Displacement: 62,069 long tons
• Speed: 24.0 knots
• Civilian: 30 contract mariners
• Government-Owned/ Chartered:

More ships past the window.

Couple interesting vessels today. The first was a destroyer leaving Annapolis and making its way back toward Norfolk. Turns out it was the USS Cole, famous from the attack in Yemen a few years back. It was in Annapolis for the homecoming game (which Navy lost miserably to Pitt).

The second is the Gazela Primerio, a barquentine heading toward Baltimore for the annual clipper race which will be in a few days.

After the Cole was attacked it was ferried back to the US for repairs.

After the Cole was attacked it was ferried back to the US for repairs.

M/V Skodsborg going past the window

Haven’t posted any ship updates in awhile. We had a destroyer go by yesterday on the way to Annapolis. This little ship is passing the house right now.

With a name like this you'd think it was a table at Ikea

M/V Skodsborg:


Cars/any rolling equipment
Heavy lifts up to 120 tons
Yachts/sailing boats
Project cargo
Break bulk cargo

Vessels’ special features

Stern ramp, capacity 200 tons
Elevator serving all 3 decks
Heavy lift derrick 120 tons
Car decks serving upto 140 cars
Large hatch openings(26.7*8m)
Stabilisers minimising cargo damage
Forklifts on board, up to 25 tons
The vessels are fully self-sustained by own equipment for loading/discharging irrespective of port facilities.

Hanna Update: 1045am

  • Just had our first power spike. Came back quickly but I suspect some grids are down nearby.
  • Winds and Rain are now steady, but occasionally ’sheeting’ and gusting quite a bit stronger.
  • Waves have not crashed over the seawall just yet, but heavy rain amounts means most of the area down there is underwater (including the sandbox). With an additional 4-6 inches of rain anticipated I hope it doesn’t get too supersaturated and we have another landslide like situation.
  • Woke this morning to see ‘Red Skies at Morning, Sailors take Warning’. It was really really red, but I was too tired to get to my camera.

Preparing for Hanna

Picked up all the junk in my yard
Tied my canoe up about 15 feet above sea level
Filled coolers and pots with drinking water.
Filled trash can, buckets and bathtub with water for toilets (joy of a well pump w/ no power)
Filled generator with gas
Bought more gas
Bought milk, bread, water, soda, chips, and eggs.
Mowed the lawn and put down new seed (free rain)

Here are some pics on the Bay and of my water factory.

Stealth boat comes into dock

The Stealth Boat I saw earlier today called it a day after doing a series of profiles for the Navy lab and headed back to the Navy pier in town today. It eventually came to rest next to a 74 foot landing craft so I think my original guess of 150 was a bit high.

As you can see, it has a pretty low profile. It is made of metal (thunk sound when they dropped something on it) and is a catamaran as far as I could tell. It’s still out there tonight, but hidden by the LCM so most people don’t notice it.

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