So, I know its been a while. Ive spent 6 of the last 7 weeks underway, wanting to throw myself over the side most of the time, but at sea nonetheless. So now you get the update. Youll laugh, youll cry, youll wonder who this crazy woman is... Whatever, here it is.
It started out on February 6th. We left Norfolk, headed south for our Combat Systems Ship Qualification Testing. Got to fire my gun lots, which was cool. Too cool- we killed all of our targets way early and now have a ton of extra ammo. But that just means we get to shoot more. Thats OK.
After the first week of mostly gun stuff, we pulled into sunny (notice I dont say warm) Cape Canaveral, FL. They told us it was the coldest it had been there in ages. Luckily none of us had brought anything warm to wear, so we were all frozen. I got a rental car and a hotel room solely because I wanted to get a good nights sleep and not rely on anyone else. It was totally worth it- I slept 12 hours, even missing calls from the guys wanting me to meet them at the strip clubs. The next day I got bored, so I drove to Orlando hoping to meet up with an old friend who was supposed to call me back, but no such luck, so I drove back. I had duty the last day, and the 2-7 the first night out. Gotta love it. The talk of the ship the next day was how Ordo couldnt stay awake. Oops...
There was something about a chair on a fort. I wrote it down, but I have no idea what thats about.
Then we headed even further south, for a week of looking at the Bahamas. Yes, you heard me. We sat in between Andros Island, which is nothing but a Navy base, and New Providence Island, home to Nassau. At night we could see the lights, and the cruise ships came in and out daily. They wouldnt let us pull in, not even for gas. It was 80 outside as we were getting reports of snow from home.
Speaking of gas, the gas facilities at Cape Canaveral kind of sucked, so we left with nowhere near the amount of gas we needed. Gas? Who needs it! We were constantly tracking how much gas we had, how much we had used, and even though we were right there next to Nassau, we had to go all the way up to Mayport to get our gas, cutting 2 or 3 events we were supposed to do down there. All this time, we have no internet, and Im going absolutely nuts. Luckily, we had email most of the time, so that helped.
Once we gassed up we headed back out to play with the Army, and found out that a dead whale had popped up in the area where we working. Dead whales = bad juju, but they eventually cleared us of any responsibility for killing the whale.
A few days later we pulled into Mayport again, where it also wasnt as warm as advertised but definitely warmer than Cape Canaveral. It was Mardi Gras, so myself and three of the guys from work went out and had a few. But nothing made me happier than driving past a Whataburger in Jacksonville and being able to get a BOB and a taquito on the way back from the bars :) I again got myself a hotel room, this time at the Navy Lodge, where I spent most of the next day watching movies in bed before I met up with Krista the Coastie for dinner and drinks.
We got back underway and started heading towards home, with a week of events remaining. The highlight- 4 section watch on the bridge- woo hoo! For the last 4 weeks had been standing 5 hours on 10 off, and this took us to 5 on 15 off, which was amazing. I was feeling 10 times better until I went into my bank account and realized that someone had gotten ahold of my debit card number and had been buying gas all over Miami. Hey, thanks a ton assholes... luckily I caught it, was able to cancel my card, and my bank has refunded me all the money.
We came in for a weekend, and Monday we were right back out for our Missile Firings. Last week we fired 4 missiles, and it was pretty damn cool. They send out these unmanned drones that we shoot at, and they have helos that are supposed to recover them. Well, the first day the seas were high enough that noone could find the drone, until about 6 hours later when someone randomly spotted it. It was decided that our small boat would go out and retrieve the drone. Now, who's the only qualified small boat officer on board the mighty warship Bainbridge? Thats right, yours truly. So off we go in the boat, in 8 foot seas, to recover this 1000 lb drone. An hour and a half and someone's Valentine's Day balloon later, we were back on the ship. Pictures to follow.....
So thats the skinny of it. Long, I know, but it could have been longer. Want to know more? Just ask... Ill fill you in....