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.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Odd Surface Ships

With today being the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attack on USS Cole (DDG 67), I was looking through some material and saw this picture of Cole being carried home by MV Blue Marlin:

Other pictures of Blue Marlin show it carrying lots of interesting large loads that would be fairly unusual to see through a periscope. Probably the most unexpected thing I saw was when I was on USS Topeka (SSN 754) doing a Mission Vital to National Security off the coast of Country Orange. We were taking over from the previous watchsection that was led by the Nav, who had notoriously bad eyesight. He was on the 'scope, and turned over to me to look at the "trawler" that was our only visual contact; he had assigned it a masthead height of 50 feet, giving it a range of about 6000 yards. I took a look and realized it was a very small powerboat, and the "mast" was a guy sitting on a bench in the middle of the boat -- MHH ~ 5 feet. You do the math.

What's the strangest thing you've ever seen through the periscope?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a ship, but we drove through a field of dead cows in the Arabian Gulf. Each one was terribly distended. I thought that if we had hit one it would "pop" and cover the headwindow with cow innards.

10/12/2013 5:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As contact coordinator, I saw a guy with a small spotlight leaning over the front of a 20' boat. He was about 50 feet away.

10/12/2013 5:55 PM

Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

Not actually through the scope itself, but on the monitor in ESM: A five-master, off the coast of Sicily.

10/12/2013 6:07 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

I don't know if you would classify it as strange, but the "wallpaper" on my PC is a picture I took of an ice burg in the North Atlantic through the periscope. If we had stayed on course and speed we would have received a great "OWEE" on the nose from it.

10/12/2013 7:13 PM

Blogger KellyJ said...

Yeah, dead animals in the Arabian Gulf (oh to have been allowed to torpedo the "sheep ship")...what's the mast-head on a cattle horn?
The dude fishing in the Gulf...sitting on the benchseat of a 15 foot boat. MHH 3'; wait he's standing now; MHH 5'.
The underside of a submarine when an "unknown discharge" started (did he just blow Sans?).
Going to PD when a pod of Dolphins started playing in front of the scope...scared the cr@p out of the OOD; which is a good thing I guess.

10/12/2013 7:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Flip Ship doing its thing off San Diego.

10/12/2013 8:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A dead Hajji while surfaced in our Navigators hot steaming box in the Persian gulf. XO wanted to bring him on deck for identification. CO called him an idiot in control, I spit coffee out my nose on that one.

10/12/2013 8:28 PM

Anonymous Former Squadron Rider said...

Waterspout off Norfolk. Sonar initially called it a powerboat making 80 kts. XO wouldn't let me call away "Tornado Evasion."

10/13/2013 12:39 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Seagulls taking a break on the FWA was always good for a laugh.

10/13/2013 6:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


...after spending the entire watch looking at an absolutely black, zero-light seascape.

10/13/2013 7:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As contact coordinator: uninvited submerged "Country F" periscope at X,000 yards.

Skipper drove at 'em at a full bell. That woke 'em up. A close-by loitering P-3ish aircraft came zooming in to let us know they had friends.

Outcome: we hit the beach and fucked their women. All's well that ends well.

10/13/2013 8:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A buoy drifting in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

10/13/2013 9:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The low terminal roofs of San Diego's lower Broadway piers were open to the public and complete with benches which during the wee hours of the morning, provided endless hours of periscope training on visiting boat weekends.
Once, on Raton, we set up the signal light and flashed BZ's for particularly well done performances.

10/13/2013 11:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Four guys in a dugout canoe 50 miles off the coast of Africa. We had no idea how they got that far off shore but they did not look like they were in distress in any way. They were rowing standing up, so we didn't even see them until they were a couple of hundred yards. We lowered the scope and turned away to go around them. Not likely they had a radio, but you never know.

10/13/2013 3:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's classified...but the men in fur hats were pointing at something as they drove by in a calm sea during a light snowfall.

What happened next is also classified.

10/13/2013 7:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never saw this myself but an old smoke boat sailor told me this sea story.

Some sailboat was long overdue to port and his CO got word to keep an eye out in that it was on its way from Bermuda and could be in their area. There would be 3 on board.

They came upon a sailboat while submerged and it fit the description. Through the periscope they could see 3 souls on board two women and a man at the helm, all naked.

They had been out for a couple of weeks so a good portion on the Sub’s crew in control got some periscope liberty.
When the Sub finally surfaced alongside the sailboat there was a mad scramble by the naked blow boat crew to cover themselves. Assistance was offered by the sub’s CO and he was told none was needed. Apparently the owner-navigator of the sailboat was in no hurry to make port.
Don’t know if it’s true, but it was the late 1950’s, could have been Hefner or one of the Kennedy boys.

