Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Seaview's polar surface--Epistle from an ex-Navy man

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In the course of the last several years, I've made reference to how Seaview's crew must have gotten smeared all over the bulkheads during this maneuver.  Anyone who has seen the opening of the Voyage feature knows how dramatics the entry, yet how bone-crunching it also might be.  Following is an email I received (edited for continuity) from an ex-Navy man.

--Mike B

Great Day Mike:
    I enjoy your SEAVIEW site.  In fact, the SSRN SEAVIEW has had an interesting affect upon me.  You see, I wound up aboard a SKIPJACK class Fast Attack submarine in Operations Compartment-Upper level and earned my "Dolphins" in 9 months versus 12-18 months.  It's not a fleet record but Damn fine for our boat.
    I noticed that in your picture of SEAVIEW surfacing at a steep angle, you said in your caption, some thing about the crew being "smeared".  I beg to differ.  From experience I can tell you that it's a hell of a ride.  Usually that maneuver is called an "Emergency Blow".  Because of the angle I would have to say it took place around 500-800 feet down.  Personally it's a really cool experience.  Some people in SONAR when they hear that we're doing it grab a trash bag and sit on it so when we take on the up-bubble they get to slide along the deck in OPS Upper Compartment.  On SONAR it sounds like rocket engines firing when they pull the Emergency Blow handles.  We call them "Chicken switches" Ahh memories.
    The thing of it is: the ballast tanks are usually under pressure of the boat sitting deep in the water, if you let the bow come that far out of the water the air in the ballast tanks vents to atmosphere pressure and you usually wind up having to execute a "normal blow" to come back up again.  SEAVIEW could avoid this if she had Flood valves at the bottom of her ballast tanks instead of open grates. (WW2 Diesel boats did)-Flood valves that is; SEAVIEW could blow her tanks dry, close the flood valves, and retain her buoyancy when she broaches.

Ex-Navy submariner.

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