Many folks know that the peninsula formed by land between Idlewild Bay and Scenic Bay on Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho was the second largest U.S. Navy training facility during World War II. Many folks don’t know that the Navy has maintained a presence on the lake even to today. The operation today is the U.S. Naval Acoustic Research Detachment. In addition to a 133-foot, quarter scale destroyer, there are several submarines.
If you only go to the Bayview part of the lake on weekends, you might get a glimpse of these tied to the docks at the research facility located in the southwest corner of Scenic Bay. Occasionally during the week, you get to see these boats transiting between Bayview and a research area north of Cape Horn - - in the deepest part of the lake (1,100 feet plus deep). The submarines are often escorted by a surface support boat.
Snickerdoodle’s sail number is 4839. One mid-week afternoon while I was sailing back to Bayview from Whiskey Rock, my VHF radio announced, “Sailboat #4839; sailboat #4839; this is the U.S. Navy; maintain your course; say again – maintain your course; a submarine will surface directly astern of you; maintain your course.” And, sure enough, about thirty seconds later a submarine surfaced about 200 meters astern in my wake. That was an exciting afternoon.