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Naval Communications History in Annapolis – an Anniversary

It was in September 1918, 100 years ago this month, when the U.S. Navy began transmitting communications from a facility on the shores of the Severn River in Annapolis.

The Navy purchased the piece of the land in 1909 for use first as a dairy farm. From 1911 to 1917 the Navy began using part of the property as an air station

In 1918 though, Greenbury Point began it’s most important role – one that it would have for many years.

According to the U.S. Naval Academy website, “the facility, which at its height boasted 19 radio towers and both High Frequency and Very Low Frequency transmitters, served as both a communications link between the U.S. and Europe, and between the Navy and the Atlantic Fleet, including the submarine fleet. Between 1958 and 1959, the facility became home to one of the east coast transmitters for the Navy’s Communication Moon Relay project, which successfully used the Moon as a telecommunications satellite to relay radio signals to Hawaii. Naval Radio Transmitting Facility Annapolis closed in 1996 on the recommendation of the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. In 1999, 16 of the 19 radio towers were demolished, with the final three being retained for historic purposes and as a navigational landmark on the Chesapeake Bay.”

For those of us that were around Annapolis when it was announced the towers would be demolished, there was a big uproar. BIG.  These were landmarks – literally.  Located at the confluence of the Severn and Chesapeake, the towers provided by day or night, in a time before GPS, a visual landmark to navigate by.  I remember the uproar – similar to the uproar that happened when GPS replaced LORAN.  Here’s an article from The Washington Post that explains what happened with the tower truce (take note of the very last quote/sentence –  https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1999/04/15/preserving-radio-towers/44d2af6e-dae8-44a0-95df-43f3713d9e71/?utm_term=.7a33daab73cc

 

For more history on Greenbury Point, here’s a great video (it shows the demolition)-

And here’s an outstanding website with some great photos of Greenbury Point – it’s my go-to for Navy communications history, which by the way, I’m part of. Yes, I was in the Navy and worked in communications  –http://www.navy-radio.com/commsta/anna.htm

The three towers remaining today as seen from downtown Annapolis –

What are your memories of Greenbury Point? Let me know in comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Yes, It Was Sea Shepherd in Annapolis – Those Two Cutters Belong to Them

Sea Shepherd has officially claimed ownership of those two, former Coast Guard vessels that were docked in Annapolis over the winter.

While the Sea Shepherd flags were seen flying from the masts of the vessels, the organization did not confirm they owned them until this month.

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Sea Shepherd is non-profit devoted to the protection and conservation of marine life.  They’re based in San Juan Island, Washington.

In the photo at the very top, the boat on the left is the former USCGC Block Island, which had quite a distinguished career and was homeported near Jacksonville, Fl.  Interestingly enough, this boat is no stranger to protection of marine life (see article – http://www.jdnews.com/news/local/cutter-block-island-retires-1.291766).  It sold this past December for a bid of $175,300, according to the GSA auction website.  The purchaser was not confirmed on the site. At the time of sale, the boat was located in Baltimore.

On right, is the former USCGC Pea Island.  According to the GSA auction website, it sold in December for a bid of $275,800 and was also in Baltimore.  The cutter was homeported in Key West, Fl.

According to a release issued by Sea Shepherd, the two ships are now renamed the Jules Verne and the Farley Mowat and are berthed in Key West, Florida.

“These two ships, the Farley Mowat and the Jules Verne, give Sea Shepherd USA a combination of speed and long-range capabilities,” said Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson. “We have already offered the Jules Verne to assist the rangers at Cocos Island National Park Marine Reserve with anti-poaching interventions, 300 miles off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and the Farley Mowat has been offered to patrol the Sea of Cortez in partnership with the government of Mexico to protect the endangered vaquita.”

For more information about Sea Shepherd, visit http://www.seashepherd.org.

 




Add These to Your Eastern Shore / Maryland To-Do List

You know those moments when you were planning on doing one thing, but then …

There we were, husband, kid and I, driving down the road, heading to St. Michaels when we passed the sign for the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry.  I said, “we haven’t done that for a while.” Husband responded with, “turn around – let’s do it.”

A beautiful drive led us to the ferry dock in Bellevue.  A sign stated the ferry leaves every 20 minutes and since we didn’t see it, we parked and walked around the small marina, home to mostly workboats. There was also an adjacent beach, which would be a great place for young kids to play.

The ferry service began operating in 1683.  Yes, 1683.  Do you know of any privately-owned business which started in 1683 that’s still around today?  For this reason, the Oxford-Bellevue ferry is thought to be the oldest operating, privately-owned ferry service in this country.  The Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry in Connecticut started service in 1655, making it the oldest ferry service in the U.S. in continuous operation – it is run by the state of Connecticut.

20 minutes after we arrived, we saw the ferry heading towards us.  It took only a few minutes for the other cars to disembark and for mine to load.  Yes, for our crossing – we were the only ones on it.  The crossing over the Tred Avon River takes 10 minutes.  $12 includes the car and the driver and it’s $1 for each additional person.  Do yourself a favor and take a ride on the ferry sometime, especially if you’ve never done it before – it’s part of Maryland’s history.

