After our extended time in Rangeley, we headed back to our home base in the New Hampshire seacoast region. The first few days back were wet and rather dreary, but that didn’t stop us from taking a picnic lunch out to one of our favorite spots (Great Island Common – New Castle, NH) and enjoying Portsmouth’s famous Moe’s subs while watching the fog roll in and out along the Piscatiqua River. From there, we ventured to the USS Albacore Museum, a great place I hadn’t toured since my childhood. The testbed Albacore represents a massive change in submarine design. Through World War II, submarines were primarily surface ships that would occasionally dive when attacking or evading attack. This resulted in submarines that looked a lot like surface ships and had a top speed under water of only a few knots. But after the war, the Navy began taking cues from the streamlining movement that had swept the aviation industry, and for the first time, developed a vessel that would be built from the ground up to live under water. This new design resulted in a vessel that could achieve 27 knots underwater and handled more like a fighter jet than a boat – so much so that the pilot’s chair was equipped with aircraft-like controls and a seat belt (pictured below)!
After years of service and a bevy of revolutionary developments, the Albacore was retired from service in 1972 and mothballed in Philadelphia. In the 1980s, a push was made to make the vessel a museum, and in 1985 she was moved to her permanent home (after moving a few roadways and a rail trellis to float her in) just a few miles from where she was launched 32 years earlier. Below is a large selection of photos from our day at Albacore. As always, enjoy – and of course, feel free to download as HD desktop wallpaper below!
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