By John R. Long
The Coast Guard Weather Wagons often visited Bermuda and for many years maintained a mid-ocean presence there for Search and Rescue and other duties. There are hundreds of stories about some of the adventures our Coasties had on liberty in St. George, Hamilton, and points in between. At least our heroes of this tale didn't face a local magistrate and see the inside of a Bermuda Gaol. They also didn't learn that the fine for urinating on the "Queen's Streets was 10 Pounds. Motor bike adventures and cruise ship visits were some of the more interesting highlights of a Bermuda visit. Somebody eventually will write more about this mid ocean paradise - Jack
In 1951 after a
patrol on station "Easy" the Yakutat paid it's second visit to
Due to the mischief (or downright destruction) caused by the crew on our first visit we were not allowed to dock at the regular facility but were required to anchor out and come ashore by motor launch.
third watch had liberty so I and two of my fellow snipes, Danny O'Reardon EN1
and "Bud" Cassidy EN2, decided to go ashore together.
course we stopped at the first watering hole for some fortification and
consequently two or three more pubs before one of us came up with the brilliant
picking up a jug or two of rum we flagged a cab and instructed the driver to
take us to a beach where we would not be disturbed.
beach was just as we had requested with not a soul in sight and an idyllic
promptly peeled down to our nothings and commenced to enjoy the surf and sand
immensely for and hour or so until I happened to notice we were
were being handcuffed for transportation to the Marine brig we asked what had
been our infraction and the Coast Guard SP pointed to a structure approximately
50' up on the bluff above the beach which, as luck would have it, turned out to
be a very exclusive (and full) tea room with floor to ceiling glass that
afforded a gorgeous view of the ocean and the beach below where our antics had
recently been on display.
For the rest of
our stay in beautiful Hamilton we were provided with solitary confinement cells
in the Marine brig until time for the last launch to return to the ship.
was being seated in the launch with two dozen or so of the drunkest, sickest
sailors I had ever seen I noticed another black gang member "Lefty"
Lester and as I sat next to him stated I would sure like to have a drink and, as
if by magic, "Lefty" produced a flask of rum from his boot. The rum
tasted much better on the trip than it did the next day while we stood at
Captains Mast while the Skipper read the following charge: "These men were
picked up at Elbow Beach, Bermuda where they were observed frolicking in the
sand and exposing private parts of their bodies" and then he proceeded to
upbraid us unmercifully for the better part of an hour and ended with the
statement that we had almost caused an international incident. I presumed there
were some politically connected people in that tea room.
course the Mast was nothing compared to the ribbing we took from our shipmates
for months afterward.
often thought about the cab driver with the weird sense of humor.
EN2 John R. Long served in the U.S. Coast Guard in mid-century.
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