Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

USS Annapolis In The Arctic

Because it's winter, here's a very cool picture of USS Annapolis (SSN 760) surfaced through the ice back in March 2009:

What's the coldest you've ever been on a submarine? For me, it was a surface transit through the Straits of Juan de Fuca and down the Washington coast (because an incoming SSBN had all the submerged water in the area) in December 1991. I went through 3 lookouts on that watch. I was The Man.


Anonymous 610ET said...

Coldest thing:

Surfaced in the middle of patrol for a couple of days on reduced electrical power because of a problem “back aft”.

Coolest thing:

Surfacing during a different patrol at midnight to rendezvous with a SSN to transfer some unexpectedly acquired information to them. Just like the movies except for the absence of a hot babe or two.

1/09/2011 10:01 PM

Blogger Ted said...

In Engine Room Lower Level while under the arctic ice. Ice forming in the bilge....

1/09/2011 10:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ice in the bilges during a couple of operations of great importance to national security.

On the Bridge going in to Chinhae, Korea in January. The pilot kept pressing to go 15 knots. It was so cold and miserable that I couldn't think.

1/09/2011 10:42 PM

Anonymous ssnret said...

Never made a Northern Run so I would have to say all 4 of my boats in drydock in Feb. Ice in the bilge.

1/10/2011 12:14 AM

Anonymous Mike said...

ood off korea, rigging bridge for dive when genius nav turns broadside to swells and wave comes over top drenching lookout and I.
also ood coming in, change vent lineup and instead of air coming up thru bridge trunk, now sucking the cold air by us and down trunk. extended wear contact got slushy with all the moisture in them starting to freeze. co in his hi dollar personal exposure suit, grouses when we ask control to send up coffee to help keep us alive.

1/10/2011 3:20 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Seems to me that winter in New London was colder than any Northern run I've ever made! Absolute coldest wasn't on a submarine...It was on an aircraft carrier. In the Bering Sea. In February.

1/10/2011 3:21 AM

Blogger Nate said...

ICEX 2007. You could see your breathe in the horseshoe.

1/10/2011 5:20 AM

Anonymous Veemann said...

Any winter surfaced transit in/out of New London. Lots of topside ice on RTP. Also, long Pacific transits where the control room temp seemed to stabilize around 53. I spent many a midwatch wearing the the old green foul weather jacket.

1/10/2011 7:22 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Certain underway in 1988. Seawater injection temperature 28 degrees.

Off the boat? LOTS colder. I used to live in southern Idaho as a kid and lots of trips to Yellowstone, etc. -40 was not uncommon in West Yellowstone, and -25 was achieved at least 10-20 days a year in Idaho (bowl valley--think inversion layers like Alamosa, Colorado.) Makes the coldest I've seen here in NH (-20 once) seem almost warm.

1/10/2011 7:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what everyone else said about ERLL

One contest was to see how long you could hold your bare buttcheeks against the MSW pump manifold.

1/10/2011 9:00 AM

Anonymous MentalJim said...

Bluenosse ceremony was rather chilly when I had to sit on a 5 gallon bucket of ice while getting hosed down by cold water after crawling back out of a torpedo tube.

Also cold was manning the bridge after surfacing through the ice. We had to surface and go up there with a handheld GPS to get a fixes after an encounter with the ice sheared of our GPS radome from the Bra-34.

1/10/2011 9:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Topside watch in Holy Loch. The wind was a killer.

1/10/2011 9:46 AM

Anonymous STSC said...

Topside Sentry on the midwatch in February at the old State Pier in Groton - tied up outboard the USS Fulton on my first boat. The POOD hung out just inside the Fulton next to the brow, sheltered from the 20-30 knot wind and in relative luxury since it was around 50-60 in there.

The sentry however was chained to the deck w/ a deck-crawler. I had on a submarine sweater, foul weather jacket, and on top of all that I was wearing a pumpkin suit, then a harness, then the ancient (& mildewed) orange kapok. Extreme foul weather boots were in short supply. I wore a pair 5 sizes too big but they were way better than boondockers. Artic mittens with the fur on the back of the hand (also covered in ice-encrusted snot) over the boot camp issue gloves and your fingers still felt frozen the whole time.

