Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Baltimore's Star Spangled Spectacular

Today we have a guest post from Jennifer Bergantz, a very good friend of mine who lives in Baltimore. She wanted to share the Star Spangled Spectacular with you and I bumped her straight to the front of the queue when I saw the photos! ~Beth One of the highlights on living in a city with a harbor is watching the ships that visit.  So, when the city of Baltimore planned a huge celebration to mark the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, I was all about seeing the ships that were visiting for this event!  Since I had a baby with me (and hence, a diaper bag), I could not go on any of the ships due to the security measures of the event, but I had a great experience walking the Inner Harbor and piers and photographing the magnificent ships.  Sadly, I was unable to visit the military ships from other countries (Germany, Poland, Turkey, and the UK) because they were in a secure shuttle location that was diaper-bag free.
For the Star Spangled Spectacular, among a huge amount of other things (concerts, Presidential visits, air shows, and more), Baltimore’s plan was to get tall ships from all over the world into the Harbor. Plenty of other types of ships docked in Baltimore to join the fun, too.

One of my highlights was seeing the Okeanos Explorer, a weather ship.   Check out that dome!

Of course, seeing tall ships in person can easily transport you back a few hundred years.  This beauty is the El Galeon Andalucia, a replica tall ship hailing from Spain.  Fun fact, this is the ship featured on the TV show Crossbones.

Another view of the El Galeon Andalucia behind the Harbor’s dragon paddle boats.

A parking lot of tall ships!  We showed up right as the US Coast Guard was settling into their spot in the Harbor (2nd ship down in this photo).

The US Coast Guard’s tall ship, the USCGC Eagle, was so large that I could not get a good angle for a photo of the entire ship!    Their Facebook page has some great photos.

Another great example of a tall ship, the Kalmar Nyckel, hails from Delaware.  It has its own Facebook site, if you want to see more details.  The wood work was beautiful and intricate.  

Even tall ships are easy to ignore once a robot shows up.  We’re all easily impressed by tech demos.

We visited on September 11th, so I stopped to take this photo of the American Flag flying in front of Baltimore’s World Trade Center.  It is also a great photo of the USS Constellation, a Baltimore harbor permanent resident.  She fires her cannons at noon every day which scares unsuspecting tourists and walkers.

Two US Navy ships: the USYP 705 and 707.  I think they were just there escorting the USNS Choctaw Country, but they were giving tours to the public as well.


This by far was the most impressive ship in the Harbor, the US Navy’s USNS Choctaw Country.  Docked in the Inner Harbor, it looked huge compared to everything else.   This ship is a high speed transport vehicle that can carry 600 tons of troops or equipment where they are needed.

Finally, the USCGC Taney, is another permanent resident of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Visiting Baltimore soon?  Come for the crab cakes, but dine on the Harbor so you can watch the ships!  Most of these ships will be leaving after a week, but there are plenty of permanent residents to visit.  We have another fun resident ship, Urban Pirates, a pirate ship that offers rides, dinner cruises, parties, and other revelry!   

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for your interest in the Star-Spangled Spectacular and visiting ships! I work with the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, and I just wanted to let you know that NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is actually not a weather ship, but instead an ocean exploration vessel known as "America's Ship for Ocean Exploration." Currently the ship is exploring deep-sea seamounts and canyons just off the Eastern Seaboard! All of the video taken by her undersea robot (remotely operated vehicle, or ROV) is live-streamed to our website, and anyone can watch. The "soccer ball" on top of the ship is the protective housing for the video satellite that enables us to do this. Find out more about the ship, and check out our live-stream, here: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/welcome.html.

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    1. That's awesome! Thank you for telling us more about it!

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