One other tip for you and also in this same area of the Eastern Shore – when I was asked what I wanted to do on Mother’s Day, or more specifically where I wanted to eat, I said Scossa.

In my humble opinion,  I’d say it’s one of Maryland’s best restaurants – definitely in my top three.  The people of Talbot County are probably going to be upset with me for letting this secret out of the hat, but so be it.

Located in downtown Easton, just across from the courthouse, Scossa offers indoor and outside seating – we always sit outside.

What makes Scossa so good is Giancarlo Tondin, who has a pretty remarkable history in the restaurant world that goes well beyond Maryland.  Read about that here –  http://www.scossarestaurant.com/story/

That was my Mother’s Day and thank you to my family for a great day.  I hope yours was wonderful too.

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If you’re going to have a sidecar, you have to have a sidekick.

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Those Sea Shepherd Boats in Annapolis

You can’t help but notice the two cutters in Annapolis – in a town filled with mostly recreational boats, they look like fish out of water.  Add to that, the Sea Shepherd flags flying off of both masts and you have the perfect scenario for maritime mystery on Spa Creek.

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What the heck are they doing here?  Sea Shepherd is a Washington-based (as in the state) non-profit organization devoted to protecting marine life – such as dolphins, whales, sharks, seals, etc., none of which are usually in Spa Creek and to the best of my knowledge, we don’t have a need for intervention or blockades of our fisheries.

While I can’t tell you why Sea Shepherd has docked these two vessels in Annapolis (I’ve asked and will update if I get a reply), I can tell you both boats are former U.S. Coast Guard cutters, both are 110-feet, commissioned in 1991 and both recently were sold in Baltimore though GSA Auction.

In the photo at the very top, the boat on the left is the former USCGC Block Island, which had quite a distinguished career and was homeported near Jacksonville, Fl.  Interestingly enough, this boat is no stranger to protection of marine life (see article – http://www.jdnews.com/news/local/cutter-block-island-retires-1.291766).  It sold this past December for a bid of $175,300, according to the GSA auction website.  The purchaser was not confirmed on the site.  At the time of sale, the boat was located in Baltimore.

On right, is the former USCGC Pea Island.  According to the GSA auction website, it sold in December for a bid of $275,800 and was also in Baltimore.  Again, the purchaser was not confirmed on the site.  The cutter was homeported in Key West, Fl.

For more information about Sea Shepherd visit their website at http://www.seashepherd.org

 

 

 

 




A Fine November Morning Indeed

A Very Special Morning As a Mother, Veteran and Photojournalist

As a veteran, I was honored when I was asked if I’d like to photograph members of the U.S. Coast Guard placing flags on the graves of their fellow shipmates at Arlington National Cemetery as part of the Flags Across America program.

As a mother and photojournalist, it went far beyond just my lens. I asked if it would be okay if I had my daughter and her friend photograph what would be a very moving morning.

You see, my daughter is about to turn 13 this week and for anyone that has a similar species, you know how tough this age is – for them and us.  Getting my daughter to not just focus on something outside of her ‘normal’ tween/teen scope of sight, but to see it through the lens and remember it through the images – that, to me, is learning at its best and this, while paying tribute to our veterans at the same time.

In attendance at the flag placing were kids from local youth organizations, the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, among others. After meeting the Commandant – Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, the girls asked me about him and the mission of the USCG.  They were clearly awed.  We talked about the Deepwater Horizon spill, about saving lives and Coast Guard missions in some of the roughest conditions known to humankind.  On the way out, they asked about the size Arlington National Cemetery and the number of those interred.  It was an absolutely beautiful, in-so-many-ways, November morning.

What follows are some of the stunning photos taken by my daughter, Rylan Cole and her friend, Rosie Baganz.  They’re both 12-years old.  Mine can be seen here –http://annapoliscreative.smugmug.com/Flags-Across-America-with-the-/

Thank you to the U.S. Coast Guard for allowing us this tremendous honor.  To Rylan and Rosie – stellar work!

Photo by Rylan Cole.
Photo by Rylan Cole.

Photo by Rosie Baganz

 

Stephen W. Cantrell, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard. Photo by Rylan Cole.
Stephen W. Cantrell, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard. Photo by Rylan Cole.

 

Photo by Rosie Baganz.
Photo by Rosie Baganz.

 

Photo by Rylan Cole.
Photo by Rylan Cole.

 

Photo by Rosie Baganz.
Photo by Rosie Baganz.

 

USCG Cadet. Photo by Rylan Cole.
USCG Cadet. Photo by Rylan Cole.

 

Photo by Rosie Baganz.
Photo by Rosie Baganz.

 

Photo by Rylan Cole.
Photo by Rylan Cole.

 

Photo by Rosie Baganz.
Photo by Rosie Baganz.

 

Photo by Rylan Cole.
Photo by Rylan Cole.

 

Photo by Rosie Baganz.
Photo by Rosie Baganz.

 

Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. Photo by Rylan Cole.
Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. Photo by Rylan Cole.

 

Photo by Rosie Baganz.
Photo by Rosie Baganz.

 

United States Coast Guard Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Rylan Cole.
United States Coast Guard Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Rylan Cole.

 

Photo by Rosie Baganz.
Photo by Rosie Baganz.