Playing with Submarines

»«July 2008

I was having a nice snooze when I sensed something was up and poked my head out to see a submarine alongside us going the other way.

'That's quite close!'
'Not as close as it was when it surfaced on the bow.'

At that moment there was a loud bang. Arthur pointed astern.
'There's a couple of battleships around.'

More and louder bangs. We kept going.

'Perhaps we had better have the radio on,' I said. Arthur looked shocked.

'Is it off?'
'It kept me awake.'

The VHF crackled into life and there was lots going on, but, on our 35 year old set, garbled. Arthur looked at the chart.

'We're in a submarine exercise area.'
'I could have told you that,'
I said, 'And I think we're the target.'

A helicopter in the distance turned 180 degrees and sat on top of us. We turned on the portable radio which came through loud and clear.

'Yacht under helicopter, yacht under helicopter.'
'Hello helicopter. Star Swan here.'
I'm the one who talks on radio. There was another, even closer, bang.
'Turn due south and go one and a half nautical miles.'

Arthur was cross,
'We're nearly to Falmouth, that takes us away. And he can't be a serious naval officer, he's got a lisp.'

So I got back on the radio.

'Helicopter, are you sure about that?'
They were.

After this there were no more bangs and once we had gone a mile they called off the exercise. Bah. When we got into Falmouth we got our VHF checked - aerial good, set useless. We have a new one and must remember to keep it on.

Anne Heasley