Dive, Dive, Dive … Subs are cool and we love to dive on sunken subs, the visuals are often spectacular and our imagination lights up as we picture the history of the wreck and the events of her final hours. I have found that having been in submarines has greatly enhanced my appreciation of the wrecks when I am diving on them.
Many years ago, while she was still in service I was invited aboard the submarine HMSC (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship) Ojibwa. Wow that was cool! I crawled (literally too) through every allowable centimeter (they would not let go into the torpedo tubes … said it was dangerous!). I had long had a thing about submarines but that visit just put more fuel on the fire.
I decided that every wreck diver needs to dive on a sub and that every sub diver needs to have done a tour of a sub to really get the full throttle buzz when he or she next dives. I also decided that almost every diver should dive on (but not necessarily “in”) wrecks! So let’s clarify: Every diver should see a wreck or become a wreck diver, every wreck diver or diver who sees a wreck should dive on a sub and every diver that dives on a sub should tour a sub so that they enhance their sub wreck dive thrill! LOL
So, my mission here is to help you tour a sub.
In November 1963, Canada bought three “Oberon” class submarines from Britain. HMCS OJIBWA was commissioned on September 23, 1965. ONONDAGA followed on June 22, 1967. The commissioning of OKANAGAN, the last of the fleet, took place on June 22, 1968. A fourth sub, OLYMPUS, was purchased as a training vessel and spare parts depot.
I took this photo in Halifax, Nova Scotia – Home of Canada’s Atlantic Fleet
In their day these subs were the Royal Navy’s latest conventionally powered submarines. All were built at Her Majesty’s Dockyard, Chatham, United Kingdom. Later they were upgraded with new fire control, sonar, communications and optical equipment, as well as new batteries, which improved their range. Upon completion these were very stealthy and lethal.
I’d like to suggest that you consider running a Wreck Diver course (or two) or other course (UW Digital Photo, Video, whatever …) that includes a visit to a submarine (or two) either on land, under the water or both! This may well include travel and a charter operator but what a geat and magical trip that would be. Keeping your students and customers motivated and excited with cool new adventures is great for them and good for your business. It’s time to put your periscope up and start looking for the best way to make diving on or visiting a sub a reality.
The following links are great resources, especially the U-505 Chicago one … very interesting … and when Chicago sinks, just make certain that you know where that sub is and how to fire it up!
Recently the Ojibwa was purchased to be put in a museum in Ontario Canada; enter “Project Ojibwa”: http://www.projectojibwa.ca/project/hmcs-ojibwa.aspx
If you can’t wait for the Ojibwa to be up and ready to tour then you can see and tour her sister ship the Onondaga on display at the maritime museum in Rimouski Québec, Canada: http://www.shmp.qc.ca/onondaga/projet/projeten.html Français : http://www.shmp.qc.ca/onondaga/projet/projet.html
You can also catch a tour of the Russian Scorpion Submarine that is located beside the Queen Mary Luxury Liner at Long Beach California. For more information: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/21467
U-505 Chicago: Parking a sub in Chicago can be a tricky thing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUuQIpVuhCg&feature=related
Randy Giles, Regional Manager, PADI Canada