Sea Shadow Makes Way for Bay Jobs

DryDock on Pier 1Remember the huge gray mystery barge on Pier1 East of TISC? It housed a once-secret Navy “stealth” research vessel.  “Sea Shadow” is now gone.  In its place: Bay Ship &Yacht employees working efficiently to recondition massive sea barges and Super Yachts.HMB-1 Dec 2013

HMB-1 on the radar scopeWe first noticed HMB-1’s arrival at Pier 1 on a sail to Angel Island a year ago last August.  It was large and appeared shrouded in secrecy.  Peering under the nearly-closed seven-story tall door, we saw suspicious looking “torpedoes” inside.floats or torpedoes

With help from Google (the search engine, not the “new” secret barge at Pier 1) the story became clear: Bay Ship & Yacht had purchased the Hughes Mining Barge-1 with Sea Shadow inside.  The former was first constructed to support a secret CIA mission to recover a sunken soviet submarine; the latter was built by Lockheed in Redwood City to develop stealth technologies for navy ships.HMB-1 East of TISC

We were fortunate to tour the still-in-tact Sea Shadow. We then watched HMB-1‘s progress over the last year from our vantage point on Clipper Cove as Bay Ship fulfilled the terms of their agreement with the Navy which called for them to dismantle Sea Shadow as they repurposed HMB-1.

Last Friday we visited Bay Ship to observe HMB-1’s new role as an efficient, high-tech dry dock for ocean-going barges and super-yachts.  The pictures below were taken at various stages of HMB-1’s journey from Sea Shadow tender to Bay Ships state-of-the-art dry dock, the only enclosed facility of its kind on the West Coast.

Our visit inside Sea Shadow was in October, ’12.  HMB-1 Fwd StairsIt was a long climb up steep rusty stairs and ladders to get topside on HMB-1.  Then another traverse across two 40’ high catwalks around a corner to the gangway leading inside Sea Shadow. HMB-1 Catwalks

No matter which vantage point we selected, Sea Shadow appeared larger than life.  She was 68′ wide below the water, resulting in a slim  4′ margin on each side when entering/exiting HMB-1.  These pictures were taken from the upper level in HMB-1.SeaShadow from above

SeaShadow-gangway to enterSeaShadow NamePlateThe interior spaces were compact but not crowded.  Sea Shadow was designed as a test-bed.  There were bunks for 12; however she was generally “at sea” for hours not days.SeaShadow Engineering SpaceThe twin pontoons were 15′ under the water, and she was about half a football field in length.  When viewed from below she looked massive.SeaShadow control surface SeaShadow from Below

I won’t be posting the pictures from my visit on November 19th because watching the dismantling operation of a historic sleek craft like Sea Shadow was difficult and distressing. Not pictures for publication.

HMB-1 CatwalksThree weeks later Sea Shadow was gone and HMB-1 looked cavernous.  Catwalks were being revamped and crane work was underway. HMB-1 Empty fwd view HMB-1 Empty aft view HMB-1 Sky Crane

Mostly out-of-sight in the spaces between the double hull, HMB-1 was being converted from a submarine to a dry dock.  In a submarine water gets displaced by compresssed air to surface; in a dry dock water is pumped in and out.HMB-1 Thick Walls HMB-1 Watertight compartments

By March, 2013 the internal outfitting was well underway and the outside painting was nearly complete. HMB-1 March 2013 PumpsHMB-1 March 2013 paintingThe Bernie Briere is currently undergoing refitting and refurbishing in HMB-1 which was officially announced by Bay Ship & Yacht in August. Bernie Briere inside HMB-1 You get a sense of the size of these ocean-going barges  when out of the water.  They are approximately 240′ long, 64′ wide and 24′ deep!Bernie Briere fills HMB-1 Bernie Briere narrow fit Bernie Briere Below

It was sad watching Sea Shadow’s passing.  Her history has been well documented, however, and Bay Ship has used HMB-1’s repurposed interior space to create jobs and increase the efficiency of large vessel maintenance just across the Bay from Clipper Cove.

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

There are many web sites that provide the history, specifications and pictures of HMB-1 and Sea Shadow.  Here are a few (and feel free to send along any favorites you may find; we’ll add them to this post):

Concrete Crushed, Need Sawzall or Torch

concrete location A few weeks back our team sliced up the “roadblock” next to the opti rack.  A  volunteer finished off the job Wednesday. Next step: removing four 1″ reinforcing rods. We’re looking for a volunteer with a Sawzall or torch to help.

The troublesome reinforced concrete block that’s been in the way of kids loading and unloading opti’s and bugs, and keelboats using the large hoist, is almost gone.  Dan Fishman, our maintenance guru, removed most of it using a concrete saw funded by tenants dollars from those who were not able to directly volunteer their time at TISC in the last six months.

The concrete saw was able to remove most of the block, but not the reinforcing rods. Two of the remaining four bolts and brackets are shown in the picture below.

concrete beforeOn Wednesday a volunteer armed with hammer and chisel finished off the small chunks of concrete.  All that remains are the four steel rods.

concrete after

If you have access to a Sawzall or portable torch please feel free to “have at it”.  There are four rods that must be cut off in the otherwise mostly cleaned out space.  Feel free to call Chris Childers or me if you can help out  or if you have suggestions on the best way to attack these rods.

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

mule tracks eastIn the wake:

Next up is filling in a few “mule tracks” in the central yard to smooth out the path for our mule, which takes a beating whenever it rolls over these bumps.  If you have experience with concrete patching, can make suggestions regarding the best materials to use,  or would be willing to help out for a few hours in January please let us know.  Materials for this project will also be funded with dollars assessed to tenants not able to fulfill their monthly volunteer time.mule tracks center