Sailing with Dolphins
The Couvion family of suburban St. Louis crossed at least two rivers to go sailing on the York. First the Mississippi and second the James, where they’re staying in a VRBO house near the water while vacationing at Williamsburg. Mike the dad said, “We’re close enough to swim in the river, and you can walk way out without going under.” Debbie the mom said, “The woman cautioned that not go behind the house to the ravine because the soil was like quicksand.”
They came across the James on a ferry, whose crew had only the day before delivered a baby. It was the second time in 13 months that had happened. As I was getting revved up for the history lecture, a pod of dolphins showed up. It was the first substantial sighting this month and largest this summer. About a dozen frolicked in the water, chumming for fish.
“We swam with the dolphins in Cozumel,” Debbie recalled. “They warned the women not to go in if they were pregnant. I thought it was a precaution against some water-borne infection, but no. It’s because the dolphins have unique sonar that can detect pregnancy in women. They become agitated and start fighting each other to protect the baby. Isn’t that amazing?” We pondered the wonders of science for a moment when her son Caleb piped up, “That would be an awkward way to find out that you’re pregnant.” Everyone laughed.
The dolphins swam away and someone asked if the boat would make it under the Coleman Bridge. I said sure and away we went. I explained how Navy ships transit the bridge, and how the crew of the USS Yorktown guided missile cruiser would stand on the deck in dress whites to salute the town.
Debbie said, “My father served on the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier in Vietnam.” I encouraged her to take him to the Yorktown Museum in Charleston, where the carrier is on tour with exhibits covering multiple wars. The Congressional Medal of Honor Museum is on the ship. “We should do that. He doesn’t like to travel, but that would be good. He never talked much about his Navy service. Once he said, ‘Here I am, safe on a ship when just five miles away there are boys fighting out there in the jungle.’ He’s 75 and still working. That’s their generation.”
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