It appears you have not yet registered with our community. To register for free click here
Rebreather World
       

Go Back   Rebreather World RBW Members General Section General Rebreather Diving Rebreather Wreck Diving

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 4th January 2007, 07:17   #1 (permalink)
retired
 
Drmike's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: tokyo
Posts: 4,407
Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute Drmike has a reputation beyond repute
US Sub Perch found

Since we found this sub a month ago we have been waiting for the USN to make an official press release but they are dragging their heals (despite us having positive ID as you will see) I had really hoped we could let the survivors know before Christmas as I’m sure the photos and find would have been of interest to them.

Anyway for those interested heres my trip diary entry for the find and a few pics. The rest will go up on my website when I have a spare moment:


Divers using; MK15.5, Boris & Meg



----

The sound of our engines slowing instantly drew everyone’s attention – all conversation and activity stopped. Without prompt or word everyone automatically congregated in the wheel house where we joined the captain to stare at the image slowly developing on the computer screen. At the top of the side-scan screen highlighted in glowing white against what had until now been largely background featureless seabed colour of black was a new intriguing form taking shape. As the sidescan we were towing behind us passed over the unknown object 60m below us on the seabed the reflected image continued to develop on the screen in silence until almost simultaneously a cheer went up as we could all see the image on the screen was of something unmistakably man made –Its linear lines clearly differentiating it from the natural forms such as the reef or rock we often pick up.This was no rock or reef. We could all clearly see the image on the screen was some form of a ship.

The scale on the sidescan indicated that this object was around 300 feet in length so immediately we knew it wasn’t our primary target, she was around 600feet long. The depth finder indicated she stood around 10m off the seabed. As the captain swung the boat around for another pass people started speculating as to what we had found. We knew there were some submarines lost in the area and some destroyers. The Pope was 270feet long but is thought to have been sunk further north, It could be the U-183 who was 300feet long, or it could be one of the destroyers. The image on the screen showed the object was thin and long – it could be any of these ships – or perhaps a larger ship laying on her side partially buried in the seabed. There was only one way to be certain – and we didn’t need prompting, we were already checking over our equipment and preparing to dive.

Simultaneously divers were busy checking their rebreathers, setting their dive computers and beginning to quietly visualize the dive ahead of them. The Capt spend a few minutes studying the currents and wind over the site in order to enable him to perfectly drop anchor in just the right position. The boat crew were busy getting the deco platform ready to drop as we heard the familiar sound of the anchor chain clattering through the rollers – our call to arms. The air was thick with anticipation. The Capt soon emerged from the wheelhouse and after characteristically clearing several pints of mucus from his sinuses he effortlessly threw on his twin 20L tanks filled with air, donned his impossibly long freedivers fins and in one seamless motion that comes from years of practice rolled over the side of the boat with the end of the down line in his hand. We all knew the routine well. He would swim down the anchor line pulling the end of the down line with him as a crew member fed it out from the deck of the boat. 27 years of practice would mean the anchor would be in precisely the right position a small swim down current to the wreck. He would drag the line across and tie it off in exactly the best position. After all this was just another a day at the office for him.


Once the crew member who is feeding the downline feels the pull on the line end he waits a few moments before taking up the slack. Once taken in he ties off the line and the shout goes out “were tied in!”

The excitement level increases a notch as divers, aware that this is what is know as a ‘virgin’ wreck, compete to be the first in the water and down to the wreck. In the background we hear the winch dropping the deco platform into the water as other crew are busy assisting divers clipping on their stage tanks, handing them their cameras and scooters.

Jumping in I am immediately cooled from the heat and stress of gearing up by the 26 degrees C water. A fair current is blowing so you hit the water swimming kicking as hard as one can to grab the trail line. Swinging on this line like a rag doll I take my camera from the outstretched arm of one of the crew members before kicking down to the downline that I can see snaking below me pulled into a big arch by the raging current. My arms burning with the effort of pulling my ungainly bulk down the line I was glad I was using plenty of helium in my breathing gas to stave off narcosis. The large rebreather two AL80 tanks and camera offering considerable resistance to the water. Passing thorough the thermo cline at 40m the visibility and temperature drops. Above the thermo cline we enjoyed blue waters below visibility turned to a murky 5m. As I continued down the outline of the wreck began to take shape. This was the magic moment I enjoy the most when diving virgin wrecks. The moment when you start to realize what you have found. What I saw was a conning tower. We had found another submarine.


