Over the course of two years, photographer Scott Haefner and friends repeated snuck on board the ships of National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) in Suisun Bay, California. The photographs from their (utterly illegal) trips offer an incredible inside-view of the state of the seventy-plus vessels in the bay, including the Sea Shadow. But definitely don’t try this at home:
We had to overcome numerous obstacles just to get to the ships without even addressing the issues involved in getting on them. To get across the channel, we acquired a small, inflatable raft that was just big enough for the three of us and our gear, along with a small motor powered by a car battery. A raft seemed ideal several reasons: 1. it was not possible to drive up to the drop-in point, so we needed something lightweight to carry across the marsh, along with our camera gear, food, water, and sleeping bags; 2. we needed a boat that we could maneuver through extremely shallow tidal flats near the shore; 3. The raft’s low profile and nearly silent motor would help us evade security patrols; 4. a raft would be the easiest type of vessel to pull aboard the ships once we found a way on, and we could then deflate it and stash it away from prying eyes.
For three years I commuted past Suisun Bay and watched the ships from the train’s window. To finally see them up close is incredible.
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