As well as Australia II, Jon Sanders’ yacht and other interesting displays, the Maritime Museum also has a submarine. Submarines, like space craft, have always held a fascination for me. What is it really like in there? How do people live in such environments? So a tour of the submarine was exciting.
Every space was used and everything had a purpose. But the best way to describe the space is by showing you photos.
(And apologies for those who want technical details and correct terms — you wont get them, because I was much more interested in life on board! I can’t even remember what sort of submarine it is; I think it is the one before the Collins Class.)
Let me reassure you, the submarine wasn’t under water!
We went in through the escape hatch, which was at one end of the sub. This area had a number of different life saving devices, including the suit that you can see in the photo. The tour guide, who had been a submariner, didn’t say what the options were if, in the event of a disaster, you couldn’t get to this part.
These next photos show the crew’s sleeping quarters. These bunks were really narrow and in tiers of threes. There were more to the left and another row behind me. Not only was it a sleeping area, but also dining and rec areas. There was even an ingenious way of showing films, by projecting the film from the room next door through a little opening.
Compare the space that the Captain had, although this photo was taken from the door, so there wasn’t much more room.
The small galley would force you to be a tidy and efficient cook. Also, you would have to be a whizz with a can opener! Again, these photos were taken from the doorway.
The garbage ejector. Garbage was loaded into bags which were weighted to ensure that they would sink. That way there was no tell tale trail of garbage floating on the surface of the water.
Of course we all want to know about the toilet and showering arrangements. Well, they were small and probably not very private — much like the rest of life on board. You can see from the photo of the shower how I had to twist around the doorway to take it.
This submarine was operating in the pre-digital age, so photos were taken using film. This cabin was also the dark room– no need for blackout curtains! You can see the photos hanging up to dry.
The driver’s seat! (I am sure that it has a proper name, but I like my term!)
While I wasn’t interested in the technical data, I did love the shapes and patterns of the dials, gauges and knobs.
But my favourites were the valve handles. There were myriad pipes running through the submarine, carrying different liquids — fresh water, fuel etc. To quickly and easily recognise what each pipe was carrying, they had the ingenious system of having different colours and shapes for the handles. Then the correct one can be turned, even in an emergency or in the dark.
It was a relief to come out from there, into the fresh air and sunlight. I doubt that I could easily live in an environment so separated from the natural world.