It was a bit of an effort and took three tug boats to turn around the massive USS Bonhomme Richard in Fremantle port around one o’clock today.
The ship had been in Freo harbour together with the USS Green Bay and USS Preble for four days of R&R and Freo put up perfect 20+ degree winter weather for the sailors while they were enjoying themselves here.
There are at least two sides to every story so the media blast by an Eastern State travel agent that Perth is far too expensive to recommend it to travellers is just one side of the story. The other side is that I yesterday at the Roundhouse talked to many USA sailors who are on R&R in Fremantle this week and who told me with big smiles and real appreciation that this is the best port they have ever visited, so that’s the other side of the coin.
Five US Navy personnel have been living in the B&B next to me and I was fearing loud nights, but they have been exemplary and I have hardly noticed them living next door.
The three ships will be leaving today and I am sure the hospitality industry and retailers in Fremantle did very well this week.
Fremantle has got 20% more people living here for six days with the US Navy boosting our 30,000 residents by 6,000. The navy personnel is on a well-earned R&R after months of deployment in the Middle East fighting the Islamic State.
The Nimitz Class supercarrier Carl Vincon is in Gage Road and the sailors are being ferried to Victoria Quay by the Perth Diving Academy, while the USS Bunker Hill and USS Gridley are at berth at C Shed.