Another Skipjack Moment

by Steve Gentry


These fancy nuke boats sure pull some piss-poor liberty ports. I don't know if the locals are afraid of getting zapped, or when you use the word 'nuclear', images of mushroom clouds fill their heads, or something! Whatever... You just gotta know that whenever we were scheduled for liberty in Ft. Lauderdale, it was 'Party Hearty Time' and anticipation was high. So, lets pick up this story about an hour and a half east of Ft. Lauderdale...

We're running on the surface... Have been for an hour or so. We don't spend much time on the surface and its a beautiful day in south Florida waters. We've got the safety lines rigged on the fairwater planes, and everyone sorta rotates from below decks to topside to get some fresh air and see the coast line in the distance.

We've got some Admiral onboard... One of them SUBRON SIX heavyweight guys... Really a nice fellow who was friendly with everyone throughout the cruise.

The radar is turning and we're picking up costal traffic in the shipping lanes as the quartermaster takes a couple fixes on the #2 scope and cuts us a line direct to the mouth of Port Everglades. Up ahead of us a few miles are a young couple in a private fishing boat with lovin' on their minds. Unbeknownst to them, they are about to have one of them once-in-a-life-time thrills... Me, and about 8 other sailors standing on the starboard fairwater plane are about to laugh our asses off.

We're working inbound on the extreme right side of the channel... Pretty close to the channel markers (ummm, red on right- returning!?) that pass a couple 100' off to starboard. Quite a distance ahead, there are occasional private boats puttin' around or tied to a marker doing some fishing. One such boat was just a speck in the distance when we first noticed it. As we continued inbound, that small boat became more and more visible... There didn't seem to be anyone in the boat!! That's strange... We could see folks fishing, or drinking beer, or whatever, on the other boats, but nobody is in view on THIS boat!

We are hugging the right side of the channel, doing about 12-15 knots, super quiet, and I'd guess we're 50'-100' from the marker as we approach this fishing boat. It's a 22', open cockpit number, rocking back and forth with the swells. Nobody is in it! We will pass right next to this fishing boat, about 30-40 feet off to starboard and from the fairwater plane you can look right down inside this small boat.

We'll, I'll be damned!! Just as we pass abeam the fishing boat, looking right down in it, we see some naked bodies scramble to cover up and their eyes are full of disbelief! We'd caught them in a slightly compromising position... All of us let out some whooops and hollers!! It was so funny! The look in their eyes as this submarine quietly cruises by... All us horny sailors doing cat calls!!

I'm sure that those two are still telling that story to this day!

And, as usual Ft. Lauderdale was very very good to Skipjack!