Author Topic: Thirteen subs in eight weeks  (Read 7788 times)

Offline FER

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Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« on: October 11, 2009, 07:46:05 PM »
Hello, all.

I've been reading messages for a few days and decided it's time to join. For some years I've wanted to visit a couple of specific museum subs, and it occurred to me in early August, why not see them all? That will take a while, of course, but I'm off to a good start. Here's my list so far (in order):
TRIP 1:
Cod
Croaker
Lionfish
Nautilus
Growler
Becuna
Clamagore
TRIP 2:
Cobia
Silversides
Requin
Torsk
Ling
Albacore

Razorback and Batfish are next on my list.

Incidentally, I worked for some years at a maritime museum (no subs) so my interest is both submarines and their preservation and interpretation as artifacts of history.

-FER
PS: for a message board experiment, I'm attaching a thumbnail view of some photos of each of the boats I've visited, except Albacore.


Offline Tom Bowser

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2009, 05:55:39 PM »
Let me know when you are coming to the Drum so I can give you the grand tour
Tom

Offline Lance Dean

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2009, 09:52:46 PM »
Welcome to the forum FER!

Offline JTheotonio

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2009, 10:58:25 AM »
Well "FER" sure that is a lofty goal to see all of our museum boats!  :crazy2:  I always say you can never see too many submarines.

Welcome aboard FER - stand a few watches here and you will be giving tours on some of these boats one day!  There is a lot of information passing through this place.

Be careful when you get into that After Torpedo Room - those guys can be real pranksters!  :2funny:  The more sophisticated TM lives up at the front of the boat! LOL At least we have better Gilly! :angel:
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Offline Darrin

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2009, 05:34:10 PM »
Awww John,
Don't tell him about the ATR TM's, because they don't play too many pranks on the new folks :2funny:  Besides Torsk has 2 Mk 45's aft now and I loaded the last one out so I guess right now I am currently 1 of 3 TM's who operate out of that space for all intents and purposes :angel:

And it looks like I have more work back in the ATR with other weapons being moved in and around Torsk. Besides I may have to recruit him to come and work with us

Offline JTheotonio

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2009, 05:47:44 AM »
 :smitten: You know I would love to play with one of those MK 45's - I'd even supply the Gilly!  ::)
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John

Offline FER

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Twenty-one subs in six months
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2010, 04:17:29 PM »
Well, I'm now up to 21. While the middle of the country was suffering with cold, I drove to the south and west where it was 75 degrees and sunny most of the time, and I hit some subs along the way. The only subs in the continental US (open to the public and enterable) that I have not yet visited are USS Blueback and USS Drum. I also have not yet seen Bowfin, Marlin, and Onondaga.

Quick thoughts from my recent trip:
* USS Razorback --it's a time capsule. Great tour. Go and see. The conning tower is open to visitors (for halfway visits), see Batfish below. And they do a nice job explaining its Turkish service, too.
* USS Cavalla --deteriorating and with little interpretation. Skip it. Pretty spot for watching shipping traffic though.
* Foxtrot in San Diego --not bad but it could use better interpretation. The SD Maritime Museum is worth the visit no matter what, btw.
* USS Dolphin --small but unique. Worth seeing as probably the most modern US sub on display. Minimal interpretation.
* Foxtrot in Long Beach --very nice. Lots of small details displayed and good, albeit corny, interpretation via recordings in each compartment.
* USS Pampanito --excellent condition. Floating and in fact bobbing about and groaning in the swells that make it into SF bay. the interior is a bit "protected" by plexiglass, maybe not surprising considering the city location, and the interpretation is minimal unless you pay $2 for the audio tour.
* USS Batfish --nice. An out-of-the-way location. The museum is so basic that it feels "family-owned" but they do a good job. The sub is well-preserved and the interpretation is fair. They could benefit from an audio system. Like Razorback, the conning tower is partially accessible.

-FER

Offline Rick

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2010, 04:06:08 PM »
Thank you for the feed back from the Batfish guys.  We are working at getting this up to speed and this helps out a lot.

Rick

Offline FER

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2010, 08:24:16 PM »
Rick of USS Batfish,

Since you're reading here, I just have to say, you folks really should shout it out on your web site and in your other materials that you have a great view into the conning tower of your submarine. That cage structure is a great idea. It's really quite unique. Only Razorback has better access of the 21 subs that I have visited, unless I missed one. On most subs, the conning tower is completely inaccessible or at best one can peek into it through a forbidding metal grating. To make this worthwhile, any text intended for the general public would need to explain the significance of the conning tower and its great importance to the operations of the submarine (I tell people, at least those who might get the pop culture reference, that they should "think of the bridge of the starship Enterprise with all its bridge crew, controls, and instruments, crammed into a walk-in closet").

Also, Batfish looks so exotic there in that grassy crater. It looks almost like it has been dropped there by space aliens. It's a very unusual siting with no obvious connection to the river, let alone the sea, and you folks should play that up. I understand how it got there, of course, but the decades that have elapsed seem to have erased any evidence of the channel that brought Batfish to that location.

Finally, just to reiterate, I really enjoyed my visit down there. Nice sub, nice little museum.

