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Tuesday, January 17

Passenger's Log - Part 1

Sunday, January 16, 2005 A log of my experiences on the USS Lexington also known as The Blue Ghost.

After 3.50 hours of travel from Austin, we're nearing a tall bridge. To the right, just past the bridge, we can see a huge ship - the USS Lexington. It takes us a while to figure out which turns to take to actually get to the loading/unloading area.

We're gathered near the entrance ramp to the ship with several other Boy Scout and Cub Scout groups.

Our "drill master" had us line up along either side of him and instructed us on the Ship Rules:

Tie your shoes.
Keep your shirts tucked in.
Keep your hands out of your pockets.
(Hands might be needed to break a fall. Eight inches of steel can knock out teeth in a fall and he mentioned a kid in Houston who's now missing his.)
Strike the following words from your vocabulary: "yeah", "huh", and "what".
Address adults with "yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am, no ma'am".

Disobedience means being added to the list of uglies who would be providing 5 minutes of entertainment for the staff after the closing ceremony doing the "ugly dance".

No electronic devices except for cell phones. (See him about where it is safe to plug in cell phones).
(A humorous command to let him know before plugging chargers into room outlets as he and his ship mates hadn't seen a phone smoke in a year).

He also mentioned a bit about the upcoming events. Lunch, a gathering at 16.50, dinner, a movie, tours, and ghost stories.

A few of our group was late arriving, so he held off sending us in until everyone else had settled in. In the meantime, he chatted with us and kept us fairly entertained.

The beach looked inviting - the continuous crashing waves, the wind, the sand, and the sun. I regretted leaving my beach gear behind in Austin. I looked forward to at least splashing around at the edge with my children.

Eventually, we had to line up again and go through the indoctrination for the sake of the late arrivals.

We lined up again, ladies first, to walk up the long ramp to the ship. I noticed an eerie "whooooo" sound as we walked up. I guessed the pipe-like side rails and strong wind had something to do with it. It added an interesting melancholy atmosphere to the ship.

Waiting in the chow line below deck.

We stowed our gear in lockers and set up our sleeping bags in our bunks. I claimed a top one since I wasn't sure I'd be able to relax in the enclosed space of a middle or bottom bunk.

I was pleasantly surprised by the bathroom. It was reasonably clean and modern looking.

... to be continued

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