As a couple and a family headed out for a brisk fall sailing adventure, we passed a USCG skiff at Red No. 8 in Sarah Creek. They were cleaning out the osprey nest since the birds have long gone to South America. What seemed odd was how they disposed of the nest, by simply tossing it in the river. One would think given the restoration efforts for the Chesapeake Bay that they would choose a more environmentally progressive method. And while it can be argued the sticks and debris are organically okay for the Bay, the nests pose a hazard to navigation for boaters plowing through them.
Regardless, we had a delightful sail as Matt Cook took the helm after graduating earlier in the day from AIT at Ft. Eustis. Matt was joined by his parents Mark and Melissa Cook and his fiancé, Syndney Brewer. The other couple were Denise and Pat Regan. What made the trip unique was that both parties had never met, yet were from the Buffalo NY area. It turned out they had friends in common.
Matt is now a US Army certified helicopter repair technician, primarily for attack Apaches. Pat asked him if he had to go up in the air with the pilot to verify any fix. “No,” Matt said. “There are only two seats, for the pilot and co-pilot. Besides, everything onboard is redundant because you have to have backup systems in place to fly combat missions.” We all agreed there was no margin of error. Pat used to be in ball bearings and asked a few questions about that.
Back to sailing. Pat said, “I have a friend who graduated with me in Buffalo. He was determined to go to sea. So he set out to become a ship’s mate and headed to the Virgin Islands. He caught a 72-foot ketch that happen to have the largest spinnaker in the region. It took 10 crew members to set it. They tried to break the speed record to Martinique. The winds were just right, so they took off and managed to break the record in the last mile of the trip.” (362 miles.) “Guess who was there to meet them—Ted Turner. He bought drinks for all of them all night long, he was so proud of them.”
Earlier we got to talking about the river current, which is high these days due to a hurricane offshore. The tides are running a foot above normal. The Niagra River connects Lake Erie with Lake Ontario with America’s greatest falls, and thus runs a wicked current. Mark Cook put it at 10 mph. “You don’t feel it around Peace Bridge, where people boat. It’s not noticeable, but you get to know what’s going on.” In other words, don’t get too close to the Falls.
In other jumping off news, Matt and Sydney were getting married tomorrow at the chapel of old Ft. Monroe.
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A couple and family went sailing and both turned out to be from Buffalo NY. They even had friends in common.
Capt Bill ODonovan
Williamsburg Charter Sails
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