RMS Queen Mary

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Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
RMS Queen Mary at dock in Long Beach, CA, Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I recently had the opportunity to visit RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, which is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while now.

Queen Mary has had a pretty illustrious history, which I won’t go into in too much detail because you can read about it on her website, HERE.  She was built in Scotland for the Cunard Line and had her maiden voyage in 1936.  She quickly became a favorite for the rich and famous who wanted to travel luxuriously.  During WWII she became a troopship and was nicknamed the “Grey Ghost” due to her stealth and grey paint.  If I heard correctly on one of my tours, at one point she carried as many as 16,000 troops on one voyage, which is still a record to this day.  I know that she is a large boat, but that seems like way too many people.  Anyways, in 1967 she retired and docked in Long Beach, where she remains to this day.   Read more

Sailing Into History

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The USCG Eagle, used for training at the Coast Guard Academy. From The Mariners' Museum Collection.

Hello again readers, and welcome back to the library’s blog. As I write this post, OpSail 2012 is drawing to a close in Norfolk, Virginia. This past weekend was a celebration of the maritime heritage and culture that is shared by so many nations of the world. The United States had proud representatives in the form of naval vessels like the USCG Eagle, but so too did the United Kingdom, Canada, Indonesia, and many others. Ships like Germany’s FGS Hessen opened their decks to curious guests, while their crews took turns answering questions and exploring the other vessels for themselves.

And yet, it was not just maritime heritage that we celebrated – it was also a commemoration of the War of 1812, whose bicentennial will soon be upon us. This occasion made OpSail 2012 a patriotic celebration as well as an international one, as military re-enactors and historic wooden ships like the Godspeed – a replica of one of the vessels that carried the Jamestown settlers to Virginia –  joined modern military vessels in saluting the War of 1812.   Read more