Nearly one thousand people visited the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Invincible yesterday, making the most of the fiesta and the ship being open to the public. A vast cross section of the community went aboard the carrier, from the very young, to the elderly and there was a large mixture of nationalities all fascinated by the inside of an aircraft carrier and eager to find out how the ship operates and works. The star attractions were the helicopters and the Sea Harriers, with teams of servicemen and women on hand to answer any questions, but the biggest crowd pullers, especially for the younger members of the visitors, were the machine guns mounted on the helicopters and the array of weapons on show in the hangar. Throughout the day there was a steady flow of people, many of whom were forced to make the long walk round the Dique del Oeste because of the new strict security measures introduced to protect the Royal yacht moored in the Porto Pi naval base nearby. Had it not been for the tight security, even more people would have visited the ship. But apart from looking around the workings of the ship, as always there are plenty of interesting titbits to learn from members of the crew. For example apart from housing tons of equipment, weapons and aircraft, the hangar is also used as a stage for the theatrically-minded members of the 1'000-strong crew. Only the other night a pantomime was staged in the vast hangar. Other onboard entertainment is provided by the carrier's very own television station and there is always a rush to get a copy of the ship's “gossip” sheet. Visiting the Invincible one of the most obvious features is that she is a happy ship. Nothing was a problem for the members of the crew on duty for the benefit of the visiting public and those in charge of the guns the public were allowed to handle appeared to be having as much fun as the visitors.

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