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waltman (335)

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Journal of waltman (335)

Sunday August 25, 2002
08:00 PM

Touring the Camden waterfront

[ #7306 ]
I was bored today so I decided to visit the Camden waterfront. In addition to the lovely view of the Philadelphia skyline from Camden, there are a few relatively new tourist attractions I wanted to checkout.

The New Jersey State Aquarium was a disappointment. Yes, there are all the pretty fish one expects to find in an aquarium, but practically no explanations about what types of fish they are or where they're found.

More interesting, at least from an educational point of view, was the butterfly house which is in a separate building on the aquarium grounds. It had a very helpful volunteer who patiently explained the different types of butterflys they had, how to tell males from females, and even how to spot their eggs.

But far more interesting than the aquarium was the Battleship New Jersey, which is docked about a five minute walk away. It's impressively big and powerful. Even though most of it is still closed off (it's only been there for about a year) it's still possible to spend several hours wandering around onboard.

Here are a few amazing facts I learned while on my tour today:

  • I'd always assumed that the top deck was steel just like the rest of the ship. In fact it's made of teakwood. Turns out teak has several advantages over steel. It's a much better insulator, keeping the lower decks cooler when sailing the South Pacific tropics. Also it doesn't get slippery when it gets wet.
  • Know those giant gun turrets battleships have? Men worked inside of them! Lots of men. 23 men worked inside each of the three 16-inch gun turrets.
  • To prevent damage to the wheelhouse, it was encased inside a thickly-armored steel room. The sailor steering the ship could only really see where it was going by looking out of a periscope.

There's also a lot of vintage computer equipment on the ops deck. All in all it was a cool way to spend a few hours on a summer afternoon. And it'll be even better in another year or two as they continue to open up more of the ship. I'm looking forward to going back and touring the engine room.

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