10/13/2013 9:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 80's, an extreme close up of the under hull of a non-American boat on sea trials in murky shallow water just before we lost the top of our #2 scope. We did get a better idea of the draft of the boat after that, and we put our recent flooding and electrical fire drill learning's to real world testing. The nav gained new bottom sounder versus chart plotting expertise also.

10/14/2013 2:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

10/14/2013 6:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the underside of a freshly frozen polynya.

10/14/2013 4:54 PM

Anonymous last639eng said...

North of Maui, 6 miles off the beach. The OOD says yelps and spins the scope around. Turns out a guy in board shorts on a sailboard going pretty quick just about impaled himself on the scope. Not sure if he even saw us...

10/14/2013 4:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strange crossed-mast configuration that later turned out to be a picnic table overturned and floating in the water (very close)

10/14/2013 5:49 PM

Blogger Kelleris said...

Four guys standing up in a tiny John boat about thirteen miles off of a certain notorious East African country. Sea seemed a bit choppy to be standing up in such a tiny boat. I wouldn't leave sight of land in something that tiny, much less with 4 people in there.

10/14/2013 5:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On board the Bremerton enroute up the coast of Canada to Ketchikan for sound trials. Running at PD through glass calm seas and thick fog. WEPS decided he was tired of looking at fog and turned over the scope to me (QMOW) while he went to fire control to look at a contact that sonar had been giving us bearings. Suddenly moving left to right directly off the bow was a sharply raked mast sticking up out of the fog. I called "Bearing, Mark" and mashed the bearing button on the scope handle and then called out range 3 divisions in high power and set masthead height 150 ft. The mast disappeared back into the fog but then the funnel emerged with the female head with hair waving in the wind which then disappeared. Apparently I guestimated right because my visual generated the same distance as sonar. Meanwhile, the WEPS was muttering "BOOOOOMMMM" as he set up a firing solution. I later found out that cruise ship had my father onboard. Odd only seeing the mast and funnel and the rest of the ship obscured.

Another instance while on the scope while in the Hawaii oparea I angled the lens down and could see the the sonar dome under the water. It was that glassy calm.

10/15/2013 10:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

" On October 12, 2000, the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole was attacked by a small boat laden with explosives during a brief refueling stop in the harbor of Aden, Yemen."

"Say goodbye to the USS Kansas City.

The Wichita-class replenishment oiler, will be pulled out of the Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay Wednesday afternoon and towed to Vallejo, where it will be prepared for demolition at a Texas recycler, Kirsten Allen, a spokesperson for the Maritime Administration, said Tuesday."

Am I the only one that finds it strange that we scrap replenishment ships so that the fleet is forced to go pierside in potentially unfriendly ports with inadequate security?

10/15/2013 2:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw an FT COB getting his ass chewed by the XO on the pier when the COB showed up a few hours past the start of the work day, while the entire crew was topside painting the hull. 2 div in high power MHH.....what's the MHH of a dirt bag? Ah yes an anchor with stars on it.

10/15/2013 3:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most beautiful things I saw through the scope were Waikiki upon returning from WESTPAC, and my wife on the pier with my son.

A distant second; schools of sea-rays on the way up to P/D and schools of orcas.

10/15/2013 9:22 PM

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10/16/2013 4:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While OOD off of country ORANGE saw a herd of camels. By far the most memorable OOD watch I ever had.

10/16/2013 11:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming back from a deployment we picked up Squadron riders in Mare Island. When we pulled into SD there were wives on the pier. One was really large and an FT3 said "holy shit! She is about 3 divisions in low power, WIDE". The Squadron FT was sitting in control and said "Hey, that's my wife". FT3 was shitting his pants for another 30 minutes about the ordeal. As the Squadron FT was leaving the weapons shipping hatch he looked at the FT3 and said "I was just fucking with you" and up he went.

10/16/2013 12:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The glow of a lit cigarette....uh, what's the MHH of a cigarette?

10/17/2013 9:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming to PD I had to gasp when the scope broke and I was looking at a shark fin; forgot for a microsecond that he was out and I was in... and worried the control room party until I blurted out "No close contacts".

10/24/2013 4:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

a beach ball in the middle of the pacific.

10/24/2013 8:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Girls on the beach of a country I am not at liberty to name....

11/22/2013 9:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out USS Tunny LPSS 282 website. Vietnamese fisherman tied up to # 1 scope retrieving rubber boat paddles being released by Tunny divers prior to launch of UDT boats. Funny!


11/23/2013 3:19 PM


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