Lee had a nightmare last night. It’s
well in the past now, when Seaview was sunk by a human error and a derelict mine field. We had a lot of casualties, and Lee,
as Captain took it the hardest.
It’s not easy to be a survivor. There’s
a kind of guilt about it. A ‘why did I survive when they didn’t mentality. Oh, we both knew what to expect, we’ve
been trained in all the psycho babble about post traumatic stress, etc., but it was hard. And no doubt the experience will
haunt Lee and I throughout our lives, even though we both know, there was not one damn thing either of us could have done
to save our men’s lives.
Our miracle was in Chip Morton and Chief Jones.
They risked life and limb in a desperately dangerous bell dive through that same mine field to bring us air and a way out.
It wasn’t easy waiting below while the bell was used as a kind of elevator to haul men ‘upstairs’ and come
back down for more.
Lee spent most of that time wandering Seaview,
the parts that were still accessible, touching her, almost clawing his hands against the sealed hatches entombing some of
his crew. I saw his tears. But he tried to make me believe it was the damp hair dripping down his face. Knowing Lee, I decided
to wait until he was ready to talk about it. Right now we had to get back to the Control Room and the last ‘elevator’
ride away from our dead ship.
We both knew she was salvageable and would one
day again patrol the seven seas, but without some of the men who had lived and breathed with us, walked the decks laughed, and cried with us aboard SSRN Seaview. It
was a gut wrenching time for all our surviving crew. But especially for me and Lee.