As a student teacher, I was required to visit the Intrepid Museum in NYC for a class project. The museum is actually a former US Navy aircraft carrier docked in the Hudson River.In addition to the ship there is a space shuttle, a concorde, and a submarine floating at the water’s surface. Unfortunately, I had limited time at this massive museum. I really wanted to visit the submarine that day, but knew I would have to wait. Submarines are pretty incredible inventions, but due to the size the number of visitors per day is limited.
About a year later, I picked up a copy of Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, a historical nonfiction narrative about the sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat. The story setting shifts from the Lusitania to the German military on the U-boat, sharing the experiences of both sides. Reading about life on a submarine inspired me to visit the Growler submarine at the museum. And from there my curiosity about submarines has continued to grow. I have only seen two submarines first hand, but I have collaborated with some fabulous travel bloggers to bring you Submarines Around the World. If you have a contribution you would like to submit, shoot me an email.
USS Growler, Intrepid Museum, New York, United States
The USS Growler is the only American guided missile submarine open to the public. On board the submarine, you can view sleeping quarters, bathrooms, the kitchen, and the rec area. The most interesting part of visiting a naval submarine is viewing the all important mission control center (including the periscope controls). This vessel was used by the US Military during the Cold War off the Pacific Coast of Russia. This style of submarine was replaced by nuclear submarines, and the Growler eventually found a new home in NYC at the Intrepid Museum. The Growler is a great example of what life on a military submarine was like in the 20th century.
Djurönäset Hotel Submarine
Djurönäset is one of only three hotels in the world with its own submarine. This spa hotel in the Stockholm archipelago is the home of an ex Swedish Navy submarine, which was originally designed as a sonar target for the navy, and is now available for hire by lucky hotel guests! The tiny sub only holds 4 people (including the captain), and is perfect for exploring the Baltic sea floor and nearby shipwreck. Small portholes allow for a fish’s eye view into the depths, and after re-surfacing each passenger is awarded a submariner’s certificate – something I am very proud of!
Read more about the submarine in Djurönäset from Claire Sturzaker, at Tales of a Backpacker.
HMCS Ojibwa Ontario, Canada
HMCS Ojibwa is a Cold War era Oberon-class submarine that served in the Royal Canadian Navy and later the Canadian Forces Maritime Command. Ojibwa was assigned to the First Canadian Submarine Squadron on 22 April 1966, later joined by her sister boats and served virtually her entire career with Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) in the North Atlantic. The Ojibwa spent time training with the Royal Navy after an exchange program was instituted in the 1960s this allowed Canadian submarines on intelligence-gathering missions. Beginning in the 1970s, Canada began underwater surveillance patrols in the western Atlantic, tracking Soviet sub and surface fleet vessels, and the Ojibwa served with these teams. The Objiwa is now berthed in Port Burwell Ontario In connection with the planned Naval Museum and tours are held daily during the summer months.
Read more from Faith Coates at http://www.xyuandbeyond.com.
The Yellow Submarine, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The infamous yellow submarine of Amsterdam has had a checkered history. It was first built in Nigeria by a formerly imprisoned Frenchmen before being transported to Paris where it was used as as gay bar. (It is said that the walls are filled with photos of 1970s pin-ups!) After there was a major scandal involving government officials, it was sold to a Dutchman who still hopes to use it as a party boat. However, the owner has had a long fight with the company that regulates the canals of Amsterdam, which has resulted in the submarine being moved around the historic Prinseneiland neighboorhood after being denied permits to stay in the canals. It recently fled its long-time resting place (I was luckily enough to spot it leaving from a friend’s apartment!), but keep your eyes peeled for a yellow submarine when you’re next in Amsterdam… Nobody knows where it will turn up this time!
Read more about Amsterdam from WanderlustingK.
Atlantis Submarine, Barbados, West Indies
Glass bottom boats are a fun water activity for those of us who prefer to stay dry, but this submarine experience takes it to a whole new level. The submarine in Barbados was developed specifically for underwater sightseeing. Passengers take a ferry to the submarine, which is already floating around the Caribbean Sea. Passengers board the vessel and take a seat near one of the many portholes. Throughout the ride the submarine submerges up to 150 feet passing by coral, schools of fish, and a shipwreck.
If you get the chance to explore a submarine (and you aren’t claustrophobic) I highly recommend you embrace the opportunity whether it is docked on land, in water, or fully operational. It is truly one of the most impressive developments in modern history. Although submarine technology dates back a few hundred years, serious advancements have occurred in the past 100 years. And please, if you have any submarine experience from around the world, let me know about them!