Galveston's World War II Submarine Finally Reopens

The USS Cavalla, the World War II submarine that is a tourist attraction at Seawolf Park, has finally reopened after repairing Ike damage.

The storm surge lifted the sub and refloated it, curator John McMichael tells Hair Balls, and when the tide flowed back out it brought with it dirt that has left the sub five feet higher off the ground than it used to be.

"We left it like that; it's more impressive," McMichael says. "We had to add about seven steps to the stairs that go up to it."

Also damaged were parts of the a/c system, and some water had to be pumped out of the ship. The bill for the repairs has yet to come in, McMichael says, but it will have to be paid partly from FEMA and partly from donations.

The USS Stewart, the destroyer escort that sits next to the Cavalla, is still undergoing repairs and won't reopen for another three or four weeks, McMichael says.

The Cavalla is a great place to take kids and get a feel for the claustrophobic atmosphere of sub warfare in WWII. (There are even opportunities for group sleepovers.)

It was commissioned on February 29, 1944, and on its maiden voyage sunk the 30,000-ton Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku, one of the ships that had carried planes to Pearl Harbor.

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