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October 5, 2016 Adventure, California, Charter sail, Coleman Bridge, exciting, Grandchildren, Navy, Pennsylvania, Sailboat, Sailing, Submarine, Williamsburg, York River, Yorktown

Sailing past a submarine

Sailing near Williamsburg

Two couples who’ve been married for decades celebrated their anniversaries by sailing past a submarine during their vacation to Williamsburg.

Lisa Kuert surprised her husband Paul on their 35th. “I had no idea where she was taking me,” he said. “I had sandals on so I figured it couldn’t be too dangerous, like rock climbing.”

Sailing past a submarinePaul took the helm because he had the most boating experience of the five crew members. “I used to have a 20-foot runabout with an outdrive, an inboard-outboard. It had a 305 horsepower Chevy engine and could tow the children nicely on tubes and rafts. It was great for our lake house in Pennsylvania, but the water was shallow. One day I crossed a sandbar at high speed and hit it. It didn’t get stuck, but it got sand in the shaft and the manifold. It never ran well after that.”

Today the Kuerts have a pontoon boat on the lake. Lisa said, “We take our children and grandchildren out. All seven grandchildren are girls.”

Navy warship 84

Sailing past a submarineBefore long we saw a Navy warship on the horizon, headed to Yorktown. Sherry and Wayne Bommer hail from suburban San Diego and have seen lots of Navy ships. This one was the USS Bulkeley, named for an admiral who won the Medal of Honor. It was the 34th of the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers.

We stood off north of the Coleman Bridge to watch both spans swing open for the Bulkeley to pass, with the help of two large Moran tugs. Once through, we followed by sailing under the mid-section. We tacked back and forth upriver to the Naval Weapons Station. For some reason the tugs were taking a long time to dock the destroyer, and I saw why. As we got closer we could see the outline of a submarine already docked. That’s a rare sight. At one point we were tacking straight toward the sub, so I got on the radio to alert the Navy patrol boat that we were tacking briefly toward the sub but not attacking it. He seemed sufficiently pleased at that.

Sailing past a submarineLisa looked pretty young for her 35th. “I was 18 when he proposed.” Sherry Romer piped up, “Me too. I was 18 and he was 20. Back then you had to ask for permission. Next year will be our 50th anniversary.”

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Sailing past a submarine

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