Another $%@*@#^! Sea Story
So there I was... Ship's Duty Officer on the good ship Topeka about a month before our initial deployment. We had dry-docked on USS Arco the previous day, and for some reason I felt safe enough (I guess not having to worry as much about sinking) to actually sleep in my rack for the first time ever as Duty Officer (I normally just grabbed cat-naps on the Wardroom as Duty Officer before that... yes, I know I was an idiot.) About 0500 on June 28, 1992, I awoke to the ship shaking violently. My first thought was "earthquake" (we were in SoCal, after all), but then I thought, "That's stupid, we're afloat". I next wondered if maybe drydocks did daily Ballast Tank blows, and that might be the reason for the shaking. I also thought that maybe an aircraft carrier was steaming down the channel at 30 knots or something. As I was trying to figure out what had happened (it took about 15 seconds) my Duty Chief bursts into my stateroom, says "We just had an earthquake", and runs out.
I jump up and ran topside (yes, I slept in my poopie suit and shoes) and found the topside watch clinging to his writing stand. For those who've never been topside on a submarine in drydock, you're standing on a curved hull, and it's about 40 feet to the floor, so it's a little scary. I made sure he was OK, did a quick check to make sure nothing was amiss, and went below to check out any damage and make phone calls. (I had combined duty with the EDO, so I was the only officer aboard.)
It turns out that the drydock, although it is afloat (and therefore shouldn't have felt the quake) also connects itself to the dock when it's fully floating, so that's how the shaking was transmitted to us. Only damage was the poly around the barrel collecting any "leakage" from "back aft" was torn off, so it wasn't too bad. This earthquake was a 7.3 (the "Landers" quake) so it shook a lot of people around.
Fast forward to about 3 hours later. The duty section has turned over, except for me; the relieving Duty Officer hadn't shown up yet. I'm back aft, and the ship starts shaking again. One of the Maneuvering watchstanders was really scared, saying "We're going to skake off the blocks and tip over" (he was a little excitable). I assured him, being the old earthquake in drydock hand that I was, that this one was only half as bad as the previous one. (Turns out I was pretty close; this was the "Big Bear" conjugate quake, which was a 6.5, but about 25 miles closer). My relief finally arrived, and I got to go home and tell my bride a new story. (When I made the phone calls, I had called her second to make sure she was OK; I did call the CO first.)
I never did sleep in my rack as Duty Officer the rest of the time I was on Topeka...