Let me set the stage for you: I was on watch somewhere between Charleston and Virginia Beach. It was the midnight to 3 am shift, pitch black, moonless night. Craig was asleep down below in our cabin, Dan was asleep on the settee in the salon (the girls were in their cabins sleeping too). The wind was light and we were motor sailing.
I was minding my own business scanning the horizon front and back to make sure I knew where other boats were. All of a sudden I hear this loud boom, like an explosion. Dan sat up as I screeched from the sound. We determined it was a sonic boom. At the same time, I saw this very bright light that looked like it was coming right at us very fast. I was convinced it was a helicopter and it was going to hit our mast, it was flying so low. Keep in mind that when you are the only one awake, out in the middle of nowhere, your mind can plays tricks on you. I’m just saying.
I think I told Dan that that bright white light was freaking me out at least 5 times. I think he got it when he said “I think we’ve established that”. He told me it was a fishing boat and that they meander around haphazardly and to just keep an eye on it. So that’s what I did for the rest of my watch. I went to bed at 3 am when Dan came on for the dreaded 3 to 6 am shift. When I awoke in the morning, Craig and Dan told me that when the sun came up, they could clearly see that in fact it was not a fishing tournament going on (as Dan first thought). It was the US Navy. We sailed right through their circle of boats surrounding an aircraft carrier. Yikes! Dan said they followed us for about 10 miles during his watch. Double yikes!
We were joking that they watched us with their night vision binoculars and that “Anything Goes” is now classified.
On our way into Rhode Island, off the coast of Connecticut, we encountered a submarine – the US Navy once again. This is particularly funny because our friends on Escape Velocity warned us of possible submarines in Montauk Bay. When I told our trusty captain, he laughed at the thought. Low and behold, we saw a submarine! We watched to see what direction they were going and determined we were in their way. No sooner did we decide that, we heard two short horn blasts coming from the sub (two short blasts means that they are changing course to port). They passed us at our stern. We joked once again that we were their nemesis and they recognized us by our ‘screw signature’.