Sunday, March 26, 2006

USS Pampanito

Saturday afternoon, Jack and I took off for San Francisco. His Cub Scout Pack had made arrangements for the group to stay overnight on the USS Pampanito, a World War II submarine. The submarine is a floating museum moored at Pier 45.

After we got there, the group got a tour of the pier, including a number of WWII torpedoes and a mini-sub. We then did an audio tour of the submarine.

We loaded our gear into the submarine and then did a safety drill. After the safety drill, they turned the submarine over to us. The kids explored the sub, played board games, ate sandwiches and watched submarine movies until almost midnight.

One of the requirements was that an adult be awake and standing watch at all times. I got the 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. time slot. The dad of one of Jack's classmates and I walked the boat and talked in the galley for an hour. I actually tried to wake Jack up for part of the shift, but was unable to stir him.

The crew size for one of these boats was 80 men. We had 10 adults and 11 kids and it felt like we were on top of each other. It is difficult for me to imagine 80 men living and working inside this small space.

After a short night's sleep, we got up and had a light breakfast. We cleaned up the submarine, took some pictures and headed for home.

On the way home, Jack said "this was the best trip ever!"

Last June, I toured the USS Torsk in Baltimore's inner harbor. Walking down into both submarines, the smell of diesel was very strong. When we got home from the trip, all of clothes smelled like diesel.

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