Memoirs of a Navy Brat






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The Legacy of the Pontoon Barges  




Immediately behind our living quarters, about three meters farther away from the seawall, were three sunken pontoon barges, most probably remnants of WWII, lying adjacent and perpendicular to each other. A  rusted steel gangplank connecting it to the seawall makes it accessible. The surfaces of the pontoon barges were still generally intact except for a few corroded spots, so you can walk on it to almost any spot with some caution though.  There were several erect wooden poles very similar to the ones you usually see at piers, along the farthest barge, probably used then for tying the flat top pontoon barges to it, so the barges won't drift away to the open sea.  Or probably for tying small boats or vessels while disembarking personnel and supplies.

The pontoon barges would extend to about a hundred yards into the sea. The first two of the barges, and half of the farthest one, were visible during low tides. But it's all totally under water during high tides, except for the gangplank.

The pontoon barges were of the sectional type of barges. Each barge was a rectangular structure formed by fastening together sealed square floating hollow containers with sloping undersides, called pontoons. The pontoons were fastened with bolts to long strips of metal at the surface, about six to eight inches apart along the length of the barge. A pontoon has several compartments so it will not sink even if one of the  compartments develops a leak.

The concept behind pontoon barges was already in use during the early Chinese dynasties. In modern times, this concept of pontoon engineering is being employed for both military and civilian uses. It has evolved into the development of pontoon boats or float tubes used for fishing and other water sport, as well as for partying in  the waters. This is also the concept behind some of the most famous breathtaking bridges in existence today.

The pontoon barges at the back of our quarters would bring about some of the most exciting experiences I've had during my growing up years, memories I'd go back to every now and then with nostalgia in this memoirs.

[Going Fishing Becomes A Passion]



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