Saturday, the Coast Guard station on Ediz Hook (map) was having an open house and air show to honor 100 years of Naval Aviation. I hustled myself out there. I had missed the air show, but this was an opportunity to get past that military gate, just outside which I usually park when I go out on the Hook. I've lived here going on 4 years without ever setting foot on that ground.
Visited various boats and helicopters and so on, took lots of pictures. All kinds of flags and pennants flying over everything, a naval signaling condition which is called something like 'holiday colors' or 'full-dressed in rainbow colors'. (I didn't take notes, and promptly forgot everything I was told).
USCGC Active, the cutter based in Port Angeles, was not at home; in her place was USCGC Mellon, looking downright enormous. This was not just a result of being so close to and then aboard a ship which I usually only see from across the harbor, or from outside the gate. Mellon is 378 feet long, nearly twice the size of Active (212 feet); her complement is 167 personnel. There were a lot of visitors, babies and oldsters and all; the Coasties seemed to be enjoying helping toddlers up and down ramps, and answering questions, and smiling a lot.
I took a tour of Mellon, except that the young officer leading our group got confused about the traffic flow he was supposed to be following (hope he never is the one who drives the ship!!) and kept leading us in the opposite direction of the other groups so that there was lots of confused bumping and jostling in narrow steel corridors; finally he gave up and took us back to the starting point without getting us up to the bridge or to any other of the more rewarding stops on the tour.
Mellon was launched in 1967. Her corridors are narrowed by 45 years of layers of paint.