I swam along the length of the sub toward the stern taking a few moments to study the singe rear facing gun just behind the conning tower. In many places the outer skin of the hull had rusted through exposing the pressure hull and equipment beneath yet there didn’t seem to be any obvious damage to the pressure hull and all hatches were closed. Swimming around the stern I could see the characteristic prop protectors jutting out from the beautifully curved stern. I checked my depth and time. 60m 20mins – I had time. I picked up the pace on the swim back to the conning tower as I wanted to visit the bow. I found no forward gun but there was a large rangefinder just forward of the tower. Dropping over the side and coming back from the bow I swam over the dive plane. Back at the coning tower I had a little time to explore around. I could see the instruments, compass, helm – everything in place. On this first dive I had spent 50 mins at 60m so it was time to ascend and begin my deco. I would have to save a more detailed exploration of the conning tower for the next dive 3 hours and a celebratory Gin and Tonic later.

The twin deco bars hanging under the boat with surface supplied O2 provided a comfortable place to deco. As is the norm – to save sorb all three rebreather divers deco on surface supplied O2 on our 6m stop.

We were joined during deco by a swarm of beautiful white jelly fish and a couple of remora that took a fancy to my rebreather. Over 2 hours after jumping in my deco was over all that remained was to swim into the lift on the back of the boat and stand upright. As the lift raised me out of the water I sagged under the weight of the twin stage tanks and rebreather before a crew member took pity on me and unclipped the tanks. I walked duck line still wearing my fins over to the bench where I de rig. Gin and tonics are being passed around even before Im out of my suit and the air is filled with excited conversations about the sub everyone reminiscing about what they saw and speculating on the origin of the sub.


We wanted to identify what sub we had found so the next dives were to get some information on her. The Capt. used a knotted line to measure the length of the sub whilst we looked for something in the conning tower with writing on in. If we found German writing we would know its likely the U183, English would suggest it was the USS Perch. Unfortunately we had no reference materials with us on board about subs showing features which would have made a visual identification easy. Buy we were impatient to know the identity before returning to port. From memory the only thing we could recall of the subs were their lengths. The Capt had used a knotted line and found her to be approx 297feet in length – suggesting she was the German sub U-183 (the USS Perch being as far as we could recall 275fetet long)

Reluctantly we turned our back on the unknown sub and continued our journey south to the 100mile x 100mile primary search area that the extensive research we had carried out had suggested another ship we were looking for might be hiding. Reaching the search area by lunchtime we began ‘mowing the lawn’ towing the sidescan through the water scanning the sea bed back and forth in a spiral pattern from the center of the search area outwards. All day and all through the night and next day we scanned and searched. Each of us taking 2 hour shifts all through the night at the helm. Whilst the others rested. We had drawn straw to decide who would take what shift. My shift was from 6 to 8am – I was the lucky one. I knew from past experience that the two to four am shift was the hardest. During my shift the sun would rise and Id have to turn the navigation screen to daylight mode and increase the brightness of the radar so it could be seen better in daylight. All the next day we scanned and scanned but found nothing save a few old fishing boats. The following day we were all quite fed up with scanning so we decided to take a short respite and head back to do a dive on the sub to try to find something with some writing on that could identify her positively. We reached the sub at around noon and were quickly in the water. It felt great to be back in the water again even thought it was only two days and two nights of searching.

I took my camera and concentrated on trying to get some better pictures that might help ID her later, whilst Kevin took video. Craig just went for a swim around and studied the large rear mounted gun. The Capt (following a dream he had had the night before) headed straight to the front of the subs coning tower where in his dream he had seen a builders plate with the name of the sub emblazon upon it. Sure enough he found a coral incrusted pate attached to the tower right where he had seen it in his dream. We loosened away some of the coral and exposed a letter P. He knew instantly before he even finished off cleaning the rest of the name that the was the USS Perch.

