Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hail to the Queens

Today I witnessed an event that may never happen again. The Queen Mary 2, currently the world's largest luxury ocean liner, met her namesake, the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.

I chose to play hooky from work so that we could make it a family event. Since we have our annual passes, we decided to kill some time at the Aquarium of the Pacific before the historic event. It turned out to be a pretty good plan: the aquarium was empty at 9am, and we ended up getting a great, albeit distant, view of the two ladies meeting. And of course, I took some pictures.

I had expected the QM2 to get a little closer to the QM than she did, but I'll take what I can get. The photo below gives you a good idea of where we were:

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For that reason, I had to rely on the digital zoom on my camera. This may explain why some of the photos are a bit fuzzy. Here are some more:

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The QM2 was lead by a LAFD fireboat firing water from all cannons, which is always a sight to see. There also were blimps, helicopters, skydivers, skywriters with messages of "Hail the Queens" and "Welcome Queen Mary 2," and boats--lots of boats. I don't think I had ever seen so many helicopters over my head since they sprayed malathion to rid us of the overhyped Mediterranean fruit fly invasion back in the 90s.

The highlight of the day was when the ladies saluted each other with blasts from their horns. The QM2 went first, which was loud but muffled. The crowd cheered.

Then the QM blew her horn, and the locals went absolutely nuts. I'm not saying it was loud, but you could practically feel the bass hitting your chest. She's indeed a grand old ship, and when the wind blows just right, we can hear the horn blast at home (we're about 7 miles away). It's something you grow to love if you live in Long Beach.

I'm also trying something different: panoramic shots. They were the only way to crop to the subjects:

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And finally, here they are in the same shot:

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You won't likely ever see this again.

Oh, and just as we arrived, there was a camera crew from Paramount Studios loading up some equipment after what appeared to be the end of a day of shooting. It was obvious some filming was going on beforehand, but who knows what for. I guess I'll find out eventually!

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