Unknown Waters

A First-Hand Account of the Historic Under-Ice Survey of the Siberian Continental Shelf by USS Queenfish (SSN-651)

by Alfred S. McLaren, William R. Anderson

Charting the Siberian continental shelf during the height of the Cold War
Unknown Waters tells the story of the brave officers and men of the nuclear attack submarine USS Queenfish (SSN-651), who made the first survey of an extremely important and remote region of the Arctic Ocean. The unpredictability of deep-draft sea ice, shallow water, and possible Soviet discovery, all played a dramatic part in this fascinating 1970 voyage.

Covering 3,100 miles over a period of some 20 days at a laborious average speed of 6.5 knots or less, the attack submarine carefully threaded its way through innumerable underwater canyons of ice and over irregular seafloors, at one point becoming entrapped in an “ice garage.” Only cool thinking and skillful maneuvering of the nearly 5,000-ton vessel enabled a successful exit.

  • University of Alabama Press; May 2009
  • ISBN: 9780817380069
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Unknown Waters
  • Author: Alfred S. McLaren; William R. Anderson (other)
  • Imprint: University Alabama Press

About The Author

Alfred S. McLaren is a retired US Navy Captain, recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal and two Legions of Merit, president emeritus of The Explorers Club, senior pilot of the SAS Aviator submersible, and president of The American Polar Society.
William R. Anderson was skipper of USS Nautilus (SSN-571) during that vessel’s 1958 achievement of the North Pole and historic Pacific to Atlantic crossing of the Arctic Ocean. He was subsequently awarded the Legion of Merit by President Eisenhower and, following his retirement from the Navy, elected to the U.S. Congress from Tennessee for four terms. He died in 2007 and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.