Welcome Aboard! Living on the BROWN in Shipyard.

Welcome to our first official Blog post! Check back every Wednesday for new material!

Many of the crew members are 'salty old souls' (even some of our younger members) and dry dock was nothing new for them, but some of us came to the shipyard for the first time this year! Colonna's Shipyard in Norfolk is about a 5 hour drive from Baltimore. To bring the ship down to the shipyard and sail the ship back to Baltimore we had ~80 and then-~60 crew members. But there were 17 or so that actually drove down and spent anywhere from two days to two weeks to the entire month aboard the ship! These crew members worked, ate, showered and slept (ie...lived) aboard our 70+ year old 'ugly duckling'. Here's a quick look at what it's like to live on the BROWN!

The view walking from the parking lot towards the ship and wondering, as a 'first timer' how in the heck one goes about getting onto the ship. It looked formidable. 

The view walking from the parking lot towards the ship and wondering, as a 'first timer' how in the heck one goes about getting onto the ship. It looked formidable. 

Our daily cardio, completed multiple times a day. Made extra special for those with large feet, because the steps themselves are narrow.

Our daily cardio, completed multiple times a day. Made extra special for those with large feet, because the steps themselves are narrow.

Once you climb the ladder on the wing wall (previous picture), you had to cross the brow... basically a steel 'gangway' that took you from the top of the dry dock to the ship. Yes, you could look down to your possible death, and NO, it did not help to hear old 'sailor stories' of the time one fell 70 feet, right after someone had crossed over it. One crew member, who shall remain nameless, was not fond of the brow... AT ALL. Yet got daily laughs from Colonna's crane operators, who watched said crew member take deep breaths, do the sign of the cross, start singing and a multitude of other things as they got up the nerve to cross. 

Once you climb the ladder on the wing wall (previous picture), you had to cross the brow... basically a steel 'gangway' that took you from the top of the dry dock to the ship. Yes, you could look down to your possible death, and NO, it did not help to hear old 'sailor stories' of the time one fell 70 feet, right after someone had crossed over it. One crew member, who shall remain nameless, was not fond of the brow... AT ALL. Yet got daily laughs from Colonna's crane operators, who watched said crew member take deep breaths, do the sign of the cross, start singing and a multitude of other things as they got up the nerve to cross. 

The end of the day brings a regular "debriefing" with the crew including a great view of the sunset over Portsmouth and Norfolk VA. On the Horizon you can see the Hammerhead Crane used in the construction of American Battleships, which we will detail in a later post!

The end of the day brings a regular "debriefing" with the crew including a great view of the sunset over Portsmouth and Norfolk VA. On the Horizon you can see the Hammerhead Crane used in the construction of American Battleships, which we will detail in a later post!

Work: So far you must be thinking 'wow, looks like a pretty cushy experience'. But a lot of projects were done while we were there. These were things that could be done ANYWHERE, but since we were there, had the manpower and the time, it was a great time to 'get er done'. 

Lowering the ships forward telescoping mast (the small one at the top!) and changing out some old blocks was one small project. It involved a lot of really complicated rigging done by some of our crew. Despite the mast being a big piece of heavy steel, it still took a lot of convincing to get her to go down for her 5-year check up! The picture here shows Liam halfway up the mast, climbing around to the other side to remove the safety pin from the telescoping mast.

Below: A quick picture for perspective from on the top of the main mast: Our ship's photographer, standing on #2 Hatch, gets to be the center of attention in this one!

What's going on at Colonna's? CLICK HERE to see mid-morning panoramic view from the BROWN's main mast!

   

 

 

Preparing meals: We ate really, really well! In fact, we usually ate unbelievably well, depending on which culinary experts were there at the time. For hot meals, the crew gets dinner prepared every day at minimum, and very often breakfast and lunch as well. Even on our 'worst' days, we still ate well, but boy, oh boy, did we have some excellent meals when certain crew members did the cooking. We might not have pay as an incentive, but our volunteers receive some good perks in the food department. We very often invited our visitors to enjoy meals with us. Our riveting team enjoyed a hearty "tugboat soup" lunch and steak night on their last day with us, and crew from the USNS Grapple joined us one day, to name a couple. Many of the meals were purchased, cooked and served by our volunteers for their fellow volunteers. Stuffed Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, steak, roast chickens, Pork Stir fry, Jambalaya,  Fresh produce from Maryland's Eastern Shore, and much more!

Burger Night! Bacon cheddar angus burgers on baked-fresh-that-morning raspberry walnut bread with home made bread and butter pickles and all the fixings!

Burger Night! Bacon cheddar angus burgers on baked-fresh-that-morning raspberry walnut bread with home made bread and butter pickles and all the fixings!

And after a long day climbing up and down, doing lots of manual labor, and eating some amazing meals, it was time to chill out in our bunk rooms.

And after a long day climbing up and down, doing lots of manual labor, and eating some amazing meals, it was time to chill out in our bunk rooms.

A group shot of the majority of those that came and spent time aboard while we were at dry dock. Taken the morning of departure from Colonna's Shipyard.  Back left to right: Rick, Fred, John, Zack, Barney, Duff, Nic. Front left to right: Mike, Walt, Andrea, Fran, Joe, Liam, and Greg.   Missing Howard D., Joe C.,  and Paul J. in this shot.  

A group shot of the majority of those that came and spent time aboard while we were at dry dock. Taken the morning of departure from Colonna's Shipyard

Back left to right: Rick, Fred, John, Zack, Barney, Duff, Nic.

Front left to right: Mike, Walt, Andrea, Fran, Joe, Liam, and Greg.  

Missing Howard D., Joe C.,  and Paul J. in this shot.  

All pictures used with permission. 

Want to contribute? Contact us here: http://www.ssjohnwbrown.org/contact/

Project Liberty Ship, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit, all volunteer organization engaged in the preservation and operation of the historic ship JOHN W. BROWN as a living memorial museum. Gifts to Project Liberty Ship are tax deductible.

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