I have spent the day unpacking and resting up. No new cards yet, but I've posted some photos we took on the trip on my other blog Picture This, At Last of the aftermath of ice storms that went through our area last month.
Tonight I am posting some photos of the reason for our trip to Virginia ... to bid safe voyage to my son and the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower and her strike group as they set out for the Middle East. These photos were taken early Saturday morning, Feb 21, as she left the Norfolk Naval Base through the Chesapeake Bay. Mom and I perched ourselves on the beach and watched for any signs of movement to the west.....
Without binoculars it was nearly impossible to see the ship cruising past the Hampton Roads Bridge, but with my 400mm zoom I was able to spot her. In this shot she is about six miles away.
Eventually she was easier to see as she cleared the local skyline, passed the Thimble Shoal Light, and entered the vast expanse of the Chesapeake Bay. This photo was also taken with the 400mm zoom and the ship was about 5 miles away from us.
Here one of the Coast Guard cutters is going out to escort "Ike" to the Atlantic waters. The ships are always escorted by the CG. The helicopter circling above is part of a 24-hour watch through the entire cruise. At this point the ship is about 4 miles away and the lens is still the 400mm.
I like this photo. The sea gull seems to be watching the ship set sail, also. We had been watching the ship for about 30 minutes at this point and were turned more to the east. The sun was beginning to cast a glare, blending ship and water into the haze.
For comparison, this photo was taken at 200mm zoom. At about 6 miles from where we were standing, the ship looked deceptively small. To the right the pier off South Thimble Island is beginning to appear. It is at this point that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge becomes a tunnel and comes back up at the point to the left of the ship.
The ship carrying my son and more than 5,000 other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers passed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and headed for the open Atlantic Ocean. God speed! Go Navy!
Last August I had the very special privilege of seeing this beach from the flight deck of this very ship when I attended the Eisenhower's Friends and Family Day Cruise. That made this vantage point all the more amazing. (Photos of that trip are also on Picture This, At Last.)
It is always hard to watch my son leave, especially when I know I won't see him for several months. But he is doing a job I cannot begin to comprehend and serving our country with a dedication I do completely understand.
We had a great week before he left and there will be more photos on both blogs this week.
Thanks for stopping by!