Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Annapolis, MD - US Naval Academy

I was at the entrance to the USNA promptly at 7:15am so I would get an opportunity to do a little exploring before the Polar Technology Conference began. It was about mile from the hotel and it was a sunny 39°F. Found coffee along the way and traffic was pretty minimal. The only others out were joggers.

This house was just a short distance from the pedestrian gate and was fairly typical of the houses in the area. Not perfect but still looking pretty good.

There are a lot of these domed buildings that I used to associate with state capitols and other such facilities. This building is the chapel and supposedly the crypt of John Paul Jones is in the basement level. Strange but I do like the aged copper color of the dome.

This small manmade pond is right in front of the building where the conference is being held. I should mention that it is closer to a meeting than a conference as the number of attendees is well under 100. Todays agenda dealt with boeys, UAVs and automomous systems after an introduction by Rear Admiral Jon White. Unlike the last PTC I attended, most of the talks today dealt with the Arctic. Possibly because there was a group from here in Barrow a couple of weeks ago and the Navy has an interest in the Arctic (no land just ocean).

This is a foot bridge in the previous photo. There is some nice areas to walk around here. Lunch was in the NCO club and afterwards, I had some time to do a little exploring. The bridge led to a small cemetery and the path continued back around to my starting point.

The building in the background is one of the main academic buildings and a mirror image of it is to the left across a very modern courtyard. I thought that the cannons were kind of interesting. There are a lot of cannons used as an integral part of the landscaping including benches.

The museum was kept open for our group to visit and we were treated to a wonderful tour by the curator. This is one of about 700 flags that they have in their collection with many on display throughout the facility not just in the museum.

Another one of their historic flags. This one, the curator pointed out, had 31 stars with the extra one just sewn into the top row as there was no easy way to arrange 31.

Since he knew that this was a polar conference, he put out some additional material from their archives such as original sleds, journals, letters and photos of arctic expeditions from back in the 1800s. The entire third level, or deck as they referred to the floors, was filled with ship models. Not new models of old ships but old models of ships being built. The models were used as engineering drawings for the ship builders and they were accurate as to the placement and shape of supports and other internal framing for the actual vessel.

After the museum tour, I watched a movie called Chasing Ice in a beautiful theatre here on campus. A film about photographer James Balog's journey to demonstrate that climate change was actually occurring. If you get an opportunity to see the film, it's worth seeing.

With all of this going on, I forgot to have dinner but I did manage to get a 1½ mile run in. My first run since the Equinox Marathon six months ago. It didn't feel as bad as I thought it would.


  1. Thanks for all the pictures Richard. Walking through that museum must have been so neat. Just looking at all that history.

    Good job getting a run in too. Don't forget to eat dinner tonight.

    1. There was a lot of stuff in that museum and the narration by the curator really added a lot. There were a ton of these ship models, which I initially thought was odd, until he explained the purpose of the models.

      I ended up having an audioconference betwen the museum and the movie. One of the problems with being 4 hours off.

  2. Richard:

    I like museums and history too. I also like to look at old photos and imagine how hard it was for our pioneers. Good for your Curator to dig those out for you to see. You might have been able to notice some familiar landmarks from the "old days"

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Some pretty depressing journal entries in there. In one passage he read showed them continuing to make science data readings as well as mentioning who died that day all the way through the last entry. The journal was found in a frozen hand sticking out of the snow when the rescue mission finally found them.

      Most of these expeditions headed north towards the pole and the Arctic Archipelago. I have sometimes marveled at what passes through someones mind when they leave someplace like Barrow and head north across the ice in the dark.