I felt like a neglected junkyard dog. Calls for hot beverages would take an hour to show up. The only reason the BDW probably survived my wrath was because I couldn't reach the .45 at my hip over all that gear.

If you had a moustache your snot was frozen to it half an hour into the watch.

It definitely gave me motivation to qualify NWSG rapidly and way ahead of schedule. Torpedo room was toasty! Later on as a BDW the next year I would bring up a pitcher of hot chocolate or cofee every hour, or even more frequently when requested. Saner heads eventually prevailed and we started dogging the midwatch sentry w/ 2hr watches from midnight to 0600.

Blue-nose ceremony in the Arctic was also very cold but that misery was shared & so entertaining that it didn't really bother me much at all.

1/10/2011 1:33 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

The coldest I have been was during a surface run into Yokosuka during a driving rain and a similar surface event entering Holy Loch some fifteen years later. The worst extended period of cold was on an operation of national importance during the winter on BARBEL and it was necessary for the MMs and ENs to chip ice out of the Induction intake so we could keep snorkling. After chipping the ice to get enough suction, we took to securing snorkling every two hours and flooding the pipe between the head valve and the induction valve, then rocking the boat fore and aft, and opening the induction valve so the water and ice could end up in the engineroom bilges. This meant the ice chippers only had to chip ice once a week. Long underware and coats were the order of the day.

1/10/2011 1:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SpecOp late 72 north of you-know- where on smoke boat. Coldest nights snorkeling to charge batteries. Air temp 17 degrees dumping out of snorkel induction into engine room. Oiler and Throttleman wearing foul weather gear on watch in engine room with three engines running. Spray that was being sucked over head valve and running down snorkel induction mast was freezing in the moisture separator constricting diameter of snorkel induction causing vacuum in boat to increase. What helped was going to two engines then one engine on finishing rate of battery charge. Damn sure was cold up there.

Keep a zero bubble..........


1/10/2011 1:39 PM

Blogger FT2(ss) said...

San Diego, when we had all the electronics turned off but the water was still running through all the equipment.

It was my 21st birthday and I returned to the boat a bit too inebriated. As I went to berthing to sleep I looked up at my rack and said "there is no way I am getting up there". Grabbed my pillow and blanket and headed to control and into fire control. I figured that I couldnt fall out of fire control. 3 hours later I wake up and realize that it was really cold on the deck.

1/10/2011 3:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Return from patrol in the Straits of Juan de Fuca as surface OOD in January 2008...bone chilling

1/10/2011 4:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We surfaced in North Atlantic during Cold War for one man to go aloft on sail with a large wrench to tighten 16 (or 18?) large hex nuts on an access panel. Although very, very cold, every other sole but me was still inside the semi-submerged pressure hull.

Tightened every nut though found none really loose. No one ever volunteered whether my action had stopped the extraneous noise.

Looking back, it is now obvious how very much I had trusted the CO, etc. At the time, I had never given it a thought.


1/10/2011 6:37 PM

Anonymous hamptonplankowner said...

Sleeping on a cold cement park bench in lisbon harbor waiting for the morning ferry to get us back to the nato pier, uss will rogers(gold)

1/10/2011 8:42 PM

Anonymous MT1(SS) WidgetHead said...

Close to Thanksgiving in 2005, we surfaced in a sorted vicinity of the North Polar Region to meet up with a Trafalgar class. We had the duel purpose of training and observation. (Nope, it had nothing to do with missiles or mines or other bad things, I promise!)

We were only there to take temperature readings, and play kick ball between both crews in a joint effort. Plus we made some nice discoveries regarding ornithology of winter birds...Lol.

What I really liked, was that there was almost no wind when standing topside watch and it was an easy -20F. The conditions were quiet and clear which also helped. It didn't feel as cold as it actually was.

My main concern was looking out for 800LB polar bears. Even armed with an M9 and a M16A2, I have a feeling I would have only pissed off the bear should we have had a confrontation.

Plus, I had to drink a shitload of coffee and water, because of our altitude once we surfaced. Dehydration was no joke.

We did receive the Artic service ribbon for our 38 day "excursion." How can I bitch about that along with receiving 2 months of hazardous duty pay? Go over 30+1 duty days and it's a carry over to 60 days regarding extra duty pay. Might have been cold, but not a bad deployment all in all.

