These images were taken from the day before the ship arrived through February 14th when we took a tour of the ship and dry docks.  There are more images of preparation, dredging and cranes driving around in the Mare Island category.

The first few pictures were taken the day before the ship arrived. Originally it was scheduled to arrive on Feb 2nd, so several news vans showed up to cover the event and lingered throughout the day.

News vans show up but the ship does not - From Solon Turman

The next day, on Feb 3rd, the ship arrived at about 10:30 am and the media was nowhere to be seen, except for some local reporters from the Times Herald.  See the previous post of the time lapse to see the ship in action.

The shp arrives but the media misses the event - From Solon Turman

On Friday Feb 11th, while standing in front of the Western Dovetail facility admiring the ship with my friend Dave, (who was sketching the ship at the time), Jay Anast, one of the principals of the ADR (Allied Defense Recycling) approached us, and asked if we wanted to see the ship from inside the dry dock.  Jay seemed to like the idea of an artist's rendering of the scene so he thought he would offer another perspective.  Since it was late in the day, we just took a quick walk down into the dry dock and back out.  It was amazing to see something so huge from below. I didn't have my camera with me, so I couldn't resist asking if we could come back for a more extensive tour on Monday. Dave captured this amazing image of the ship with his iphone at about 5pm (below)

From Solon Turman photo by Dave Normal taken with iphone

Monday February 14th (Valentines Day) My brother, Josh Hunter brought his girlfriend Mills, I brought my girlfriend, Sue, and my father, George Hunter brought his girlfriend Cheryl, Matt from our office, and a customer named Greg, (who happened to show up just as we were getting ready to go on the tour) also came along. So all eight of us showed up and waited for Jay to finish his work, then at about 5:00pm we started walking around in the dry dock area looking at some amazing stuff.

Inside the drydock pump room looking down - From Solon Turman

First we went down into the pump house for dry dock #3. That's an understatement, it's more like a 5 story underground control station reminiscent of the inner workings of hoover dam. Giant pumps on 60" diameter pipes and multiple smaller pumps with walls of controls fill each level of the underground labyrinth.

Max Hunter standing behind the rudder Photo by Susan Glover - From Solon Turman

After we went into the pump rooms we walked down the steep concrete steps and into Dry Dock#3.  Jay explained that the ship was positioned using the age old bobber technique.  Two floats are set up; one at the bow and one at the stern, they are carefully placed at the extreme ends of the ship anchored to blocks at the bottom of the dry dock before it is flooded. When the dock is flooded, the bobbers float to the surface and used to position the ship, (kind of like the tennis ball hanging in the garage technique to park your car without hitting the wall).

Jay explains how the caisson works from inside - From Solon Turman

After we got out of the dry dock, we went down into the caisson of dry dock #2.  The caisson is like a boat, or more like a submarine.  It is designed to be lifted and lowered using water and air ballasts.  They pump the water out to lift it then let the water back in to lower it and it is manually positioned with riggers on the shore to place it.

After the caisson tour we head over to Dry Dock #1 built in 1860 it was the first dry dock of it's kind on the west coast.  The pump house for dry dock #1 is a beautiful brick building in the shape of an octagon.  The interior is decorated with a spiral staircase and brass railings and it has a nice copper roof.

Finally we start heading back to the ship, by now it is almost 7:00pm and it is dark and cold and wet.  So we board the ship with all of us trying to stick together through the endless halls and chambers.  It was amazing, the photos basically tell the story so enjoy!