My week under the sea has ended, my first time under way though I have been serving the navy as a hydrodynamicist for the past dozen years. I may share bits of the experience if there is interest, but for now here are two experiences:
I: The last full day at sea was given to surface maneuvering off the California coast. Toward the end of the day, I requested and received permission from the chief of the watch to visit the bridge atop the sail. He assigned a sailor to help me into a harness, and I climbed up top, and spent a half hour standing there with two officers and one crewman, watching the sun lower and set as we cruised past a large island at 10 knots and the waves washed around us. Twenty minutes after going back down, I noticed some feeling within me and examined what it was. “I feel . . . serene.”
II: A couple hours after coming back in, I sat in the crew mess, eating pizza and listening to the World Series with a dozen crewmen. It felt American.