Back on the boat we had received a email via satellite from ‘Bent but happy’ (our resident onshore researcher) he gave us some info on the Perch such as the fact amongst other things that she had a single rear mounted gun, which confirmed (as if the name plate wasn’t conclusive enough) who she was. Along with a description of the sub he included a brief account of her war history . She was apparently badly damaged and unable to submerge or escape so when under fire from the Japanese she was scuttled by her crew to prevent her falling into enemy hands. She went down with no loss of life and the Japanese rescued all her crew (all but 10 survived the war in a POW camp)

The fact that she was scuttled accounted for the lack of damage we had seen to the sub. Sitting perfectly upright the only visible damage being the corroded sway outer skin.


Finding a virgin un-dived wreck is always a joy but being able to put a name to her is the ultimate. A copy of the video and stills we took was sent to the USN as soon as we hit land. They didnt seem to believe us at first...then they got the still of the name plate

Leaving the Perch alone once again we headed off to our next search area and collection of marks to investigate - but thats another story


Pics below;

1) Conning tower
2) KevinD on his MK15.5 examines name plate
3) Name plate after clearing away growth

[No salvage was done on the wreck USN notified of finding]
Attached Images
File Type: jpg towerperch.jpg (59.3 KB, 469 views)
File Type: jpg perchmediumplate.jpg (75.9 KB, 463 views)
File Type: jpg kevin_perch.jpg (48.0 KB, 467 views)

Last edited by caveseeker7; 20th January 2007 at 07:43.. Reason: On request of author
(Offline)
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.us
Reply With Quote
Old 4th January 2007, 08:20   #2 (permalink)
RBW Member
 
decoweenie's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Dubai
Posts: 5,516
decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute decoweenie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Sub Perch found

Mike,

Everytime I read about your trip, I want to take an early retirement and go diving with you... :D

Have anything planned for May that a couple of people could tag along ? I am struggling to find some place where I could dive and bring family - and I know my wife would be very happy to spend a week shopping along Orchard...

Now where is that icon for going broke ?
(Offline)
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.us
Reply With Quote
Old 4th January 2007, 09:05   #3 (permalink)
Mature mouth breather
 
silent running's Avatar

 
Prism
Dolphin
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: U.S.A. Brooklyn, New York
Posts: 2,367
silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute silent running has a reputation beyond repute
Re: US Sub Perch found

Thanks very much for the detailed account Mike. Always enjoy reading your stuff. I'm hoping to locate some wrecks in Rabaul PNG this summer, so maybe then I'll have something good for you to read...
(Offline)
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.us
Reply With Quote
Old 4th January 2007, 09:40   #4 (permalink)
Nad
ZeroEmissions
 
Nad's Avatar

 
Sentinel - Ouroboros - Evo
HomeBuild, Inspiration Classic
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Everywhere...
Posts: 1,829
Nad is a glorious beacon of light Nad is a glorious beacon of light Nad is a glorious beacon of light Nad is a glorious beacon of light Nad is a glorious beacon of light Nad is a glorious beacon of light Nad is a glorious beacon of light Nad is a glorious beacon of light Nad is a glorious beacon of light Nad is a glorious beacon of light Nad is a glorious beacon of light
Re: US Sub Perch found

Wow Mike,
Such a gift for Christmas...!:D

Well done.

