It was another full week in southern Ohio. The Cincinnati Film Festival continued and I caught a few more screening on board the Showboat Majestic. As she was being put to use for the first time in nearly two years, the wonderful old floating theater had some company. For three days, a ship from World War II was docked about a hundred yards down river from the Majestic and replicas of ships from an even earlier time parked a little upstream on the opposite bank for the entire duration of the festival. I eventually got to see all the waterborne visitors.
On Monday, I parked near the Majestic and walked over the Roebling Suspension Bridge for half-priced mac & cheese at Keystone Grill. There was hardly anyone at LST 325 when I passed her and I could have walked right on in. I foolishly decided to wait until I came back. The picture of the ship was taken from the Roebling. The Showboat Majestic can be seen just beyond her bow and sharp eyes may be able to make out the Nina and Pinta replicas over her bridge. By the time I ate and returned, there was a bit of a line but it wasn’t bad. It was time, however, for the first movie to start. Had I known it would start nearly an hour late, I’d have climbed aboard the old war ship. As it was, I walked around the showboat, including a rare visit to the unused balcony, while technical issues were worked through.
I returned to the riverfront a little earlier on Tuesday with intentions of seeing both floating displays. I headed first to the Kentucky side of the river where those sailing ships were docked. The picture at the top of this post was taken then and, as you can see, both ships were fairly well occupied. School buses were parked near by and the dock area was crowded with students waiting their turn to board. I headed back to Ohio where more buses and a long line prompted me to delay my LST visit, too. I moved on to Smale Park and checked out the lower lever garden/playground. I took some pictures that I anticipated using in this post but can see it’s going to be quite big enough without them. I’ll do an entry on the playground someday but for now I’m just posting this single photo of another visitor.
The Nina and Pinta replicas would be in town through Sunday. Not so the USS LST Ship Memorial. It was here for just three days. I’d already blown Monday by walking by and putting off boarding and I would be elsewhere Wednesday. Today was the day. I waited as long as I could then joined the line even though it was only slightly shorter than it had been in the morning. LST 325 has quite a story. Launched near the end of 1942, the LST (Landing Ship, Tank) played a role in the invasions of Sicily and Normandy as well as many other WWII operations before being decommissioned in July of 1946. She was reactivated and supported arctic construction projects between 1951 and 1961. In 1964 she was transferred to Greece where she remained until acquired by USS Ship Memorial, Inc., in 2000. Her permanent dock is in Evansville, Indiana. The three photos show visitors exiting the tank deck, the wheelhouse, and the main deck. One of the sleeping areas can be seen here and there’s a good view of the entire ship here.
On Thursday I again stopped by the sailing ships docked in Newport, Kentucky, and learned that, while a crush of students like what I’d seen on Tuesday occurred every morning, afternoons were fairly calm. I was able to board with no delay. The Nina is nearest the camera in the first picture and the second is the view on her deck facing aft. The third picture is facing the Pinta’s bow from her upper deck. Both ships were hand built in Valenca, Brazil, using 15th century methods. They are quite accurate replicas of the ships Columbus sailed to and from America in 1492 although the modern Pinta is intentionally a little larger than the original. They have no home port as they are on the move ten or eleven months of the year. Check the website to see when you might have a chance to see them. Wheeling and Pittsburgh: Here they come.