Today we did a loop drive down to the end of the cape, across on the ferry to Southport, up to Wilmington and the battleship. Then we went to the other side of the river to the Wilmington water front Riverwalk to have a late lunch and then home.
The ferry from Fort Fisher to Southport takes about 1/2 hour and costs a whole $5.
It runs every 45 minutes. The 10 o’clock one was almost full.
We got out and stood at the front the whole time.
At the very end of the cape is Bald Head Lighthouse. Normally we try and visit every close one but you have to take a paid boat ride to get there and other people have said it is not that pretty.
The pelicans seems to follow us. I saw a bunch of them do their crash dive into the water but I was never fast enough with the camera.
The drive up from the ferry to Wilmington was not very scenic.
The World War II battleship North Carolina is anchored on the Cape Fear River just across from downtown Wilmington. We paid our admission ($12 and $10) and headed up the gangplank.
You can pay extra for guided tours but almost everyone does the self guided tour. There are arrows and info boards telling you about all the stops and where to go next.
We started on the deck at the back. Those 16 inch guns sure are massive. There is one turret at the rear and two at the front.
They launch and retrieve the sea plane via the crane in the background.
One great thing was that a lot of the knobs and dials actually still did something. You could rotate and aim this gun.
Notice the kid in the seat at the anti aircraft gun. You could spin a wheel to raise and lower them.
The ship is bristling with guns everywhere. There were 10 of these 5 inch gun turrets. You could go inside one of them.
I wonder how they didn’t go deaf when they were firing.
It blew me away just how big the 16 inch gun turrets were.
You could climb inside them.
It was very cramped. Switches and dials everywhere.
Looking down on the breach.
Looking back from the bow.
Apparently there are a couple of alligators that are always swimming around the ship.
You could go above the main deck and climb up some of the levels of this tower.
In the picture above you can see the protective flaps over the ports holes on the bridge.
Another great place where turning a knob or pulling a level usually did something like changing a dial or readout.
The view forward.
You were also allowed almost everywhere below decks. Most of it was very cramped. I expected the engine room to be massive but it was so filled with machinery that there was very little room to move around. Pictures just didn’t work in those small places.
You forgot that these things are really floating cities. Kitchens, stores, laundry, tailor, shoe repair, hospital, etc.
These are the targeting “computers” for the 16 inch guns. More walls of dials and switches.
You could go into the below deck parts of the 16 inch gun turrets where they loaded the powder and the shells.
The powder was stored in these air tight containers.
Once we finished the tour and were back up on deck the smell of oil was getting to us.
It took us about 2 1/2 hours to walk through. I thought is was very interesting and was amazed at how much of the ship you actually got to see,
We headed over to the waterfront area of Wilmington to grab some lunch.
Here is a view of the ship from across the river.
There is a boardwalk along the water with a selection of restaurants.
Jennie thought this one was interesting, where some of the tables got their own balcony.
We couldn’t find anything on the menu that thrilled us but we eventually found a place. After lunch we walked the rest of the boardwalk but it is only about 1 mile long. However, after all the walking and climbing on the ship, we were done for the day.