Big Winds, Big Noise by Navy
Big winds for days suddenly calmed by the time Debbie Kremer of Arizona brought her beau Bob Wickley of San Antonio to sail the York River. We quietly tacked back and forth near Yorktown and got under the Coleman Bridge before mild winds clocked northwest and picked up sharply.
Big Winds, Big Noise by NavyFor someone who had never been on a sailboat before, much less sailed one, Debbie did magnificently on the helm. Eventually she yielded to Bob, who adroitly spilled wind to keep the boat righted. The couple travels extensively. They’ve been to Costa Rica most recently, as well as St. Petersburg in Russia, Thailand, Burma and Vietnam. He’s the first Vietnam vet I’ve met who went back on vacation.
Debbie is a retired OR nurse who obviously thrives under pressure. Bob said, “You should tell him about Anasazi,” so she did.
Anasazi is a foundation in Arizona named for an Indian tribe. They run a wilderness camp for troubled teens. In fact, I’ve had one fellow who was 32 years old. They can volunteer or are assigned by the courts to spend 42 days in the camp, where they learn survival training. We give them a tarp, for example, and they figure out how to make it into a tent.
“Occasionally we get a runner, someone who thinks they can get back to civilization. But we’re way out in the desert, so they have to learn how to find food in the desert. We have a trail-walker watching from far away to make sure they’re okay. The kids usually come back the same day or the next day.
Big WInds, Big Noise by Navy“I tell you kids today are bombarded with too much stimulation and information. They learn too early about drinking, drugs and sex. They’re just not ready.”
In the distance upriver I could hear a dull roar. Two miles away a US Navy hovercraft was bearing down on us from the other side of the Coleman Bridge. As it passed through Bob took numerous shots; he’s a professional photographer. The LCAC or Landing Craft Air Cushion is based at Littlecreek Amphib Base in Virginia Beach. It can do 50 knots. I tried to raise them on radio but the racket of the two giant boat fans drowned me out. See the video below for an actual landing.
Back to Anasazi. The website describes the mission as “wilderness therapy via a unique, bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach that gently invited a change of heart.”
Big Winds, Big Noise by Navy“I put my own kids through it,” Debbie said, “but for a different purpose—for security reasons. “We got into a situation where a dangerous Mexican gang was threatening our family and came to our home. I got the kids out and put them on The Trail, as we call Anasazi. They were out there for 42 days. Eventually the authorities arrested some of the gang members.”
Given that, 20 mph winds heeling the boat to 20 degrees was hardly scary. I sent them up to the bow to enjoy a little privacy. They were celebrating Bob’s 70th birthday.

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