Tour of the Blueback Submarine

After visiting the Apple store this morning where I almost bought an iPad, I walked down to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, a really nice place for kids and equally interesting for grown up kids like me.

I didn’t have the time to see everything but I made it a point to take the tour of the USS Blueback (SS-581), the last non-nuclear submarine to be inducted into the US Navy. The guide was a Vietnam war veteran who later got a Physics degree and served on submarines. A very interesting tour and a must see for anyone even remotely linked to Mechanical Engineering, or for that matter, any engineering.

Needless to say, this tour is not meant for people who feel claustrophobic in small closed spaces. There are things sticking out of each and everything. The bunk beds are small and cramped enough to drive a normal person insane. Aparently, sailors used to often sleep on the top of the torpedos in the torpedo room because of the room had more space and was kept a bit cooler than the rest of the vessel.

Here are some pictures. Click the images for larger views.

The Blueback docked outside OMSI


The two periscopes


No windshield for these two drivers


The controls on the deck


Even this kid had a problem passing through the door


The torpedo room


The kitchen large enough to accommodate one cook


I am not sure whether I took this picture landscape or portrait. Doesn’t make much of a difference, if you ask me


The engine room


The room for propulsion control


The other wall of the propulsion controls


After a submarine is decommissioned its propeller (also called screw) is taken out and kept somewhere. This one belongs to the Blueback and weighs 5 tonnes


Memorial for submariners


  • This submarine looks really old and sleep on the top of the torpedos in the torpedo room looks really dangerous.