Thursday, July 12, 2012

Under the Golden Gate

"Spying The Golden Gate"
18" X 24" Oil on Canvas

As the cutter Stratton prepared to enter the San Francisco bay the crew was busy preparing the dock lines for our arrival. To this they played Molly Hatchets "Flirtin' With Disaster" over the loudspeakers on the boat deck...a ritual of the crew when arriving in port it seems. I wasn't overly eager to tell anyone of them that song came out in 1979, the year I finished up my 3 years with the Army. It's an age thing, haha. One of the female crew members was peering over the side checking our distance to the Golden Gate bridge and I snapped a shot of her. I thought it would make a good painting portraying the combination of fog and breaking sunlight...and eager anticipation. It had been 6 months for the crew since leaving Mississippi, going through the ship trials and shakedown, cruising up the East Coast, back through the Panama canal and finally arriving here at Alameda. It was only 4 days for me and I'd be on the ship when most of them left when we arrived and leave the following morning at 0500.

The deployment was a great experience for me. I took plenty of reference photos and got to travel aboard ship with the Coast Guard on one of their newest $467 million dollar National Security Cutters. These Legend Class cutters can travel at 30+ knots and travel up to 12000 miles on a patrol. They have high tech communications, surveillance systems, improved small boat launching and retrieving, helicopter and drone handling systems...they are awesome and look it too.
  The crew of the cutter Morganthau taking a break from loading supplies to check out the Stratton as we arrived in Alameda 

When we docked at Coast Guard island in Alameda it was really very cool to see the cutter Morganthau side tied to the cutter Bertholf. The Morganthau is a Hamilton Class cutter which is what the Legend Class cutters are replacing. The Hamilton Class cutters have earned their place in the Coast Guards history but time moves on and newer ships come with much improvement. As much as it was a thrill to ride aboard the Stratton it was equally a thrill to see the Morganthau in person and up close.
The newer ships are much larger and have the ability to carry and launch up to 3 small boats from the stern through large opening doors. The small boats simply slide out and slide back in when docking with the Stratton.
 Going on deployment with the Coast Guard was truly a great ride and I appreciate the chance to have done it.

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