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Article and Photography by Britt Dietz | Published on April 29, 2011
 Walking down to the mess halls, I immediately noticed that we were back to full speed on the Carrier, and the rolling had actually gotten worse. Hitting over 13 foot swells now; anything that wasn't tied down was sliding around all over the ship. Getting to the First Class Mess Hall, there were several times where things fell off the walls or counters, and any chairs that weren't bolted into the ground went flying to one side or another. The talk during that time was just how bad these swells were, and how surprising they were for this voyage home and being the worst the entire deployment. A tub of silverware fell off the counter and spilled all over everywhere, and the big heated rolling food stations weren't secured, so they too started to roll until a bunch of people grabbed them and anchored them into place. It was a bit humorous to watch everything slide around, but I knew it was also pretty dangerous if everything wasn't tired or locked down. After lunch, we decided to continue working on my Tiger Qualification Standards Packet (TQS Packet: see Page 2 of the Day 2 article for more on this) by visiting all the different squadron's ready rooms. A Boeing F/A-18C Hornet sits on the back of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) Aircraft Carrier as the waves from heavy swells rock the ship back and forth. - Photo by Britt DietzA Boeing F/A-18C Hornet sits on the back of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) Aircraft Carrier as the waves from heavy swells rock the ship back and forth. - Photo by Britt Dietz Not only was this a pretty cool way to meet some of the pilots and see the ready rooms, but I also had a goal in mind to collect all the different patches of all the squadrons onboard. Thankfully, each of the ready rooms were selling different versions of the squadron's patches, so I eventually was able to collect them all over time. It was very interesting visiting the carious ready rooms as each one had its own flavor and style, painted and decorated by the squadrons. Some were really fancy, the others not so much and more basic. There were a lot of activities at each of the rooms for the Tigers to do, from interviews with the pilots and crew to watching videos of the squadrons. At this point, the rocking from the swells of the ship had reached the worst of the cruise yet; sometimes it was hard to even walk forward when you'd reach the peak of the swell. While I didn't have my sea legs yet still, once I saw that even the pilots, crew, and sailors were having trouble walking as well, I didn't feel so bad and knew the rocking was pretty bad. One Ready Room, however, had an ingenious plan on using the rocking of the ship to their advantage for a fun little ride for the kids. A rolling computer chair would be rolled to the very front of the ready room near the projector screens, and a small boy would sit on the chair with one of the flight helmets on. One of the pilots would be holding the rolling chair like a break, and once we'd hit the peak of one of the large swells, he'd let go of the computer chair and the chair and now rapidly moving kid would roll down the main isle in the middle of the ready room and to the rear where he'd be caught via 'human wire' by another pilot waiting. It was pretty fun to watch, and was a fun way to use the wild waves for fun. Each ready room had their big TV screens on to the channel that featured a 24-7 view of the flight deck. Looking at the live feed, you could see just how much we were rocking as the water would appear beyond the edge of the deck and start heading skyward to an eventual stop, then it would drop and disappear completely below the deck for a few more seconds and then eventually reappear to start the process all over again.

 Eventually heading back to the security offices, it was starting to get pretty late after all the different squadron areas of the ship we'd visited and toured. The sun would be setting soon, and there was a big security meeting coming up, so I asked if I could hang out at the Fan Tail (back) of the ship and watch the sunset. We walked to the Fan Tail where I was left to watch the beautiful sunset behind us. The very colorful sun sets behind the Pacific Ocean and the incredibly long wake as viewed from the Fan Tail deck on the back of the USS Abraham Lincoln. - Photo by Britt DietzThe very colorful sun sets behind the Pacific Ocean and the incredibly long wake as viewed from the Fan Tail deck on the back of the USS Abraham Lincoln. - Photo by Britt Dietz The churning from the massive 21 foot screws was in full gear, and our huge white wake continued on and on as far as I could see into the distance. It was loud back there with all the churning water, but very peaceful, and a beautiful place to watch the sunset. Unfortunately, the lack of clouds meant that the sunset would be rather simple, so no dramatic light beams, but I was still looking forward to it as the colors went from a yellow to an orange. Eventually my sponsor came back and we waited for the sun to set, and I was informed that it was the right conditions for the rare 'green flash' to possibly happen. Basically, this is a phenomenon with the sun setting behind the horizon at the most perfect of conditions. A green 'refraction' of light appears on the top of the light spectrum of the sun, and as such a green rim appears at the very tip top for a short time as the sun disappears behind the horizon line. A Green Flash is incredibly rare and is where more refraction and flares of light mix with the spectrum of colors and like a prism happen to project a green flash flare effect just as the last bit of the sun slips below the water. While a lot of people were at the back of the ship waiting and hoping to catch the green flame, I didn't end up seeing it nor did I capture anything of the like even though I was shooting 10 frames a second on my camera. Just above us on the second story of the fan tail someone cheered the second the sun set, so either he saw it or was just happy this day was over. Regardless, it was a very colorful orange sunset that you only can really experience when out to sea.

