Sometimes the news is worth paying
attention to. Being a native southern Californian, I
remember when the City of Long Beach bought the original Queen Mary
cruise ship. In the interim, I have been involved in recreational
sailing activities since my dad bought a kit boat, built it and taught
me how to sail. In those years, we sailed mainly in Marina Del
Rey near LAX. We even took the small 16 foot sailboat down to
Newport Beach for the day to visit with my aunt who rented an
apartment for a month during summer. We also sailed the 16 footer
on June Lake. Eventually my dad bought a Catalina 22 sailboat
which he kept for many years in MdR, Ventura Harbor, on land, and at
marinas in Long Beach. Finally I bought my own Catalina 27
sailboat and we got rid of the 22. Presently my boat is Downtown
Shoreline Marina in Long Beach. Just across the channel from the
marina is where the Queen Mary has resided for the last 39 years.
In that time, I have never been aboard the Queen Mary. For the
last 18 months, I have been working at a major Orange County airport
which requires occasional nighttime work. I had heard about the
RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Queen Mary 2 coming to southern California in
January and got excited
when my employer asked if we would work overnights during the week of
February 20th. I agreed to do so and then realized that I would
be able to see the two Queen Mary cruise ships in Long Beach Harbor on
February 23rd. My schedule also enabled me to drive to San Pedro
and see the QM 2 berthed at the Los Angeles World Cruise
It is notable that the QM 2 is so large that it had to
be backed several miles into its San Pedro berth . Normally
cruise ships can be turned in the harbor after passing under the
Vincent Thomas Bridge. I took several hours driving to different
vantage points to photograph the QM 2. After attempting to exit
freeway at Harbor Drive where the traffic leading to the QM 2 was
heavy, I crossed the Vincent Thomas Bridge east to Terminal
According to the Cunard website, the
Queen Mary 2 is 1,132 feet in length and 113 feet longer than the
original Queen Mary. This ship is an amazing 236 feet from keel
to funnel. With a draft of almost 33 feet, that leaves 203 feet
of ship above the water line. She is approximately 151,400 gross
tons. Queen Mary 2 has a 135 foot beam and is 147.5 feet at
bridge wings. She is powered by an 157,000 horsepower gas
turbine/diesel electric plant. She has four 21.5 megawatt Rolls
Royce azimuth thruster pods for propulsion with 2 fixed and 2 which
swivel. These are similar to traction motors on a diesel-electric
locomotive. This is an improvement over the propeller and rudder
system. There are 3 bow thrusters and one stern thruster.
Queen Mary 2 has capacity for 2,620 passengers and 1,253 crew.
She cost an extimated $800 million dollars and was built by Alstom at
Chantiers de l'Atlantic shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.
After getting yelled outside the
Evergreen Terminal by a
guy who claimed he was an off duty cop, I left Terminal Island and
traveled back over the Vincent Thomas Bridge back to San Pedro.
After this, my luck got increasingly better. Knowing my way
around the Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors paid off this time by
finding several low hills on the mainland side of the harbor.
Finally at the Ports o'Call tourist trap, I got another break when I
spotted an open marina gangway gate. The harbor shoreline curves,
so I walked to the end of a gangway to find nothing but water between
myself and the QM 2.
The next stop was near the old ferry
building now the Maritime Museum. I found myself at
a City of Los Angeles Firehouse with a beautiful
fireboat waitng for her call. It was interesting to see a
diagram of a fireboat plumbing system for import and spraying of
water. Little did I suspect we would see a fireboat welcoming the
Queen Mary 2 in Long Beach Harbor. I am used to seeing large
green fire engines at work used
firefighting purposes the the airport. They are self contained
also hook up to fire hydrants. As a matter of fact, I was mapping
flush mount fire hydrants overnight all that week between John Wayne
which enabled me to be on this voyage.
Above, the red car was doing its job while thousands of visitors came
to see the Queen Mary 2.
Below are views of the original Queen Mary taken from my boat on a
different day. She is inside a protective breakwater wall.
Until 2004, the City of Long Beach would shoot fireworks from near the
Queen Mary on July 4th. In 2005, they did a New Year's Eve
On page 2, we get back to the Queen Mary 2 in San Pedro.
The Queens Meet Page 2