1/11/2011 1:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming out of Portsmouth NSY in NH. Feb 2009. Got to the right turn to head down river and hit the perfect funnel of weather. Snow, wind, and waves. Whatever wasn't covered was wet and cold. COB pouring hot water on the cleats so they would roll. Parted a line on the tug, lost the jacobs ladder, and took the pilot on a week underway through sea trials and on to PCAN. The next 24 hours of surface transit wasn't fun either but nowhere near as bad.

1/11/2011 4:11 AM

Anonymous Carl said...

Sorry Widgethead ... I can't let this alone ...

"Plus, I had to drink a shitload of coffee and water, because of our altitude once we surfaced. Dehydration was no joke."

Actually, your altitude was no different than any other surfacing we've all done. Sea level.

Now the humidity and cold at those latitudes is low and lower. That will dehydrate you quickly!

1/11/2011 5:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

February 1989, USS Jack, New London.

Erosion in sanitary tank discharge line caused piping failure while blowing sanitaries. Subsequent repairs prohibited use of onboard heads.

Seat of topside porta-potty was butt-chilling.

1/11/2011 6:48 AM

Blogger nooner said...

George Bancroft, maneuvering watch leaving Portsmouth NSY (New Hampshire), March, 1982 (I think), bridge JA phonetalker. The COB had us decked out with everything he had, including those white gloves with green wool liners, the shipyard hardhat liners, and the old-style rubberized foul-weather gear. I knew it was going to be cold and had donned thermal underwear. We stationed the watch very early for the underway, about an hour and a half before we cast off. I think the delay was the weather. It was cold, moist, and windy with snow flurries and fog. The fog lifted, we left, and I just couldn't get warm enough until I went back for watch in AMR2UL. Luckily, our next stop was PCAN for the new Trident C4 testing.

1/11/2011 7:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ex 760 WEPS says: I did that particular surfacing, and YES, it was about ~-30 (without windchill) that particular day. Note that I missed the shoveled out markings on the snow by about 100 yds. During the course of our ops there, my surfacings got better and better, until I was actually able to miss by about 10 yds on our final surfacing that we did with an embarked news crew. This op was the most fun I had in these 20 years of service.

1/11/2011 9:46 AM

Anonymous SubmarineTroll said...

In the late 80's we did a perstrans at Adak. I was the lookout and it was early FEB. Kinda nippy up there that time of the year.

1/11/2011 12:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure the picture is from the exact same surfacing, but those of us from the USS HELENA remember seeing an ANNAPOLIS dive from MAR09. The ANNAPOLIS looked like a seesaw with the sail and rudder alternating poking through the ice canopy.

I think ADM Donald was onboard with the camera crew. Must have been a fun conversation with the ADM after the 10 minute diving evolution.

1/11/2011 3:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

By far the best tale is from the USS Jack (6:48 AM), IMOH.

Unfortunately, we may be reading something original there, unless someone manages to find an earlier telling (which neither negates nor by any means proves a fantastic falsehood).

Justification of such a farfetched solution (porta-potty) when subs have multiple, independently piped sanitary systems does amount to a a significant puzzle, however.

Curious sailors can wander over to USS Jack's homepage, which is especially well done!


1/11/2011 5:18 PM

Anonymous MT1(SS) WidgetHead said...

"Carl said...

Sorry Widgethead ... I can't let this alone ...

"Plus, I had to drink a shitload of coffee and water, because of our altitude once we surfaced. Dehydration was no joke."

Actually, your altitude was no different than any other surfacing we've all done. Sea level.

Now the humidity and cold at those latitudes is low and lower. That will dehydrate you quickly!

1/11/2011 5:56 AM"

No sorrys at all Carl. You've made a solid point. It might just behoove me in life to learn the difference between latitude and longitude.

For some reason, being that far North makes me feel like we're on a higher plain. I know that sounds screwy. That's just how I perceive it to some extent.

1/11/2011 5:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And it gets worse...

Since the earth is an oblate spheroid, altitude at the poles is about 13 miles less than at the equator.

Net result – a low altitude surface?


Old Chief from the dark ages

1/11/2011 5:55 PM

Anonymous 594Tuff said...

