Monday, April 29, 2002

San Francisco to Sydney Snapshots - Long Beach

Our photos of Long Beach comprise photos of:

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary was built in the early 1930s and at the time was the largest passenger liner in the world and larger than the Titanic. It was christened by Queen Elizabeth's grandmother, Queen Mary, using a bottle of "Australian sparkling wine".

The Queen Mary is now permanently docked at Long Beach and functions as a hotel, conference centre and museum.

The self-guided tour led us to many parts of the ship. This display shows a Third-class cabin. There was hardly any room for luggage and the cabins were oddly shaped because of their locations on the ship.
First Class cabins including a sitting room for entertaining and plenty of storage room. The Duchess of Windsor is said to have travelled with 80 pieces of luggage.
Included in the self-guided tour was a display showing how the lifeboats are launched. Although there were lifeboat drills for all passengers and crew on the Queen Mary, the biggest challenge in a real-life situation was releasing the lifeboats on a steeply listing ship.
During World War II, the Queen Mary was deployed to carry troops to the war fields. All furnishings were stripped and stored, and the ship was painted gunmetal grey. She became known as "The Grey Ghost" and Hitler issued a reward for anyone that could sink her.

Aircraft guns were mounted on deck and these were manned by teams of six men. There is a photo in the museum showing every spare space on deck filled by soldiers - the largest number of passengers ever transported by a single ship.

This is the city skyline and marina of Long Beach as viewed from the Queen Mary.

We never did find a beach at Long Beach.

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Catalina Island

Just off the coast of California are a group of islands called The Channel Islands. The southernmost island is Catalina Island, named by a Spanish explorer in honour of Saint Catherine.

Our main reason for stopping at Long Beach was to visit Catalina Island. The main town of Avalon is just over a hour away by jet catamaran.

This is the fountain in Wrigley Plaza. It showcases the distinctive Catalina tiles.
This is a shot of the Casino.
The art deco mural at the entrance to the Casino.
The Casino is famous for its massive, circular ballroom. This is the chandelier in its centre.
A view back to Avalon from the balcony outside the ballroom.

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