Nadir
(Offline)
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.us
Reply With Quote
Old 4th January 2007, 10:52   #5 (permalink)
Blogs Admin / Forum Mod
 
sven's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sydney
Posts: 551
sven is a glorious beacon of light sven is a glorious beacon of light sven is a glorious beacon of light sven is a glorious beacon of light sven is a glorious beacon of light sven is a glorious beacon of light sven is a glorious beacon of light sven is a glorious beacon of light sven is a glorious beacon of light sven is a glorious beacon of light sven is a glorious beacon of light
Send a message via MSN to sven Send a message via Skype™ to sven
Re: US Sub Perch found

Mike,

Congratulations on the find! As always, a great story to read.
Where is the icon for ?????
(Offline)
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.us
Reply With Quote
Old 4th January 2007, 11:46   #6 (permalink)
Classic Kiss diver
 
Sutty's Avatar

 
Classic Kiss 165
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Glossop, Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 1,077
Sutty is a name known to all Sutty is a name known to all Sutty is a name known to all Sutty is a name known to all Sutty is a name known to all Sutty is a name known to all Sutty is a name known to all Sutty is a name known to all Sutty is a name known to all Sutty is a name known to all Sutty is a name known to all
Re: US Sub Perch found

Great report - I've envious as hell!

You have a talent for the narrative too!

Neil
(Offline)
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.us
Reply With Quote
Old 4th January 2007, 12:45   #7 (permalink)
New Member
 
diverdown's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: wa state
Posts: 1
diverdown is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: US Sub Perch found

Wow, thanks for the report and pics.
(Offline)
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.us
Reply With Quote
Old 4th January 2007, 13:44   #8 (permalink)
RBW Member
 
jcolley's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Kittery, ME
Posts: 58
jcolley is on a distinguished road jcolley is on a distinguished road
Re: US Sub Perch found

As a veteran submariner and a beginning CCR diver, this post really brings emotions out for me. I think I can safely speak for all of the submarine community when I say thank you for your work on this and especially for sharing it with the world. I hope that any survivors of the Perch or their families will come across this and appreciate it. Very tastefully handled.


Jim

Last edited by jcolley; 4th January 2007 at 18:34..
(Offline)
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.us
Reply With Quote
Old 4th January 2007, 17:50   #9 (permalink)
Decodiver
Guest
 
Decodiver's Avatar

 
Posts: n/a
Re: US Sub Perch found

Thanks Mike, always a pleasure to read your exploits.

Cheers,

Dave.

 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.us
Reply With Quote
Old 5th January 2007, 10:55   #10 (permalink)
RBW Member
 
mortenkjerulff's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Denmark
Posts: 172
mortenkjerulff has a spectacular aura about mortenkjerulff has a spectacular aura about mortenkjerulff has a spectacular aura about mortenkjerulff has a spectacular aura about mortenkjerulff has a spectacular aura about mortenkjerulff has a spectacular aura about
Send a message via Skype™ to mortenkjerulff
Re: US Sub Perch found

Once again, thanks for sharing Mike!
(Offline)
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.us
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On




All times are GMT. The time now is 03:44.


RebreatherWorld.Com 2005 - 2013
Rebreather World, RBW and the Rebreather World Logo are Trademarks
All rights reserved, no republishing of content without written permission.
By using this website you have agreed to our Terms & Conditions of Use

free counters

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.1.0

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490 491 492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 537 538 539 540 541 542 543 544 545 546 547 548 549 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 560 561 562 563 564 565 566 567 568 569 570 571 572 573 574 575 576 577 578 579 580 581 582 583 584 585 586 587 588 589 590 591 592 593 594 595 596 597 598 599 600 601 602 603 604 605 606 607 608 609 610 611 612 613 614 615 616 617 618 619 620 621 622 623 624 625 626 627 628 629 630 631 632 633 634 635 636 637 638 639 640 641 642 643 644 645 646 647 648 649 650 651 652 653 654 655 656 657 658 659 660 661 662 663 664 665 666 667 668 669 670 671 672 673 674 675 676 677 678 679 680 681 682 683 684 685 686 687 688 689 690 691 692 693 694 695 696 697 698 699 700 701 702 703 704 705 706 707 708 709 710 711 712 713 714 715 716 717 718 719 720 721 722 723 724 725 726 727 728 729 730 731 732 733 734 735 736 737 738 739 740 741 742 743 744 745 746 747 748 749 750 751 752 753 754 755 756 757 758 759 760 761 762 763 764 765 766 767 768 769 770 771 772 773 774 775 776 777 778 779 780 781 782 783 784 785 786 787 788 789 790