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Down to the sea in ships

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Here is an excerpt from my book about serving on destroyers:

"But we don't always go down to the sea in calm waters. Occasionally King Neptune has a bad day, a bad week, a bad month. And when he is having a hard time, your time becomes just about unbearable. Seas with waves that crest 30 to 40 feet or more are not uncommon. Think about it for a minute – a standard telephone pole is 36 feet tall. We're talking about a wave that would completely obscure one of them. Suddenly the great gray greyhound in which you set sail seems more like a child’s bathtub toy than a mighty seagoing vessel. Let's assume your course pushes straight through this succession of telephone pole size waves. The powerful screws drive you relentlessly up the steep slope of the wave. As you crest the summit the bow pushes out of the water while the stern continues to push the ship forward. Gravity begins to take over and the bow begins to drop into the trough. The ship picks up speed and crashes into the bottom of the next wave. The forward section of the ship drives relentlessly into the water. The main deck is completely submerged now. Water envelops the forward gun mount, crashes into the ASROC launcher on the level above the main deck, and briefly obscures the bridge windows 2 levels above the launcher. The front third of the ship is now underwater and being driven forward by the screws and gravity. The design of the bow and the inherent buoyancy of the craft begin to force it back up. Throughout the ship you can hear the tortured cracking and groaning of the metal joints and feel the shuddering vibration as the bow tries to regain the surface. After an eternity, the bow breaks through to the sky and begins its ascent up the next wave. And this process is repeated over and over again for days or even weeks at a time."

If you enjoyed it and want to hear more, you can get a copy from Amazon, Donovan Scherer's Studio Moonfall, and of course in person from the author! Just look for "Underway! One sailor's story of life aboard US Navy destroyers".


Steve Tindall was born in the small town of Amboy, NY, just a little West of Syracuse. After graduating from high school he joined the U.S. Navy, where he learned electronics, security, and how to make his bed properly. He served on two destroyers and spent the final two years of his nine year enlistment instructing at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, IL. He transitioned to the data networking field, specializing in capacity analysis and protocol interpretation. He wrote several work related articles for various publications including a two year stint as the editor of a satirical monthly newsletter designed to improve morale at work. He retired on April Fools Day in 2016 and spends his time improving veterans lives and educating the public about our military history.

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