MARE ISLAND — Navy veteran Tony Stasuik talked in the galley of a World War II support gunboat with a couple celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary.
The USS LCS-102 was moored as usual in the harbor, Saturday, at the historic Mare Island Naval Shipyard, and the couple from San Jose were enjoying the tour now that they finally decided to visit Mare Island.
“We drive by here constantly to get to Sears Point,” said Karen Arken, standing near her husband David.
Volunteer veterans welcomed visitors to explore the craft, which was one of the feature destinations at the sixth annual Mare Faire, which showcases the military history as well as natural habitat of Mare Island.
Stasuik said volunteering on the historic gunship “is very rewarding,”even though it’s “a lot of work and it’s dirty.”
The craft is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The LCS is moored at Berth 10 near 1080 Nimitz Ave. on Mare Island.
Farther down the peninsula, Dr. Tom Snyder, a retired Navy reservist, lead a tour of the old hospital grounds near the Touro University library.
This is sort of “hallowed ground,” said Snyder, as “many lost life and limb in the war.”
The hospital, which opened in 1901, served about 3,600 patients during World War II, said Snyder. It closed in 1957.
Vallejo resident John Pavon, 62, loved the tour.
“(Snyder) definitely knows his stuff,” he said. “It’s fascinating.”
Snyder, who founded the Society for the History of Navy Medicine, will host the hospital grounds tour again Sunday at 2:30 p.m. after a 1 p.m. slide presentation. The tour meets near the library, 1545 Azuar Drive.
Sunday’s Mare Faire schedule also includes tours of the historic Navy cemetery with a docent from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. as well as an estuary tour with a native plant specialist from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Preserve hikes start at the visitor’s center, 167 O’Hara Court, past the U.S. Army Reserve building near the southern tip of Mare Island.
The visitor’s center will also host a barbecue lunch from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 249-9633.
For a complete schedule, visit www.mareislandpreserve.org.
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.