Saturday, December 20, 2008

USS Bowfin

Yesterday, we went to visit the USS Bowfin, a Naval submarine which is now a historic landmark located next to the USS Arizona.

The Bowfin went on nine patrols during WWII and is credited with threading her way through enemy mine fields in Tsushima Straight and using her torpedos to sink the 1,898-ton transport Shinyo Maru and the 887-ton freighter Akiura Maru.

Yes, I said mine fields. When you are inside the Bowfin realizing that 80 men had to live and work together inside there, it seems very small. But when you are looking at the outside of it, realizing that someone was trying to guide it through floating mines, it seems impossibly huge!

These pseudo rockets are there to greet you as you arrive. I'm not really sure what they are for. I could make a joke about the Navy painting it's name on something that screams "Size Matters!" But that would be inappropriate, I'm sure.

Kerry read this. I took a picture of it and will read it later, probably.

A park ranger swiped my camera from us and ordered us to go stand where she could take a group shot.

I liked her.

Close up!

Those little things hanging around everyone's necks are for the audio tour. As you walk through the submarine you see signs with a red number or a blue number on them. If you are an adult, you type in the red number on your personal audio device and listen to a recording about what the area was used for. If you are a kid you type in the blue number and apparently listen to the same thing in a more kid friendly version. I'm not sure what theirs was like as they all passionately declined to use it despite repeated assurances on mine and Kerry's part that it was really interesting. Through many years of homeschooling, the kids have learned to be wary of anything that's supposed to be fun but sounds suspiciously like they might learn something.

The first thing we had to do was walk down this very narrow ledge to get to the other end of the sub. This made me nervous. I wasn't afraid that I would fall in.
Oh no.
I was worried about Katie. She has yet to master the art of walking in a straight line. She has a habit of dancing her way through life, flinging arms and legs out in various, unexpected directions as she goes.

While this often causes her to trip and fall (although not usually down the side of a submarine into the ocean) it often causes those around her to suddenly trip and fall also and has led to many a heated battle in our family about who has to walk in front of whom.

Katie and Emily enjoyed sitting in the gunner's seats and looking through the binocular thingies.

Ben really got into manning the guns. That kid leads a rich fantasy life.

I don't know where he gets it.


I'm not sure why I took this picture.

Kerry's a good father. He holds Katie up so she can see through the thingy. Notice he has on his head phones. He is learning something. That was his own choice. I did not make him.

At some point Kerry was leaning over the side of the sub and saying, "Look! Look!" There was a fish nibbling gunk off the side of the sub. "Take a picture! Take a picture!" he and the kids yelled at me.
"I don't know, I don't think that's really going to show up," I said dubiously.

"Take a picture!" they commanded.
So I took the picture.

The doors in the sub are really tiny. I had to duck my head low and step up high to get through them. I can't imagine how grown men did it quickly without giving themselves concussions on a regular basis.

On the right is the bathroom, on the left is the shower. I wondered, on a ship full of men, if they even bothered to shut the door. The space was so tiny, it seemed like it would be difficult to be in there with the door shut. You know how men are. Surely they didn't care.

This is in the crew's quarters. It's one big room with triple bunk beds all over it. When one sailor got off duty, he went and woke up his replacement. The replacement climbed out of bed and the sailor climbed into it. That way they didn't need a bed for every person on the sub.

This is the junior officer's quarters which is supposed to be better than the bunk room because it has a desk and a sink. It still has the three bunk beds, but clearly not enough space for three people to stand up in there at the same time. I think I would have ditched that desk somewhere.


  1. I think the rest of your family enjoys your blogging as much as you do! I feel a homeschool project coming...

  2. Well, *I'm* enjoying learning through your family's adventures. :-P

  3. You are as good as Lewis Grizzard. I LOL all through this one. GG