The year was 1986. The boat was the USS SKIPJACK SSN585. The time was mid to late summer. The place was Barbados. Maybe some of you have heard of it or been there as well. The exact date doesn't matter, mainly because I can't remember it. And I never marked the old 35mm pics. What I do remember is that I was far away from home but not home-sick. I was fresh out of my Naval A-school and eager to get to the fleet. I chose the Silent Service of the submarine force before I even went into boot-camp. My Dad didn't fully agree with my decision but...he signed the papers anyway (mind you I was 17 when I signed on to join the Navy and you needed parental permission). But I digress. It was a typical night in the tropics; warm, humid but with a nice, slow breeze. Comforting. I took a break from working on my quals (fellow bubbleheads will ken what this means), to go topside for a bit of fresh air. I can vaguely remember a mate saying something about the sun getting ready to set so, I back-tracked to where I was bunking in the torpedo room and got my camera. My first real camera...a Pentax IQZoom 250. The only other camera I'd had (and actually still have), was a Polaroid SX-70 Instamatic my Mom had gotten me for Xmas, in '77. I needed an upgrade. As this was my first deployment I wanted to document some of it.
With camera slung over my left shoulder, I climbed the bridge access ladder into the sail and alit onto the topside deck, crossed the gangplank and walked to the end of the pier. It was quite an amazing sight. I mean, I'd seen sunsets before but never on an oceanic horizon. My thoughts drifted into the background as I took aim and got of a couple snaps. The second shot you're seeing here, I had blown up years later and framed. The lab-tech was able to "remove" the date stamp. I like to have something in the foreground to contrast with the distance, almost or in full silhouette. In this case it was the end of the pier. I then went back to the boat and into the sail, up the middle ladder and onto the starboard fairwater plane, for the last three snaps. Here, I used the side of Skipjack's sail for the contrast point. The first snap is distant while the second I zoomed in about half-way. I've been hooked ever since.
I recently went digging in my old photo box and found these, along with quite a few dozen other snaps I'd taken over my 3+ years on the Skipjack. But, most of those will get new life on the Skipjack group over on FB. And, since I do write a bit of poetry now-and-then, I thought this up 28 Jan, 2019 while at the laundromat...
Gazing at the sun
I look at the horizon
As I shield my eyes
I behold such a wonder
And forget about the time
The original ending for here was "war". But either one will do.