SS METEOR AKR-9
Part 4: NAPA RIVER SCENES - July 2, 2015
After photographing SS Meteor leaving the Suisun Bay reserve fleet and going under the bridges, I drove 88 miles to
Independence Park in Vallejo, where I parked on Mare Island Way to the East of Drydock Number 2 at Mare Island, arriving
there at 10:28 AM. After arriving at Independence Park I noted that the tug MV Pedro Point had already opened the gate of
Drydock Number 2.
This was the situation at 10:34 AM. The fishing boat
in the foreground went up and down the Napa River
several times. MV Pedro Point and the drydock gate
are at the right of the photo. Noted that the heavy
icebreaker USCGC Polar Star moved from Drydock
Number 2 to Drydock Number 3, and there was a new
arrival at Mare Island Dry Dock, the rescue and salvage
ship USNS Salvor T-ASR-52 (one of our only four
ships of this type).
We have only two heavy icebreakers (only one in
commission) and one medium icebreaker, which is
not enough. Very likely need as many as when
USCGC Glacier and the Wind class were in
commission. Besides having a shortage of
icebreakers, is there also a shortage of rescue and
It is interesting that there are no submarine rescue
ships in commission.
Have the rescue and salvage ships taken over that role?
By the way, when the ice in the Great Lakes freezes up and ships need to travel from point A to point B, do a Google News
search (using the most recent stories) for icebreaker and “coast guard cutter”. Also, use the map at MarineTraffic to cover the
Great Lakes. The last two winters gave interesting news stories; stories which the Winter before last had articles about the
tanker MV AlgoCanada, and this winter articles about ships such as SS Arthur M. Anderson.
In 2014 it took about a month for the tanker MV AlgoCanada to do her first round trip from Nanticoke to Sault Ste Marie; and
the second voyage was also slowed quite a bit due to the ice.
It is evident that we need heavy icebreakers with the power of a Polar class icebreakers in the Great Lakes. The past two winters
the Canadian medium icebreakers CCGS Pierre Radisson and CCGS Martha L. Black had to come to the rescue. Our largest ship
with icebreaking capabilities in the Great Lakes is a combination seagoing buoy tender and an icebreaker.
In the above, note what is listed first.
MV Pedro Point and drydock gate at 10:34 AM.
USS Hoga at 10:36 AM.
USS Hoga is one of two historic tugs that were at Pearl Harbor on the Day of Infamy. The USS Nokomis was also at Pearl
Harbor but it was unfortunately recently scrapped.
The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, in East Little Rock, Arkansas beat out Pearl Harbor to have USS Hoga YT-146 as a
museum ship. USS Hoga has sat for several years at Mare Island. Ships are towed on a regular basis from Mare Island or San
Francisco to Brownsville, Texas, which is a fairly short voyage to East Little Rock.
On one tow out of the Bay, Two ships were towed in Tandem. The USNS Wyman AGS-34 and USNS Northen Light AK-284.
It would be good if the folks at East Little Rock could find a way for USS Hoga to hitch a ride.
For many years USS Hoga was the fireboat for Oakland.
USNS Salvor at Mare Island Drydock
At the Vallejo ferry terminal, Mike noted a line of
Giants fans ready to take a ferry to San Francisco to
see a game against the Brewers. The Giants won
the game by a score of 5 to 0.
USCGC Polar Star in Drydock Number 3.
USS Hoga and the Mare Island
shipbuilding area at 10:58 AM
The sail of the ballistic missile submarine USS Mariano G. Vallejo.
There was an attempt to have USS Mariano G. Vallejo as a museum ship at Mare Island. There were also attempts to being the
battleship USS Iowa, the frigate USS Knox, and the submarine USS Drum to Mare Island. Unfortunately the only museum ship
at Mare Island is USS LCS 102, brought back from Thailand. What if Mare Island was successful in obtaining all of the ships? It
would be a larger naval museum than Battleship Cove and Patriots Point. I have been to both locations. There were other
ships which could have been acquired, like the attack transport USS Crescent City, a survivor of Guadalcanal, was sent from
Mare Island to the Texas scrappers.
The view from the northern end of Independence Park looking South at 11:01 AM
View of Mare Island Drydock from the northern end of Independence Park.
USS LCS 102
At 11:16 AM, when I was almost at the location, at the southern end of the walkway, that I was going to use as a base
camp instead of the area of the fishing pier saw SS Meteor coming round the bend. Note that the ship is coming from the
West. Ships coming from inland do not make a direct turn into the Napa River, but travel a bit West, turn around, and
come into the Napa River via the West. There are some piers at the southern end of Mare Island that may make good vista
points to see the turn around, but one time I drove towards the area there was a sign stating that the area was closed.
My short lived base camp at 11:22 AM. The
Nikon camera bag, supply bag and the tripod
bad are on the bench. Left the camera
equipment bag in the car, but took the
Panasonic camera with me. Only had time to
drink a can of Arizona RX Energy Tonic and
started eating a beef stick, which was not fully
eaten until sometime later. Was prepared for
a long wait, but SS Meteor came earlier than
From base camp looking towards the fishing pier,
and beyond it a floating crane. The crane would
have blocked the view from the fishing pier, and is
the reason decided to set up base camp a bit to the
Looking North from base camp.
Looking towards Mare Island Drydocks from base camp.
Views Mike photographed AFTER the DRY SOCKING
In heading from Mare Island to the fishing pier could not go the direct way because of road construction the Mare Island Causeway
was only open to westbound traffic. Had to head North and go to Vallejo via Highway 37. Arrived at the fishing pier at about
2:05 PM after traveling 96.4 miles on the trip.
The ferry MV Vallejo passing the fishing pier at 2:06 PM.
MV Pacific Star heading home at 2:08 PM.
Looking towards Mare Island.
The floating crane which made me not to choose the fishing pier as
base camp. MV
Pacific Star in the background
MV Lynn Marie closing the gate at 2:07 PM. She is
closing the left side first. Most of the time I have
viewed the procedure, the right side was closed first.
MV Lynn Marie closing the gate at 2:15 PM. Note the yellow fishing boat heading up river.