30. On Board a Submarine

Bob & Betty on Submarine30.  On Board a Submarine

The front page of the Hilo newspaper had the story that a WWII pocket submarine was anchored in Hilo Bay.  They were on a final goodwill tour around the Pacific before retiring.  One of the sailors on board was from Honokaa, a small town up the coast near Waipio Valley, and the folks there were throwing a luau for the sub crew.  The captain and a skeleton crew were left on board.

Thinking we had an opportunity for some fun and a gesture of aloha, we grabbed a couple of pineapples from the store and launched our little sailboat to go out to the submarine to hand the pineapples to the guys left on board who were missing the luau.images

Why in the world did they anchor the sub way out by the entrance to the Bay, exposed to the swells coming in off the Pacific?  We sailed alongside the sub bobbing up and down, and yelled “ahoy!” to a sailor on board, as we waved the pineapples.  They invited us to come aboard – wow!  I looked at the sailor standing on the round side of the bobbing sub.  He was wearing regulation leather soled shoes, and had his hand extended to help us up — chance it?  I took a deep breath and he pulled me aboard and helped me walk across the deck where I met the captain.

The captain thanked us for the pineapples, and explained it was their last tour.  He said his wife thought he had been “lost at sea” for 30 years, and wouldn’t know what to do with him when he got home.  Then he asked if we would like a tour below.

The steps of the ladder going down were so far apart that Betty couldn’t reach the second step, so one sailor lowered Betty to another sailor down below.  The inside of this “pocket” submarine was very tight, and we had to turn sidewise to move along the passageways.  Nobody with claustrophobia here! We saw the stacked bunks, and the control room.  It was hard to imagine living for many days in such tight confinement. I greatly prefer boating on top of the water!

The sailors lifted us up and out, and we slid down the side to our 10 ft O’Day, and sailed back to the beach.  Another once-in-a-lifetime experience on Hilo Bay.

Has anyone ever been on a submarine or Navy ship?  Love to hear your story!

4 thoughts on “30. On Board a Submarine

  1. Berta J. Ulm

    We have toured the USS North Carolina docked at Wilmington, N. C and the USS Alabama at Mobile Bay, Alabama. The ship used in Shogun was docked at Buford, N. C. twenty-six years ago. It was a repica of the ships the settlers came over in the early days. All vessels used all available space to accommudate the crew and supplies. I enjoyed the tours. Thanks for your account of your experiences while in Hawaii!

  2. Barbara

    I got to go on the USS Bashsaw and did a dive off of the Ewa side of the Island. Was ready to get off when we got back to port. Couldn’t even dream of living 6 months under water. Pearl City Tarven had it many benefits with all my customers. Got to go on many ship tours.

  3. Ruth baxter

    I can see Betty being lifted up. I did not realize how tall you are Bob. What a cute couple. That must have been a fun day. I bet the men loved the fresh pineapples.
    The only experience I have on a boat is on the Delaware River in PA. at Treasure Island Boy Scout Reservation. My husband was the ranger . He would go back and forth across the river in the barge to the island camp every day to go to his job as ranger. During the summer I would dress my little Andrew and we would go to the dock and he would take us to the Island to have dinner with the campers and staff. We all would sing camp songs after dinner. Then we would go to what ever the program was for the evening. He would then take us back across the river to the dock and Andrew and I would climb the 60 some steps to the top where there was a bridge to cross over the canal and then the street to our house. It was quite an experience. Andrew thought he was born a scout. He even had a uniform and an assistant Ranger patch.

  4. Sandy

    Never been on a big ship except a cruise liner. And never seen a sub up close. Would be interesting im sure. But I get clostofobic ugh not my cup of tea im aftaid. Glad you had a chance to see one up vlose and personal with your tour of one.

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