People ask, “What are some strange things you see on the river?” They had to open the Coleman Bridge for a tiny tug pushing a tall crane down the York River from Cheatham Annex pier. The crane is taller than the typical Navy cruisers that transit the bridge to Yorktown Naval Weapons Station.
The coolest thing: a Navy SEALS fastboat, outfitted with camoflauge for concealment. Two of these zoomed upriver one day and stopped dead in the water to do maneuvers. They sent a team of SEALS in a Zodiac dinghy to attack the shoreline near the US Coast Guard Training Center. Practice only.
The strangest thing: a hybrid raft with an Army tent and various other detrious. It shows up once or twice a season, lumbering upriver to the Mataponi where the boat is home-ported. The noisest thing: Giant Navy hovercraft on maneuvers from Little Creek at Virginia Beach. One time the thing died and had to be rescued by another hovercraft. I was in the middle of an engagement cruise, so it distracted all three of us.
Impressive thing: Watching the Coleman Bridge open to let a Navy ship through. This happens every other Monday or Tuesday as destroyers and Landing Ship Docks head in from Norfolk, usually around 1 pm. They go back on Thursday or Friday morning around 9:30 but that’s less predictable. It takes 22 minutes from start to finish for the guard rails to go down on the bridge and then rise back up. Add ten minutes for the USS Cole, out of respect for the tragedy in Yemen in 2000.
Most impressive thing: a Navy submarine. They show up very seldom but always get a rush from clients on board. When you look closely at the USS Texas (above) you can see a worker standing on the hull while the sub runs toward the bridge. They must have magnetic shoes.
Let’s Go Sail to See a Tall Crane
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They had to open the Coleman Bridge for a tall crane to transit along the York River
Capt Bill ODonovan
Williamsburg Charter Sails