Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 18, 2009 - Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland

Last summer, I was sidetracked on my way to Lewes, Delaware, to give a talk on Coast Guard history. Southwest Airlines got me from Providence, Rhode Island, to Baltimore four hours later than they promised, costing me a chance at free lodging, and forcing me into a spur-of-the-moment $150 hotel room. When the time came to rate the trip on their online survey, I let them have it. They surprised me by sending me a $150 voucher for a future flight. I used that voucher today.

I multi-tasked on the trip today. I specifically wanted to visit the Roger B. Taney, a Coast Guard cutter that's now a museum ship in the Inner Harbor, part of the Baltimore Maritime Museum. It's got a pretty significant badge to wear; it's the last ship afloat that survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I photographed it for two articles I'll write this weekend, for Ships Monthly and Wreck & Rescue. As a third objective, I visited the huge Barnes & Noble store in the old power plant on the waterfront to check out some books on the natural history of the area, planning a future trip for my day job. I'll be back in the region in September. Stay tuned for that.

But the trip was more than just business. My wife's brother Chris and his fiancee Ann live nearby, and met me at the airport. They joined me for the walk. We briskly took in the sights, the sumbarine Torsk, the Chesapeake Bay lightship, the USS Constellation, Fort McHenry, and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. The National Aquarium was full up until late afternoon, so we skipped that idea and went and had lunch.

At 2 p.m., I boarded a plane back to Providence, and by 5 was home in time for dinner with Michelle. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Time: 48 minutes.

New species: None.

Stranger hellos: 2 (172).

What else went on: magazine work; finished reading How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill; began reading Beneath the Surface by Michael Phelps.

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