Tag Archives: ships

Submarine Ahoy!

The Dynamic Duo ready to go

The Dynamic Duo ready to go

We decided to take Mini and Motormouth to Chatham Dockyard to celebrate the little sun we were going to get this Bank Holiday weekend. We’ve been before and they both seemed to enjoy it, even if Mini is still too little to be able to look around the ships.

 

 

And the submarine.

 Tiny Boy, Huge Submarine
Tiny Boy, Huge Submarine

Motormouth loves the submarine tour and to be fair HMS Ocelot, launched in 1962, does look pretty damn impressive from the outside, even if she is propped up in a dry dock. She’s a diesel-electric submarine nearly 300′ long and 26′ wide, and the last submarine to be built at Chatham Dockyard.

And she’s painted black.

 

If I was more fanciful, I’d probably describe her as a brooding presence with an undertone of contained violence.

It’s a good job I’m not fanciful.

Not in broad daylight anyway.

 

IMAG0977Then he had to look around HMS Cavalier, where he found the bell which he had great fun ringing, and ringing, and ringing…

She dates from 1944 and is only about 60′ feet longer than the Ocelot, but she carried a complement of 263 compared to the Ocelot’s 68. It makes you realise just how much equipment they have to fit inside a sub since, even with a crew of that size, it’s really cramped.

For anyone other than Motormouth of course. He didn’t get to sit in the captain’s chair this time, the highlight of his last visit, but he’s pretty philosophical about it. He’s sure it will happen next time.

Time for a Quick Nap

Time for a Quick Nap

The last of the three ships was HMS Gannet. She dates from the late 1800s and is what you imagine an old fashioned warship would look like, all ropes and sails and teak. In fact she’s powered by both steam and sail (a nod to steampunk there) and was used as a training ship.

We also bumped into Uncle One-Liner and Auntie Patience who are regulars at the Dockyard and both the kids were pleased to see them.

 

Our main reason for visiting the Dockyard was to catch the Julia Donaldson exhibition before it closed and it was worth it. The kids got to explore different areas, each relating to a book, with giant stuffed toy characters (well, giant is a relative term, the cow’s nose only came up to my ear).

And a model whale.

Giddy up, Whale!Giddy up, Whale!

I don’t know if you’ve read the snail and the whale, but it’s my favourite Julia Donaldson story (well, of the half dozen or so that I’ve read. To the kids. Honest.) The reason it gets a special mention was Mini took a real shine to it. She had to sit on its back. Then its head. Then its tail flukes. Then she had to sit on its head again and slide down its back.

In fact, she was happy to do this during the entire story telling session (we had to nip out to deal with a toxic emission and couldn’t get back in). And yes, we had tantrums when we had to come away.

Smile!
Smile!

When the kids finally got tired of the exhibition we checked out the pipe bending room which had some wooden pegs and pool noodles the kids could use to bend into different shapes.

It took all of about 90 seconds for Motormouth to set off the alarm by poking something with his pool noodle whilst we were distracted by Mini trying to worm her way under the barrier.

We left the room then. What made it worse was all the other parents were asking us what Motormouth had done, just so they could make sure their kids didn’t do the same thing.

By this time, the Other Half and I were pretty knackered but, fortunately, so were the kids.

Its hard to tell if Mini enjoyed her day but Motormouth certainly did. They both laughed and oohed and aahed, so it can’t have been that bad.

I asked Motormouth what his favourite part of the day was and, not surprisingly, it was the submarine (after meeting Uncle One-Liner and Auntie Patience).

I’ve got a feeling we’re going to have to go there again. Maybe the rain might hold off for the next time we visit.

Nah. Never happen.