Still in Virginia
26 October 2010
We left the bright lights of Norfolk early to make a tight schedule of several opening bridges and a lock in the ICW, all within the space of 20 miles. Miss one bridge and wait an hour before the next opening! Although the ICW, or the Ditch, actually starts much further north, mariners count its start in Norfolk, as Mile Marker 0, and we have switched our instruments over and are now tracking our progress in statute miles instead of nautical miles. It will be about 1,000 statute miles to Florida and although we think of it as a straight north-south line, the ICW actually winds and curves up and down so much that I am already finding it confusing to figure out where north and south are. In fact, the guidebooks take this into account and just use left/right directions, so at least I am not alone in this.
Well, our plans to do 56 miles today stopped right in the lock, at Mile Marker 12. We safely tied off bow and stern and proceeded to await the lock's reopening. As a courtesy, we had turned off our engine to keep the fumes down. Once the lock tender gave the go ahead, we tried to start the engine, and no dice. Bob waved some magic in the engine room and was able to jump-start the failing solenoid so that we could move out of the lock the following hour. But that put us behind schedule enough that we couldn't make another port in time, so we pulled into the Atlantic Yacht Basin for new parts and another tie-up for the night. On the plus side, we got some exercise walking to the Farm Fresh Market, one of Virginia's hidden treasures.
For you nonboaters, picture this scene. Right here, we are tied up right in the ICW, which is about 300 ft wide here. Behind us, about 200 ft, is the Great Bridge bridge, busy with traffic to and fro. Every hour this bridge opens and up to 10 boats stream through at slow speed. One of the lazy things everyone does is sit and watch the boats going by. Suddenly I spy John and Barbara on Soleig IV, friends we met in Maine and again in the Solomons, going past. A quick wave and maybe we'll catch up to them at some point. Everyone in the ditch is friendly. And across from us, some locals have been sitting in their chairs, fishing, maybe discussing the problems of the world or maybe just hoping they can bring dinner home.
We are now out of synch with friends Alan and Gerri on Civil Twilight, but imagine we'll catch up at some point.