Changes depending on where you are, or what you are doing…

Chasing submarines in the Pacific was always ‘interesting’, even more so when you had to bounce from location to location. Many do not realize how BIG the Pacific actually is…

There is a reason that military and aviators talk about the ‘tyranny of distance’ in the Pacific.

That’s California in the upper right, Australia in the lower left, and Antarctica at the bottom. 7140 miles from LA to Sydney, or 5477 miles from LA to Tokyo might give you an idea. By ship, it’s 20 days to Tokyo, 28 days to Australia.

And you can hide a LOT of submarines in that body of water!!!


Perspective… — 19 Comments

  1. The Mighty Pacific. I have never seen it from that perspective – Thank you for the picture Mr. Curtis.

    I remember visiting Hawaii twice and thinking I’m going to be swimming for a long time if we go down here.

  2. spent a year and a half assigned to the tactical support center on Adak. then did a west pac on the U.S.S. Constellation. the corpsman daughter is enroute to a sub tender based out of Guam, so she will also get to experiance, first hand, just how huge that body of water is.

    • Dennis Winebrinner: When was your Westpac on the Connie? I remember welcoming aboard a DS2(?) from Adak- had a big reddish ‘stache IIRC.

  3. Hey Old NFO;

    Dang, Now you know that the peaceloving Soviets didn’t have submarines…That was lies spread by the warmongers and imperialist running dogs in the west Sorry, Couldn’t resist….Well I could have, LOL. Seriously…That is a big body of water.

  4. Wow! Talk about needles in a haystack! Were there SOSUS lines like we had in the Atlantic?

  5. So many days spent under the Pacific Ocean. Still remember how it felt to be under typhoons.

  6. Math question:
    How many P3s would you need, each covering a circle of observation that touched others, to watch the whole Pacific at the same time?

  7. Now ponder a how space-probe flyby might see a planet… maybe just this.. or just another view… and neither will be completely correct.

    This is, indeed, a seldom seen view – and there many, many views, but this is perhaps the first time I’ve seen it this way.

  8. I “knew” the Pacific Ocean was large, but have never seen it from this point of view. Thank you for the different perspective this morning.

  9. I’m rooting for megalodon to still exist somewhere in the deep cold waters.

    • They found coelacanth off South Africa, so megalodons could still be around too. Something other than sperm whales must feed on the giant squid.

  10. jrg- You’re welcome!

    Dennis- I did dets out of Adak! Yes, The Cable will be an experience for her! Tell her to go up to the ridge battle site above Orote and look at what the Americans had to fight through to take that ridge!

    Bob- Phhhhbbbtttt

    Mike- ‘Maybe’…

    Vitaeus- Still got bounced around, didn’t you?

    Gerry- Sometimes.

    Frank- Between 400 and 500 P-3s… sigh

    Orvan- Good point!

    SLee- You’re welcome!

    Tuvela- It’s possible…

  11. I have made SSN and SSBN patrols in the deep blue pacific. It was a very different experience from Atlantic and Mediterranean patrols.

    On the boomer we would purposely get away from shipping lanes and areas with traffic. A month in, and sonar division had a small party when we finally picked up contact sierra 100. (In the Med, we got that many just going through the straits of Gibraltar!) He was XX convergence zones out. If you have any experience with sonar tracking, you will know what I am talking about.

    One other thing: Not only is it immense, the Pacific ocean is also very deep. On leaving Guam for one patrol, we passed over the Marianas trench. I have personally taken a sounding off of the Challenger deep. It took over 16 seconds for that echo to return.

  12. That is a cool picture. I did my WP in 1991. Didn’t pull into Hawaii because skipper didn’t want to chance running aground (CVN). Didn’t go to Australia because Admiral didn’t want to be too far from the Gulf in case Saddam got frisky again. Went to PI but on the way back evacuated Pinatubo refugees instead of going on liberty. Spent 10 months deployed including the there and back again. It is a big ocean.

    • My son was on the USS Camden (AOE-2) in 1990. They were on a little six-week exercise with part of 7th Fleet, Bremerton to somewhere past Bali, and back. They’d started home, and then there were new orders, to turn around and go to the Persian Gulf. For 10 months. It’s said to be the longest fleet deployment since WWII.

      He did see Australia, several times – but was busy loading cargo when he wasn’t keeping the boilers hot for a quick departure. The Camden was an underway replenishment ship, going all around the fleet with fuel, ammunition, food, and the thousand other things necessary for a ship at sea.

      His marriage didn’t survive this. I’m not sure if it would have anyway, but an unexpected 10 months alone in Bremerton with a small baby was not something his wife was ready for.

  13. There are many islands in that expanse, but so few that are visible at this scale. That streak between Australia and Antarctica is North and South Islands in New Zealand. I think the tiny spot above and to the west of New Zealand is probably Bouganville (3,600 square miles), and the rest of the Solomons don’t show at all, not even Guadalcanal (2,000 square miles). The tiny spot in the upper center must be the Big Island of Hawaii. There’s not even a hint of the island chain that stretches west-northwest from there for thousands of miles.

    I’m thankful that I’ve never had to try to navigate to any of the smaller islands by compass, sextant, and chronometer. I used to wonder how Magellan could cross the Pacific from Easter Island to the Phillipines without seeing a single one of thousands of small islands, but on seeing this, he was lucky to even find those two. Hitting Easter Island was incredible luck. The Philippines is a bigger target, but if his course was a few points more to the north, the next land was Taiwan or the mainland.