Charleston, SC Day 2

27 April 2015

We had heard so many nice things about Charleston that we are staying an extra day. We got up and out on the first water taxi to go across the river to the Yorktown. It was a WWII aircraft carrier that has been turned into a museum.

While not as big as a modern carrier, for its day it was pretty big and pretty fast, being able to go 30 knots. They were able to launch the figher planes by turning into the wind, that in combination with the boat speed gave enough lift to launch the planes without using a catapult.

Below decks were the same crowded areas that we’ve seen on other WWII class ships. Bunks are stacked 3 high, close quarters in the companion way, tighter spaces in engineering. We did the audio tour and it was neat that after most exhibits there was some story by one of the men from the ship.

They cut some of the bulkheads away in the engineering space so it was easy access. Normally the boilers are sealed up behind extra thick walls so if they blew up they would not sink the boat. On the Yorktown the boilers were also set up so they could feed two engines. That gave them redundancy in case a boiler or an engine failed.

On both the flight deck and hanger bay was a number of planes from the 40′s to 60′s. It was cool walking around and seeing how the wings would fold so they could stack more in the hanger bay. They also have a mock up of the Apollo 8 capsule, it was one of the capsules that the Yorktown recovered during the space program. You can sit inside, hard to think that 3 people spent two weeks inside that space. The two of us were ready to get out after sitting through the 4 minute animation.

Scattered about the ship are a number of displays about other ships and famous people from WWI. Most of the ship displays had very detailed models. There is lots of great history there. We spent two hours walking around, but didn’t really spend a lot of time with the exhibits. Also on site is a submarine and a destroyer that you can tour. They aslo have a mock Vietnam War base set up to show what that was like.

After taking a quick look down into the sub (yep, super small places) we caught the water taxi. It took us to the other marina (lots of nice boats) and then into town putting us off at the city docks. From there we walked through the French Quarter and then to the Southend Brewery and Smoke House.

Southend is in a huge 3 story building with the brewing tanks in the center of the building on the ground floor and fermentation tanks up on the second floor. We had a flight of beer and shared an order of fried green tomatoes. The beer was good, and the pimento cheese with the fried tomatoes was a nice combination. The tomatoes came with a corn chutney that was also an interesting spin on the dish. One of our favorites so far. (Yes, fried green tomatoes have become our “conch fritters” as we travel through South Carolina.

We headed up the street and passed a place that said they had the best fried green tomatoes. So we went into Blossom and tried. They were good, but the bacon jam from the Bierhouse was better and the pimento cheese was better at the Smokehouse. Sorry Blossom.

Just past the Central Market was T-Bonz, they feature the beers of the Southern Brewing Company. We tried a flight and becase we were done with fried green tomatoes we went for the fried shrimp. They were both very, very good.
We walked to the Central Market and walked the length of the market to find bargins. None really to be found, but I did pick up a card game called “Gormet Smarts”. Think of them as food flashcards. It looks like it would be fun to play.

We did look at the sawgrass baskets but they were all really expensive at over $100 for a very small one. So we passed on them and headed back to the boat.

We had invited the people that run the AGLCA over. Steve came for a visit. He was very interesting to talk to, we got how the AGLCA got started and how the Kromer’s took it over. We also got a ton of tips of places to go on our trip north.

Plus he recommended PearlZ, so we called for a taxi and walked to the street to wait. While we were there about 2 dozen cars unloaded highschool kids dressed in their best. They were there to go on the river tour for the evening.

PearlZ is an oyster bar that has been around almost forever. When we got there it was packed, a 20 minute wait. So we walked around the block and admired all the old homes. It’s a very pretty area, lots of nice houses.

We got a pair of seats looking out the window onto the sidewalk. Pretty cool view. Our conversation about this being the first day of our second on the loop caught the attention of the table in front of us. It was the crew of Saylors Delight. We had lunch with them on the Illinois River about 6 months ago. We chatted for awhile until our dinner was delivered.

The oysters were very good as was the rest of the food. It’s a nice place, it was a good recommendation by Steve.

We walked back to the boat and were soon tucked in for the evening. The winds had died down so we were not going to be bouncing around like we had the night before.

2 thoughts on “Charleston, SC Day 2

  1. The USS Yorktown you visited is an Essex class carrier (which replaced the Yorktown class carrier of the same name after it was sunk by a Japanese submarine as it was being towed back to Hawaii after the battle of Midway)…weighing in at 33,000 tons, she’s about 1/3 the weight of a modern nuclear carrier. They could sustain 33 knts, which is why the Iowa class battleships were such a big deal, they were the only battleships that could keep up with the carriers and their cruiser escorts. The USS Alabama you visited could only do 27 knts, and the older BBs built under the London and Washington naval treaties could only make 21-22 knts.

    • Also, the destroyer is USS Laffey…she is known as “the ship that would not die”. On april 15, 1945, Laffey was attacked by more than 50 aircraft as she patrolled as radar picket north of Okinawa. Over the course of about 2 hours, Laffey was hit by 4 bombs, 6 kamikaze crashes, and numerous strafing runs, all of which put her in drydock for 4 months to repair the damage….which is a lot considering it only took 5 months to build her in the first place.

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