National Geographic : 1960 Nov
In a Dramatic Night Rendezvous, Triton Transfers a Sick Crewman As the submarine neared the Falkland Islands off South America, her medical offi cer informed Captain Beach that a sailor needed immediate hospitalization. Radioing the U.S.S. Macon in Montevideo harbor for assistance, the skipper swung about and raced north at maximum speed submerged. The two ships met off Argentina at 2 a.m. March 5. Staff artist Nicholson, working from eye witness accounts, depicts Macon standing off as her rescue party in a motor whaleboat comes alongside the submarine. Triton lifts her sail high enough to open the conning tower hatch. Captain Beach, on the bridge, directs operations, while a crewman beams a light on the sea-washed deck. Members of the line-handling party, in life jackets and safety rigs, ring their ill shipmate, bare headed Chief Radarman J. R. Poole, who is bundled in protective clothing. Minutes later Macon flashed the welcome message: "Poole safely on board." Early in the morning of March 13, as we near Easter Island, 2,900 miles northwest of Cape Horn, our sonar equipment picks up a submerged peak, previously unknown. Its highest point reaches within a few hundred fathoms of our hull. Evidently it is a part of the geological formation that created Easter Island, itself rising 1,969 feet above the sur face of the sea. "Monkey" Works for Scientist This great undersea feature also is detected by geophysicist Mike Smalet and his "monkey in a cage"-a metal box about a foot square, suspended from gimbals in a big wire frame work to keep it steady. "It's a very sensitive sea gravity meter," Mike tells curious crewmen. "It measures the varying pull of gravity as we go along. If you've got to do such measurements at sea, a submerged submarine is best because it gives you a good, steady platform, not affected by surface conditions. Besides, you don't get seasick." Mike's gravity survey will eventually help the Navy to place electronic navigation aids in remote areas, but right now his equipment has a more immediate utility: When we approach a land mass, the device records in creased gravity values. We come to periscope depth for Easter Is land. "Find me one of those big stone heads!" 594 shouts Lt. Tom Thamm, who has the watch in the control room, directly below the conning tower. "I've always wanted to see one!" He means one of those mysterious giant statues we have read about, left by some unknown sculptors.* *See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: "The Yankee's Wander-world," by Irving and Electa Johnson, Jan uary, 1949; and "Great Stone Faces of Easter Island" (11 illustrations), February, 1944.