 With the sun now set, it was time for dinner. After having a rather nice meal, and hanging around the berthing area as I uploaded the first part of my images of the day to my laptop, it was time to head back up to the hangar deck in time for the Hotdog and Corndog social that was going on. The stage had been set up once again, and it was karaoke night and people were already singing. Tigers and Crew mingle about in the Hangar Deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln Aircraft Carrier during karaoke and hotdog social night during the Tiger Cruise 2011. - Photo by Britt DietzTigers and Crew mingle about in the Hangar Deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln Aircraft Carrier during karaoke and hotdog social night during the Tiger Cruise 2011. - Photo by Britt Dietz Grabbing two hotdogs after waiting in the very long line, we watched the karaoke for a little bit then got a bit board, so we headed back down to the security offices where I was given a special Coca Cola that was from the middle east. It was a bit different tasting than normal cokes due to the products that it was made from, it was a bit sweeter. After finishing that off and hanging around a bit longer down in the office watching a few movies that were playing on the ship's all movie channels, we headed up once again to the hangar deck to see how the karaoke was going, and found the hangar bay busy with personnel double tying down all the aircraft and supplies due to 'heavy seas.' Because of the heavy surf, the elevator bays were sealed with rolling doors, so we couldn't see outside, but you could certainly hear the waves crashing very loudly against the ship with big thumping and almost explosion sounds. We didn't stay up there long and decided after a long day it was time to head down and get ready to sleep. I ended up staying up a lot longer watching a movie and dumping the rest of the images from the day into my laptop so I could clear the cards for the next day's adventures. Finally finishing and feeling myself starting to get sleepy, I packed everything up for the night and, having learned from my mistake upon waking up earlier this morning, I locked in and secured everything that was lose and could fall as the Carrier was still rocking back and forth a lot with the huge swells. Climbing up into the bunk for the night one of the last thoughts I had with all the shaking and realizing if my really tightly tucked sheets don't hold me in I'd have a nice flight to the floor in the middle of the night, that this would be a very interesting night. And with that, the Airshow day was over.

CONTINUED IN PART 4 OF THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN TIGER CRUISE 2011 STORY, COMING SOON! CHECK BACK ON WARBIRD PHOTOS FOR THE REST OF THE 7 DAY TRIP ONBOARD THE CARRIER! FOR THE ONLINE REPORTS FROM THIS SERIES, CHECK OUT THE LINKS BELOW:

PART 1» STORYPHOTO GALLERY
PART 2» STORYPHOTO GALLERY
PART 3» STORYPHOTO GALLERY
PART 4» STORYPHOTO GALLERY

Author and photographer BRITT DIETZ has been attending airshows for as long as he can remember.  Growing up with the former Marine Corps Air Stations El Toro and Tustin in his backyard, he's been exposed to every type of modern military aircraft.  Britt began shooting photography at Airshows during the last El Toro airshow in 1997, shortly before the base closed and soon found an intense passion for the aviation photography trade. Continuing to harness this love traveling to airshows all over the West Coast, in 2003 Britt launched his first Aviation Photography website called Warbird Photos Aviation Photography, and has been shooting professional aviation photography ever since having been published in various magazines, newspapers, books, and calendars.

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