Very Flat, Norfolk
04 May 2018 | Norfolk, VA, USA
A day with its challenges, but it has seen us end up at Mile Zero - the official end of the ICW, anchored in the river between Norfolk and Portsmouth.
We spent last night with Iroquois at Coinjock (Mile 49) - where you can buy t-shirts saying "whereinthehellisCoinjock" - a little family-owned marina consisting of three little docks along the river side, a large t-shirt shop, two black labs, mallard ducks and southern flags everywhere. Also, a very good restaurant specialising in a 32-ounce prime rib (really??). We ate, and slept, very well.
We were delayed starting off by the fact that the pump-out machine didn't operate until 9am, and we were going nowhere without its services. Now that we are inshore, we have to maintain a log of every pump-out, and we are told that the more officious officials will take a view as to how 'reasonable' the time between pump-outs is. (If this section seems a little opaque, I suggest you wait till after you've eaten to seek clarification.)
Anyway... then we were off, motorsailing off down the ICW. There are some very narrow channels, mostly under 3m, long straight sections between wiggling ones, all requiring quite a lot of concentration especially as the wind was quite gusty. The main excitement was the great stacks of firewood on top of the marker posts, which turned out to be osprey nests - each one with a little face peeking out as we passed. More eagles too, which is always exciting.
Unlike previous days, this one had the challenge of bridges and locks. Some of the bridges will open on request - but only if it is worth while, with say four or five boats requesting an opening. Others open on a fixed schedule, usually on the hour and/or half hour. Well, we did ok on a couple of these but missed one opening by a couple of minutes and had to dawdle for half an hour to the next opening; the worst (after going through a timed lock and a linked bridge) was a bridge that will not open in the rush-hour (3.30 till 5.30) which we reached at 3.40. Fair enough; we tied up on a pontoon owned by a very nice lady and had a cup of tea. But the non-rush-hour-bridge is next to a railway bridge, which had a derailment, so no-one was moving till that was sorted out; so we, another yacht, a tug and a barge just milled around in ever decreasing circles until finally (at 6.30) we were allowed through. This was four miles before our destination - so frustrating. But here we are. The end of the ICW. And G has poured the rum. So that's it for tonight.