POSITION REPORT: USS MISSOURI TOW

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From Bob Wernet, USS Missouri Foundation Aboard the Crowley Towboat "Sea Victory" Sunday, June 21,1998 6:00 a.m./HST

After an enthusiastic aerial photographers' lens-feast off Kalaupapa, Molokai yesterday afternoon, the Sea Victory and the USS Missouri spent the night going around the block, as it were, in the Kaiwi Channel separating Oahu and Molokai.

After all, how would it look for the honored guest to arrive early to her massive and spectacular Honolulu "Aloha, Mighty Mo" welcoming celebration?

So she passed just northwest of Molokai's Ilio Point around midnight, proceeded south into the Channel some, then began her turn up the Channel and back out toward open ocean where she headed until dawn this morning.

Overnight, the Kalaupapa Lighthouse beacon rotated its light in the distance, signaling us it seemed, almost asking us to return once more.

Scattered pockets of residential lights lit up the Molokai profile, while across the Channel, Oahu's night lights lifted a fluorescent-like luminance into the sky which hovered above the island as a mystery mantle within the darkness around it.

Above, a universe of crystal-clear, speckled starlight punctuated the reason for Hawaii's Mauna Kea astronomical observatory holding its world-class, premier reputation.

As the dawn announced itself, the USS Missouri was well into her turn from a northerly course back to a heading directly toward Makapuu where she would pass at mid-morning. Then Diamond Head at noon and the explosion of welcome in central Honolulu later and throughout the afternoon and evening.

The battleship will make her final entrance this afternoon to a people and a place now called family and home. She will be seen by a multitude for the last time at sea, her proud bow softly sliding through the Pacific waters off Waikiki, Ala Moana Park, Kewalo Basin, and then tomorrow, Pearl Harbor, joining her sister there.

But first ...""Aloha, Mighty Mo."

LATITUDE = 21 degrees, 23.8 minutes North

LONGITUDE = 157 degrees, 17.9 minutes West

OCEAN DEPTH BELOW = 400 fathoms or 2,400 feet

COURSE = 241 to Makapuu Point Lighthouse, Oahu

PAST 24-HOUR DISTANCE RUN = 74.12 nautical miles

PAST 24-HOUR AVERAGE SPEED = 3.1 knots

TOTAL DISTANCE RUN = 2,336.52 nautical miles

TOTAL AVERAGE SPEED = 5.6 knots

DAYS IN TRANSIT = 17.5 days

HOURS FROM DEPARTURE = 420 hours

DISTANCE TO DIAMOND HEAD = 31.08 nautical miles

DESTINATION TIME = Noon today, Father's Day, June 21

WIND = East Northeast at 20 knots

SEA = 3 feet

SWELL = Easterly at 8 feet

AIR TEMPERATURE = 74 degrees

SEA TEMPERATURE = 76 degrees

SKIES = Partly cloudy

 

SATURDAY 6:00 PM REPORT

After nearly 17 days from Oregon, and another 10 from Washington, the crew of the Crowley towboat Sea Victory spotted the faint, hazy, rising landscape of the island of Molokai, and to its southeast, Maui.

It was ten-fifteen this morning and it felt like the day was just bursting alive at last. Not that the voyage had been difficult, anything but that. We had favorable winds behind us all the way, and the seas gave our towboat and the massive Missouri a surfer's ride to the islands all the way.

Slowly and deliberately, as we approached closer to Molokai and Maui, the volcanic formations rising from the sea became more distinct. By early afternoon, Molokai stood before us shrouded in mountain clouds and white capped waves slapping her coast.

Then, as if a curtain rose to let in the guests, the planes and helicopters,

the small fishing boats, the military Chinook dual rotor choppers, the U.S. Coast Guard escort, and photographers bending and weaving for every angle of the USS Missouri imaginable began to descend.

One of the first guests was a Civil Air Patrol plane whose pilot advised Captain Kaare Ogaard on the tug's radio what we were about to find out.

"Captain," he said, "I just want to tell you there's about one million people waiting for you with open arms on those islands up ahead. Welcome to Hawaii."

The gracious expression started an aerial festival of sightseers which continued throughout the afternoon. Helicopters hovered the Missouri from every angle. Fixed-wing aircraft swooped and flew low runs along her beam. Other helicopters dangled in mid-air immediately before the tug as we began our approach to Father Damien's and Brother Joseph Dutton's people of Kalaupapa.

The peninsula's picturesque lighthouse sent a regular beacon of light our way,

as Molokai's majestic mountains and ridges remained cloaked in the afternoon mist, its valleys looking like shards of green stabbed into the earth and running along the sea.

By the appointed time of 4:00 p.m., the USS Missouri moved ever closer to the passage of Kalaupapa's mid-point due north of the lighthouse. At 4:42 p.m., Captain Ogaard began the salute to the community, an honor bestowed on them twice before, and for the final time this afternoon by this battleship.

Sea Victory's whistle blew loudly proclaiming her salute to Kalaupapa, and ten seconds later, the U.S. flag promptly dipped its colors for one minute. Again, a whistle blast as the red-white-and-blue re-joined the state of Hawaii's flag and the Crowley house flag.

Sea Victory's deck log for the evening will say only that the tug rendered a salute to the community of Kalaupapa. It will not tell the story of her people, of this island, of this journey, of this mighty ship.

Those stories remain to be told, some once again, many for the first time.