Port visit to Nova Scotia winter 88. Pulling in the OOD decided to test the flexibility of the sonar dome and bumbed the quay wall. Set up and ran a dive op to inspect and p;lace a fiberglass patch over the scratched section. Of course we had not dry suits at the time so we alternated hot shower-10 min in the water rotating the 4 of us. I was never so happy to have drank so much coffee in my life. On the plus side we had a lobster feast for DV01 and the support the team who gave up the first night of liberty.

1/11/2011 7:34 PM

Anonymous 617Gold said...

Holy Loch, 1 hr before crew turnover and we all have our dress blues on for the flight home. Topside slips into the drink in between the outboard boomer. Quick-thinking got him back but he was frozen. To add insult to injury. The outboard ship dressed their divers and conducted man-overboard drills as we were leaving.

1/11/2011 7:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Between winter topside watch in Holy Loch, NL, and bridge lookout in transit, I've had a enough butt freezing experiences for a lifetime. There is simply no escape.

Damn cold underways as well. I wouldn't have stuck my ass on the MSW manifold on a dare for any reward.

1/11/2011 10:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


On USS Jack, the discharge line from one of the sanitary tanks ran through the other sanitary tank. That's where the eroded bend in the pipe burst, sending the pressurized discharge from a hard sanitary tank into a soft sanitary tank, and from there up through sinks in the crew's head and wardroom staterooms. That's why both sanitary tanks were out of commission at the same time.

Fortunately, this disaster happened inport, although the higher pressure typically associated with blowing sanitaries in February probably caused the eroded portion of pipe to burst earlier than it otherwise would have.

1/12/2011 11:54 AM

Blogger tennvol said...

I will also go with the winter surface transits to/from New London.

Also, the walk from the parking lot at EB to the boat during winter. The wind blowing off the water between the buildings was mind numbingly cold.

1/12/2011 12:12 PM

Anonymous STS2 said...

I was standing topside watch one time in Pearl Harbor, it was raining like crazy and windy, started getting really cold. I pissed myself and it really helped.

1/12/2011 2:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did "winter" a dive in San Diego to replace a probe. Didn't think I would be in the ~55 degree water long, so only wore a shorty. I was the only guy in the water. Had a safety line attached, with the dive sup and standby diver topside. My legs ended up going numb, so I pulled myself up the safety line. They had to haul me up the cone. Took forever to get my teeth to stop chattering.

1/12/2011 3:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting hit with a broaching wave in the North Atlantic during an emergency personnel transfer. Soaked in ice cold water as it washed down the W/S hatch, lucky not to have been washed overboard. He ended up going out of the sail hatch and down the ladder to a zodiac boat.

1/12/2011 6:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breaking out the prodedure to brine the retention tanks in the AO, fog in ERLL wes up to our knees.

1/13/2011 4:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last was the coldest I saw the boat get, peronal cold was tending the divers when we caught a net with our screw a few hundred mile south.

1/13/2011 4:55 AM

Blogger hughmon said...

Firth of Clyde. I was full bearded at the time -my PO1 on the BCP took a picture of my "snotsickles".

1/13/2011 3:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1985 Ice Run near the North Pole on the 651 after Bluenose intiation was "over", the CO personally tagged out ALL hot water heaters. Us initiatees all had solid cooking lard in our hair. The potable water available for showers was probably somewhere between 33 and 36 degrees. One needs nice warm water and a good quality shampoo to rid one's self of lard smeared all over one's body and hair. I can't remember ever being so cold - my skin was gray coming out the shower.

Joel, I was with you December 1991. I remember that unscheduled trip into Bangor well...

1/14/2011 12:12 PM

Anonymous subsaylor said...

PCU AUGUSTA(SSN 710) Launch day. Bright sunny day on the Thames river in Jan 1984, ~~10 deg and 20-30 pmh wind. Trapped topside for 4hrs, six people got frostbite. Took a week to thaw out.

2/14/2011 10:56 AM

Anonymous Hannibal Hector said...

Of the 3 guys on the ice, I am the one on the left. Ex760 weps actually missed it by 125'ish yards. They did get better when they threaded the needle and surfaced 10 feet from the "x" perpendicular from the way we wanted them to surface. Great job!

I look forward to the next ice camp, BTW my coldest was waiting for this boat to surface in -50 degree windchill.

2/18/2011 10:32 PM

Anonymous Mary said...

It can't succeed in fact, that's what I believe.

9/05/2012 8:02 AM


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