-FER


Offline MWALLEN

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2010, 09:57:50 PM »
Quote
you folks really should shout it out on your web site and in your other materials that you have a great view into the conning tower of your submarine

I have pictures on the websites' virtural tour:

http://www.ussbatfish.com/tour-ct.html

Mark
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Offline MWALLEN

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2010, 09:59:43 PM »
Quote
They could benefit from an audio system

We could benefit from all that money promised us by certain politicians and car salesmen.

Mark
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

Offline FER

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2010, 04:44:39 PM »
Mark,

You wrote:
"I have pictures on the websites' virtural tour"

It's a nice virtual tour, too. And quite a few submarine museums have such virtual tours. There's a really fine one for the USS Pampanito. Here's their tour of the conning tower:

http://www.maritime.org/tour/ct.php?pano=fl

But people don't drive hundreds of miles to see virtual tours. :-) And a virtual tour frequently includes views that are completely irrelevant to an actual vistor. If you visit Pampanito, you will find that the conning tower is blocked by a grating. The wonderful views found in their virtual tour are indeed "virtual". I managed to get the lense of my camera through it and grab a few awkward photos, but it's certainly not accessible. By contrast that dome-shaped grating on Batfish lets a visitor stand on the ladder head-and-shoulders inside the conning tower for a much better view. It's rather unique. As I say, as far as I remember, only Razorback has better access (it's wide open though they ask that you climb only halfway up the ladder --waist height).

So there's a simple thing that you may want to emphasize to draw more visitors to your submarine. Why wouldn't you?! They can get a good look around one of the most important compartments in the submarine; a compartment which is completely inaccessible in the great majority of submarines on display. THIS MAKES BATFISH MORE IMPORTANT.

As for audio tours and the money promised by "car salesmen" and such, the nice thing about an audio tour is that you can start simple and upgrade gradually. Ideally, you want a famous voice-actor (how about Martin Sheen? He's not busy last time I checked) and a discreetly hidden sound system with optional tracks, and motion-sensor activation, etc., etc., and it will cost thousands of dollars. One can dream, right? But you could install a simple system for a few hundred and probably convince a local college to help with the voice-acting and sound studio requirements. USS Cod has a nice audio system, good in design concept, audio, and technical execution. Maybe they could help... ?

-FER


Offline Viejo

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2010, 04:43:59 AM »
FER, the Marlin is open to the public. We opened last year, one Saturday a Month and now are open the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Saturdays of the month. Also, we give a lot of special tours, so anytime you are going to be in the Omaha area, let me know and I'll be glad to run up and give you a tour of both shipos.  If you want to see the insides of the ships and also descriptions of our exhibits in the park, which include the only complete collection of WWII AA guns, take a look at the page for Freedom Park on Facebook
http://facebook.com/FREEDOMPARK  
Viejo
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Offline SOB

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2010, 12:44:30 PM »
If you visit Pampanito, you will find that the conning tower is blocked by a grating. The wonderful views found in their virtual tour are indeed "virtual". I managed to get the lense of my camera through it and grab a few awkward photos, but it's certainly not accessible. By contrast that dome-shaped grating on Batfish lets a visitor stand on the ladder head-and-shoulders inside the conning tower for a much better view. It's rather unique.
[/i]

I can speak to this problem fairly directly.

Early on, there was a major push to make PAMPANITO's Conning Tower [indeed, the whole boat] fully accessible. We were foiled by our lawyers and insurance company.

The major issue for PAMPANITO is that it is located in California and trying to obtain injury insurance that will permit the visiting public to climb vertical ladders is so damn expensive that it is simply unaffordable. Every two years or so, PAMPANITO gets multiple bids on insurance coverage including an option to open the Conning Tower. The premium quotes for that added coverage are even higher every time. BATFISH's dome approach is great except in PAMPANITO's case, there is still that vertical ladder problem.

PAMPANITO does have a solution, however - any subvet who identifies himself as such and signs the logbook not only gets free admission to the boat, he can also have access to the Radio Room and Conning Tower.

In addition, Docents are permitted to take non-subvet visitors into the Conn on a discretionary basis. This policy is not advertised because it is a selective risk PAMPANITO's management is willing to take. This is touchy because the general visitor will feel "cheated" if the Conning Tower appears to be open to some but not to all.

I've actually been physically threatened because we were doing work in the Conn and I stood on the ladder, blocking the ungrated hatch. A  visitor demanded that I permit him to go into the Conn "because those guys are up there..." As you can see, it is a touchy situation at best.

PAMPANITO has a conning tower in the warehouse with hopes of a dockside museum someday that will allow even ADA access to a conning tower.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2010, 01:10:50 PM by SOB »

Offline Mark Sarsfield

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Re: Thirteen subs in eight weeks
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2010, 03:47:43 PM »
Quote
  PAMPANITO has a conning tower in the warehouse with hopes of a dockside museum someday that will allow even ADA access to a conning tower.

That's really the best way to do it.  Create a mock-up (or if you're really lucky, you have an original) for the public to walk through.

When we do events on the Batfish, we will unlock the domed grate, but leave it in place when we are not up there... pretty hot in the summer and cold in the winter, anyway.  We use it for our 1MC computer system, but don't hang out there much, otherwise.  Maybe that will change once we improve the lighting and get scope replacements.

Regards,
Mark Sarsfield
USS Batfish reenactor



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