Life is always full of surprises. The other night a friend asked if I had a ship's bell on my boat. I replied, "no, I don't". He got up and returned with a back pack and pulled out a ship's bell. He stated he bought it several years ago in a donation auction and always thought it needed a ship.
The SS Independence is a cruise ship:
- Built in the 50's on the east coast and in the 80's was refitted in Japan to become, along with its sister ship, The SS Constitution, an inter-island Hawaiian Cruise Line in the 80's. It ran for 20 years and the end the company went bankrupt. Her last Captain was Dana Wirkala.
- After that the ship had a miserable journey of being towed to various ports, running aground, hitting the Carquienez Bridge while heading into the Suisun Bay( Delta of California) to be mothballed, then back up to the Napa River at Mare Island Shipyard, where it grounded at the dock. It was then towed back to the Bay area and docked for years.
- It was bought by a shipwrecking company in India, who towed it to the Arabian Sea near the State of Gujarat in India where it ran aground on a small island just offshore. It lies, stuck, listing at 35 degrees and rusting.
- I am familiar with this sailing ship from seeing it many times in the Hawaiian waters, remember it hitting the Carquinez Bridge, as I had Shatoosh in the Delta at the time, have run aground on the Napa River myself, and have cruised past the mothball fleet in Suisuin Bay trying to find Montezuma Slough.
- Was an aircraft carrier used in the Viet Nam era and her sister Ship was the USS Saratoga, based out of Yokuska, Japan. I am very familar with the Saratoga, when being a Captain stationed in Yokohama, Japan in late 60's, we were frequent guests onboard the Saratoga, as I dated one of the young officers. We had many wonderful dinners onboard in the Captain's Mess when they were in port.