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Book Reviewer
Peter Baines

We left Faslane that cold dark night
Wondering what would be our plight
First off Reykjavik …. to take supplies
From there on in? Well it might surprise.
The midnight load of fuel and tucker
No rum did pass for all us suckers
All hatches sealed to keep us safe
North we cruised to test our faith.
Ahead to Port sits Arctic ice
The throaty claxon echoed twice
Aboard are sixty two in all
Brave men, they’re here …. for duty calls.
The hatches slam, we take our posts
We trust our Navvie less than most.
Gushing ocean floods the tanks
It’s no time now for risky pranks.
“Dive, dive, dive” the skipper calls
To be a “boatie” takes some balls
The planes point down, we start to sink
The diesel fumes now start to stink.
The gurgling stops, the quiet sets in
At ninety feet Skip calls for trim
We’re in our world where night is day
And so few others understand our way.
Two-fifty feet we level out
Just thirty revs or there abouts
The Sonar pings tell us ice is dense
Watchful orders will be our defence.
Inside, the icicles start to form
It’s bloody cold … not quite the norm
All is quiet ‘cept random bumps
As we manoeuvre through frozen lumps.
We still don’t know to where we’re head
We’d like to know. The theories spread.
No way of contact with those back home
The silent service is here to roam.
Through Greenland Sea and north to Nord
Our air freezes … give us warmth dear Lord
Just then our prayers are answered well
It’s time to charge the battery cells.
The snort is up the diesels scream
The boat warms up from stern to beam
We also learn what’s to be our mission
To spy on the Reds with absolute precision.
The excitement mounts, the fears are real
“Take her down” is the order. This is a big deal.
There’s no sign of panic, concentration is tight
We slink t’ward Barents. We’re up for a fight!
The Red Fleet is out there, firing missiles it’s said
So we need to be watchful, no going to bed.
We ease up to sixty and up goes the scope
Just as quick it comes down, our Skip he can cope.
He tells us there’s twenty, not counting boats
“But we’ve got ‘em surrounded” he jokingly gloats.
We vary our depth through the differing cold layers
We’re dodgin’ their pings. We’re genuine stayers.
We’re feeling real good ... then all hell abounds They’re dropping depth charges all around.
The blasts they sure shake us, the sea valves leak
Things are beginning to look really bleak.
But the Skip, he stays calm. He’ll win this duel
We drop to seven hundred. He’ll play them the fool.
The silence it deafens, the pressure’s unreal
It seems we have lost ‘em. The feeling’s surreal.
Foul air and no sunlight deep in the Barent Sea
We collect lots of data for the experts to see
Thirteen long weeks we spend under those waves
Then back to our families. Hey … I guess it’s now time to shave.
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