Sunday, September 9, 2012

Navy Week at GM Renaissance Center in Detroit

We spent an eventful day, yesterday at General Motors' headquarters in downtown Detroit.  The city's bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 was being held September 5th through the 9th.  The festivities were planned in cooperation with the U.S Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Here are some of the highlights of our day:

Ongoing demonstrations in the GM RenCen Wintergarden of military technology.

Demos of US Military technology
Remote controlled military robot
Two flight simulators that were very popular with adults and kids alike.  These displays were specially geared to students' interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects.

Flight Simulators
A view of the buzzing activity in the GM RenCen Wintergarden from the first floor.

View of Wintergarden from above
The GM Showroom featured a collection of GM cars including vintage and modern Corvettes in honor of the car's 60th birthday.


Other cars
Outside it was a balmy 73 degrees Fahrenheit.  The US Brig Niagara was docked on the Detroit River.  "The tall ship is an exact replica of the original 1813 wooden-hulled, two-masted ship that served in the Battle of Lake Erie" (a.k.a. the Battle of Put-in-Bay) which was fought on September 10, 1813 during the war of 1812.

Across the river off the Canadian shores, the Canadian ship HMCS Ville de Quebec was docked.

HMCS Ville de Quebec on Windsor side of Detroit River
 The crowds were interesting to watch, a white cockatoo among them.

In the Plaza Stage area, the U.S. Coast Guard Drill Team demonstrated their precision rifle exercise.

On the Detroit River, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) demonstrated Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.  These operations simulate the series of events following a distress call from a USCG vessel regarding a member of the crew who needs air-lifting to the nearest hospital.

The USCG vessel pulls up on the river in front of the RenCen
USCG HH-65 Dolphin Helicpter arrives from Selfridge ANG

Dolphin Helicopter makes a pass around the RenCen

Pulls up over the USCG vessel

Prepares to hover 

Drops a metal cable that attaches to the USCG vessel

Member of USCG team leaves helicopter

Ziplines onto the vessel

Boards the vessel

A freight ship pulls up (not a part of the demo)

Excitement builds

Metal cage is lowered via the cable

Imaginary and invisible distressed crew member
is air-lifted and SAR demo concludes

Of interest on YouTube, Coast Guard Top 10 Rescue Videos .

Military festivities continued in the parking lot adjacent to the Plaza with a raffle of a souped up Chevy Camaro, a couple of SUVs and military equipped Humvees.

Camaro on raffle
SUV First Responder vehicle

Decorated with decals everywhere

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Alaskan Cruise 2012: Part 1

7-Day Glacier Bay, Roundtrip Seattle

Just returned from a cruise to Alaska aboard the Norwegian Pearl.  Our cruise began and ended in Seattle in the second week of August 2012.

Ports of call
This is our third cruise. Our first was to Hawaii aboard Holland America's SS Independence in May 1996.  The last two cruises were to Alaska aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines.  In 2004 we took a cruise aboard the Norwegian Sun via Vancouver.  There was some difference between that cruise and the one we took last week in ports of call (Wrangell instead of Victoria, B.C) and a visit to Sawyer Glacier instead of Glacier Bay, both located near Juneau.

The Ship

Norwegian Pearl

Children's Aquatic Area

One of several lounges

Shops galore
Our Suites

Our aft-facing mini-suite with balcony on deck 11 was adjacent to our nephew's and his family.


Sitting Area

Our Party

My husband and I were accompanied by our nephew, his wife and daughter.  It's much more fun to cruise with company.

Pre-dinner R & R
Ordering beverages at Java Cafe
Shortly after embarking
Enjoying a buffet lunch at Garden Cafe on the open deck
Dinner at Summer Palace
Ready to order
Niece and hubby
Mother and daughter at dinner at the Indigo
Hubby and nephew
Enjoying view from our balcony
So relaxed!

My birthday fell right in the middle of the cruise.  We enjoyed dinner at Lotus Garden.  The food was incredible throughout the cruise, and the menu at Lotus Garden was outstanding!

In Part 2 of this travelogue, I'll cover our activities aboard the ship and ports of call.

Until then,