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You are here: /main/research/HURL 2002/journals/first impressions

HURL 2002

Ship Logs

First Impressions
Posted by Ray Boland

I walked across the gangway from the pier to the deck of the ship. There it sat, in its hangar on the aft deck to my right. My first impression was that of a giant bug. The front of it was populated by two insect like arms. Also adding to it's insect like appearance were cameras, lights, sonars, tracking units, sampling units, and strobes bristling off like so many antennae, from the front to its top. Its legs were short, yet spindly, and seemed too thin to support its weight. Finally three large view ports, like compound eyes, stared out at me.

The hangar was deserted. I walked around the sub once, careful not to stumble over the tie downs or the sub's own carriage. I tentatively reached out and touched the side of the sphere, which jutted down beneath it's floatation collar. The metal was cold and solid, painted snow white. The whole sub body was snow white, except for its accouterments of cameras and arms, and it's sail. Moving working parts were metal or black. The sail perched high up top was a bright orange.

The sub was about 30 feet long, and about 12 feet high. Above my head, from the second floor of the hangar was a gangway to the top of the sub, it looked like a boarding platform. I walked around the sub again. Despite it's spindly appearance from the front, the rest of it was smooth and hydrodynamic. Only two thrusters jutted out from it's side.

This was the machine that was going to take me to the bottom of the ocean and return m safely to the surface. This was the machine that would protect me from the weight of the water, from the pressure of the deep. There would be an equivalent 40 earth atmospheres pressing down on the sub; about 600 pounds per square inch of pressure! Fortunately it is rated for 2000 meters, 200 atmospheres of pressure. I ran my fingertips over the solid stainless steel which we would be in.


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Launching of the Pisces submarine.

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