Great Photos

Jeffrey P. Kraus
Carrier Reef

The retired U.S.S. Oriskany is now host to fish and divers

Five hundred pounds of plastic
explosive sent this 32,000-ton aircraft carrier to the bottom of the
Gulf of Mexico in May, forming the largest intentional man-made reef in
history and marking the inauguration of a Navy program to turn old
ships into coral reefs. To meet EPA standards for sea disposal, the
888-foot carrier was stripped of oil, paint and asbestos, at a cost of
$8 million. It worked: The scuttle didn’t even leave a slick on the
surface. The hull of the craft now rests at 212 feet, too deep for
casual scuba divers, though the higher superstructure should be fair
game. You have plenty of time to plan your trip—the Oriskany won’t disintegrate for hundreds of years.

Heidi Giacalone/epa/Corbis

Stormy Monday

Just one day after entering the Persian Gulf, the USS John C. Stennis
is treated to an extraordinary lightning storm. Accompanied by a
guided-missile cruiser, the nuclear-powered supercarrier made its way
through the Gulf toting some three million gallons of fuel for
escorting ships and scores of aircraft.

Toby Thiermann

Water Buggy

A prototype watercraft is designed to go almost anywhere, bump-free
It’s known as Proteus, and its
performance is just as unusual as its appearance. The creation of
California company Marine Advanced Research, this leggy craft is the
helicopter of boats, explains designer Ugo Conti, who says Proteus
clones could someday be used for quickly deploying research equipment
to far-flung locales or for ocean search-and-rescue operations. The
range of conventional craft is limited by their ability to take the
pounding of huge swells in the open ocean and by the depth of the
boats’ draft in shallow water. Proteus’s catamaran-style hulls displace
only 18 inches, so it can operate safely close to shore. And the
vehicle is designed to surf on top of the waves, rather than cut
through them, allowing it to travel safely and efficiently in rough
seas. The ride can’t be beat: The cockpit is suspended on four aluminum
legs attached to the hulls by titanium springs. Which means no
bumps—and a view 12 feet above the waves.


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