Special Report to IgoUgo:
It is my very good fortune to report that I happened to be in Baltimore Harbor at the time of the Annual Ship's Turnaround with the Voyage to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, and the 150th anniversary of this fine ship. At the moment, I could hardly believe my luck.
The USS Constellation, the flagship of President Abraham Lincoln, is retired to Pier 1, Baltimore Inner Harbor, where she has experienced the largest non-Naval wooden ship restoration in the United States for a total of $7.5 million. Almost back to her original appearance, she is moored most of the time, except for the Annual Ship's Turnaround, and on this special year, her towing down to Annapolis for about a week's stay. Her first visit to Annapolis in 111 years.
Curious as usual, I toured the ship on a regular adult tour ($7.50). There were unusual happenings aboard ship, as not only the usual crew, but the curator and a tug boat captain, were buzzing around and talking about towing the ship in a couple of days. In fact a very large, heavy-duty tug boat, the Elizabeth Ann worked around the big, old ship.
Eyes and ears open, I soaked in as much information as I could. I've never witnessed such a nautical event. The plan included at least four massive seagoing tugs in an extremely well-planned move to take the Constellation down to Annapolis. With kind regard to this older woman, they took the time to answer my questions about where and when I should plan to view the big tow.
I chose to make my stand in front of the Marriott Waterfront Hotel on the long, curving walkway above the water -- a very good decision, as it turned out. Not only a good position, but I had no competition for the space. Passing on the chance to have coffee and donuts down on Pier 1, I set up my little photo stand early and waited, not to be disappointed, as the photos show.
I had a wonderful visit in Baltimore. This event was more than icing on fine cake. It was an experience I shall always treasure! The tow successful, the USS Constellation made her visit at the US Naval Academy, an old warship honoring those who now serve. Absolutely outstanding!
The US Post Office now has 37-cent commemorative stamps of the USS Constellation, and the ship's museum gift shop has first-day covers (not to mention a whole range of souvenir gear that benefits the upkeep of the ship).