But the deck log's writer this evening wrote proudly the words he put on paper. He guided his tow safely to a lighthouse beside the sea, and rendered a proud salute as only a man who cares can do.

(For More Information, contact the USS Missouri Memorial Association on the Internet at: www.ussmissouri.com  ... or call toll-free: 1-888-877-6477.)

 

 

POSITION REPORT: USS MISSOURI TOW

From Bob Wernet, USS Missouri Foundation Aboard the Crowley Towboat "Sea Victory" Saturday, June 20, 1998 6:00 a.m./HST

LATITUDE = 21 degrees, 41 minutes North

LONGITUDE = 156 degrees, 05 minutes West

OCEAN DEPTH BELOW = 2,900 fathoms or 17,400 feet

COURSE = 240 degrees heading to Molokai Light

PAST 24-HOUR DISTANCE RUN = 123.9 nautical miles

PAST 24-HOUR AVERAGE SPEED = 5.2 knots

TOTAL DISTANCE RUN = 2,262.4 nautical miles

TOTAL AVERAGE SPEED = 5.7 knots

DAYS IN TRANSIT = 16.5 days

HOURS FROM DEPARTURE = 396 hours

DISTANCE TO KALAUPAPA = 54.2 nautical miles

DESTINATION TIME = 4:00 p.m./HST this afternoon

DISTANCE TO DIAMOND HEAD = 105.2 nautical miles

DESTINATION TIME = Noon/HST tomorrow

WINDS = East Northeast at 15 knots

SEA = 3 feet

SWELL = Easterly at 7 feet

AIR TEMPERATURE = 77 degrees

SEA TEMPERATURE = 77 degrees

SKIES = Mostly cloudy, periodic squalls

One hundred nine years ago, a 49-year old priest named Damien died of leprosy on the flat plain of Molokai known as Kalaupapa. He spent 16 years caring for the needs of this small Hawaiian community.

Before he died on April 15, 1889, during Christianity's Holy Week that year, Father Damien wrote to his brother:

"I am gently going to my grave. It is the will of God, and I thank him very much for letting me die of the same disease and in the same way as my lepers. I am very satisfied and very happy," Damien wrote.

Four years later, the people of England donated a Celtic Cross to honor Damien's sacrificial service to his brothers and sisters at Kalaupapa.

King Kalakaua soon visited the village to select a permanent site for this extraordinary gift. He accepted the suggestion of the Franciscan nun, Mother Marianne, who by then was carrying on Damien's work.

The Cross was erected at the corner of Damien Road and Pauahi Street, where it stands today in the center of the Kalaupapa village.

In Hawaiian and English the inscription reads:

"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

In 1969, Hawaii repealed the law, accepted in 1865 by Kamehameha V, that a year later established the settlement to control the spread of this sickness. That law mandated that the victims of this dreaded Hansen's Disease must be confined, the genesis of Kalaupapa.

Some of the residents then moved away for good, but many others remained. After all, it was their home.

In 1977 another law passed, assuring all residents of Kalaupapa that they could live out the rest of their lives on this peninsula of north Molokai free of the fear of removal. Imagine the calm that descended on them.

In 1980, the U.S. Congress established Kalaupapa as a National Historic Park,

overlaying federal protection for these same rights, and creating the historic park of 10,000 acres.

Where probably thousands of patients lived, married and died in Kalaupapa in the 132 years of its existence, maybe only one hundred remain today.

This afternoon, another few will come to salute this special community. The men of the Sea Victory are bringing another national historic symbol for them to see. It will be a respectful visit, this one. A tribute to a people courageous and long-suffering. The same kind of strong people who have walked and worked the decks of the USS Missouri.

Then tomorrow, the USS Missouri will be grandly celebrated.

Then she'll rest again, in another historic place.

 

THURSDAY AFTERNOON REPORT

Tomorrow at this hour the people of Kalaupapa and Molokai will share the vision of the USS Missouri. The day after tomorrow, the people of Honolulu and Oahu.

We've come across more than 2,000 miles of sea with nothing between us and the horizons but more sea, occasional ships, our friendly albatross, now more land birds, some flying fish, and the evening sky's twinkling windows on our universe. Sunrises and sunsets. Squalls and rising swells whipped by the hidden wind.

And so much more that a lifetime would fall short of seeing or knowing about it, much less describing it.

This crossing has provoked curiosity about the ocean floor beneath us. Its depth and vastness, its creatures and movement. One place we will not cross is northwest of the Hawaiian Islands, with a numerous collection of identified and named seamounts.

They are called the Musicians Seamounts. They extend for hundreds of miles within an oval section of the Pacific. Their names cannot be ignored on any navigational chart because they are so many, and so familiar.

A listing here of these seamounts reveals only that one's curiosity has been stimulated to know even more about the world beneath our small vessel.

The Muscians Seamounts: Grieg, Khachaturian, Paganini, Liszt, Mozart, Ravel, Gluck, Handel, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Kern, Prokofiev, Debussy, Mussorgski, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Brahms, Stravinsky, Wagner, Verdi, Mahler, Rossini, Donizetti, Bizet, and Shubert.

Then, nearer Hawaii are other pleasingly sounding names: Loihi, off the Big Island and growing, Hohonu, Wini and Tuscaloosa. And so many more. So much more, as they say, and so little time.

(For More Information, contact the USS Missouri Memorial Association on the Internet at: www.ussmissouri.com  ... or call toll-free: 1-888-877-6477.)

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