Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm glad I saw the Seawolf

I'm sure glad I saw the wolf
before the wolf saw me.*

On the ferry over to Galveston Island last week, we saw a bay-side park named Seawolf Park and today we decided to check it out in person. We had originally planned to spend today at a National Wildlife Refuge down the coast for some hiking but it was almost two hours away and, frankly, we've seen a lot of salt marshes lately.  Seawolf Park, which is privately owned and operated, is on Pelican Island, a little companion island to the main Galveston Island. It has fishing piers and, more interestingly, a World War II submarine and escort destroyer sitting up on dry land. Who could resist?

In order to get to Pelican Island, you have to drive around
the port of Galveston. Larges piles of yellow powder sitting
out in the sun? Sure.

Tankers and freighters of all shapes and sizes? Check.

And then, Seawolf Park. From a distance, the ravages of Hurricane
Ike are not apparent. Hold on, there's more to come.

Of course, since it's Pelican Island, there's no shortage of pelicans.

This used to be a pavilion for concessions and even weddings. Now
it's just an Ike-ravished concrete shell. Too bad, really, because
the location is excellent.

Here's Astral Wendy amidst the wreckage. There's just
a chain-link fence between her and concrete carnage.

Damn you Ike!

Here's the Eurovan holding its own, very well I think,
against a submarine and a destroyer. I'm thinking
of adding an after-market periscope to the pop-top.

This is the USS Stewart just sitting up on dry land. The woman at the
ticket booth said that when Ike came through both this and the submarine
were afloat but, luckily, they were tied down. After the water receded, the
destroyer was sitting on a shrimp boat and had to be lifted up with
a crane so they could remove the shrimp boat.

There was no guided tour so we were able to just
wander around in the submarine and the destroyer.
Here, I'm about to go below deck.

The amazing thing about both ships was that it was all
pre-computer so everything was electro-mechanical and
valves and pipes and dials. Central Services!

Here's Astral Wendy chilling out in the aft torpedo room. 
The torpedoes are huge. Fire at will!

Let me just run down to the galley and fix up some mess.

I gotta admit, the kitchen puts the Eurovan to shame.

The amount of dials and controls in the submarine was mind-blowing

It was powered by four of these 16 cylinder 1535HP diesel engines.

USS Cavalla
I was only disappointed that you couldn't go up in the conning tower.

I made Astral Wendy man the ack-ack guns on the destroyer.
Pelican down, repeat, pelican down.

Everything is crammed together on these ships.

Here's a great-tailed grackle. These guys have this ungodly screech that
sounds like a car alarm.

This egret is ready for formal dining. I believe
he'll have the fish.

After Seawolf Park, we headed downtown to grab some lunch and check out a few used bookstores. We were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful historic downtown area that definitely knocked our opinion of Galveston up a few notches.

The Strand. Real cool like an old western cow town.

Had to go into Colonel Bubbie's Military Surplus Store. A great find.
Astral Wendy got a pair of white, brown, and maroon camouflage
cargo pants. I have no idea what environment you have to be in for
these colors to hid you. Looks like cow. Wendy calls them 'blood-n-guts.'

Here's a giant chessboard.

There's restoration everywhere. This building is going to
look great when they're finished.

From our continuing series 'Everything's bigger in Texas',
check out this selection of packaged cold cuts.

*Plato, The Republic (336d)


  1. Wasn't there an old movie called The Seawolf? It seems to ring a vague bell.

  2. Never heard of that, but being in the submarine brought me back to childhood and one of my favorite shows, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Very exciting!