Norfolk, VA to Solomonís Island, MD
10 June 2007 | June 10th to June 14th:
Days 300 through 305:
We are in Virginia! Actually we crossed the NC/VA line some point in the Dismal Swamp. We have heard that there is some sort of gigantic festival (Tall Ships, fireworks, 500,000 people expected) going on this weekend in Norfolk and start calling around about dockage to no avail. It is a Saturday morning and as we emerge from the Swamp, we decide to stop at Chesapeake Yachts just off the main ICW channel. Not much there but a face dock and a launching ramp, but a very friendly owner who takes pity on us and drives a bag of ice over to us from some convenience store (no amenities here) this afternoon . We spend the night (exhausted from no sleep last night) and watch as the pleasure boat zoo starts up. Jet skis, tons of power boats zooming around creating wakes, police boats ticketing people right and left, administering sobriety tests on the dock. We are glad that we are not trying to negotiate Norfolk Harbor with all these partying boats. And we are worrying about them hanging in Norfolk for the fireworks and then coming back to this launching ramp area to pull their boats at all hours in the dark. Normally VERY conservative re: light usage, we have every light imaginable lighting up Katannah so that these yahoos don't clock us on their way home tonight.
Virginia's Intracoastal Waterway is actually a history tour spanning two hundred years. No other 34-mile section intersects so many important events in the emergence of our nation. The rivers and canals are all central to America's early conflicts. The Revolutionary War was fought along the banks of the Waterway, as Loyalists and Patriost battled for control of stratgic routes. Pretty cool to observe from the water.
Off across Norfolk early the next AM while things are still quiet and on into a spot at the friendly Hampton Yacht Club in Hampton Roads. We are looking and feeling REALLY dirty from the leaves, silt, yuck of the Swamp so we spend a couple of hours scrubbing the daylights out of the boat, bleaching our cockpit cushions, hosing down the screens, just major cleaning. It feels really good to be clean. A walk about town finishes the day.
We are pulling out of Hampton Roads at 6 the next morning and S remarks "There's your Bermuda 40." He recognizes "Glide" from Marblehead who I have been looking for since I met its owners Sara and Stewart Tubbs both in Beaufort, NC and out of the blue on a ferry dock in Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. They recognize Katannah and arms are wildly waving. We chat on the radio and exchange destinations. We are off to Deltaville (Piankatank River on one side of town and the Rappahannock on the other) and into the Deltaville Marina and they are pushing to get a bit further North.
We pull into our favorite Deltaville Marina after an easy motorsail and set out to do our boat chores--refueling with our jugs, refilling the jugs, shooting into town in the loaner car to West Marine, filling our propane tank outside of town, etc. Deltaville is a very boat-oriented place and almost anything that you should need for the boat and could find in Annapolis or Solomons you can find here. There is a Corinthian Yacht Club cruise in here at anchor who party it up till sunset. Steve blows his conch shell at sunset, as is now our custom. A nice dinner, movie, and turn in early for the push to Solomon's Island tomorrow.
The next day we see "Glide" again ahead of us on the horizon. We communicate when we get closer, and it turns out that they had turned into Deltaville as well into a marina on the Rappahannock River side of town. They are heading for Solomon's as well. About half way through the day the skies start to look weird, S checks the weather, and they are predicting violent thunderstorms in the afternoon. We switch gears and alter our course so as to go up the Potomac River not as far up as St. Mary's City but into Smith Creek which is a protected, attractive backwater. We tie up at a marina face dock, and sure enough in comes "Glide" behind us. Sara and Stewart walk over later in the afternoon in an attempt to check out the now-closed restaurant at our marina and we have a fun time chatting until the sky eventually starts to turn dark purple and we both retire to our respective boats. The storm comes through and cools things off a bit--not as violent for us here as in other parts of the state.
Off to Solomon's the next AM bright and early. In the early morning mist we pass a square rigger anchored in the Potomac, probably on her way back from the Tall Ships show in Norfolk. What a beautiful sight. You can just picture a ship like that sitting here full of English men and women heading for what they would settle as Jamestown centuries ago. This area of the country is so chock-a-block full of history, and we love it.
After yet another motorsail, we pull into Solomon's in the early afternoon, and "Glide" pulls in an hour or two behind us. Both at moorings (a relief for us), we spend a pleasant afternoon and then head into a waterside restaurant for a fun dinner together. We feel like we have many "new" Marblehead friends from this trip alone!
The next AM dawns REALLY cold and grey. We haven't been this cold since November and it feels awful. "Glide" has taken off early to head for Annapolis where Sara will jump on the train to go home and Stewart will do the delivery from there with a crew. We are up and ready to go and S switches gear and decides to wait it out for the day as it is so cold. It would have been freezing out in the Bay and we are trying to cross over to Cambridge. We do the requisite dinghy to a dinghy dock, hit the post office and the grocery store, get a ride back to the dinghy from the friendly grocery store and dinghy our goods back to the boat. By the time we stow everything, it's dinner time, and another day has gone by. And we are in Maryland!
See corresponding album for pix.