Avoiding the Storm
06 September 2019 | Norfolk, VA
I think it was less than 3 weeks ago that Jon & I firmed up our hurricane plan for this season which was to move north to Norfolk in Evergreen should one threaten. Not that we can really spare the time right now as the season is marching on and we still have so much left to do to get our new RV home done by fall. But its the safest thing we could think of and that is really what matters most. Well here we are in Norfolk tucked in to our old favorite marina at Waterside except under different conditions than in years past. We have passed through here several times on previous cruises to rest a bit after finally reaching the start of the ICW. It was usually a crappy trip south from New England in unsettled weather and it was a relief to pull in here knowing that the next 1000 miles we could do "inside" in whatever weather there was.
Several days ago we dropped everything and started motoring up here to put our plan in motion and it felt good to be moving rather than fretting in place. The worrying and waiting is enough to give you an ulcer and we are in the mode of trying to make these negative experiences as pleasant as we can. It was a smooth trip up although it felt long and it never ceases to amaze us anymore how impossibly slow boats are (and how antsy we get), and yet at the same time when crossing oceans, you can move from continent to continent in them in what hindsight feels like not too long overall. On one of the early mornings we were in a 28 mile landcut in NC and watched a black bear cross the cut in front of us with a good breast stroke going. When he got to the other side he did a good shake, looked over at us and then disappeared into the brush. Traveling along the ICW, we felt a little like we were cruising again, we had 2 nice nights of anchoring in the grass flats and we even stayed a night in Great Bridge near the locks on a free dock to rest and get off the boat for some exercise before coming in to Norfolk. We managed to pick up a few thousand fuzzy bill bugs on deck at the 2nd anchorage which reminded us too much of the May fly invasion we had in May coming back from the Bahamas.
Norfolk is a spiffy city with a nice vibe and for this storm we are protected by the buildings and the marina is solid. We spent some time getting the boat secured and then started touring the city. The Chrysler art museum is filled with beautiful things and a complete, worldwide coverage exhibit on the history of glass and glassmaking, from the beginning. They have over 10,000 pieces in their collection and it was by far the most varied display we've ever seen. This Tiffany glass painting of a sunset was so unique. They also have a lot of great paintings.
At another museum we relived the life of General MacArthur until we got tired of war and then we walked a few miles on the Elizabeth River trail to get some exercise because our bikes are in the truck! Our thoughts were with the Bahamian people and their lovely islands that we just sailed by recently. It is just heartbreaking to consider their pain and the work ahead. And all the birds, animals and reefs too, did anything survive?
A visiting tall ship from Uruguay, the Capitan Miranda is moored near us and we boarded to walk around and talk to the sailors and practice our Spanish. One of them Luis, said that he had saved up to be able to buy things like clothes and electronics in the US since it is so much less expensive than Uruguay, so far he spent $3000 and has to sleep in his chair now because his bed is loaded with all of his purchases! Haha, that's funny. We enjoyed visiting with him. It has been a nice mini-break if nothing else and we are hoping to start heading back to Washington as soon as the storm is over, not that we feel like it...
The last few weeks have been focused around the metalwork and wiring for the most part. The rear tire rack and motorcycle rack are completed and it took 2 days- one to prep and one to paint them. We used Raptor rubberized paint in the spray gun after priming and it turned out pretty well and looks like it will be tough. It needed about a week to fully cure which would have been this past Monday but we were well on our way to Norfolk so they are sitting there in the yard at the welding shop where Charlie, the nice guy who is doing our welding had let us use his yard to paint our stuff. The rear rack has now gone through a hurricane which I guess is a good test of the paint! Charlie will help us bolt those pieces back on with his fork lift and then he & Jon will complete the 3 under storage boxes that are nearly done. We have those to paint now. We are just waiting on the doors to be made by another welder who does those more complex bends but I'm guessing his shop will have been flooded so might lose a few days there.
While the welding was going on I went to the shop too and did some more varnishing, painting and silicone sealing of the interior and also the drawers for the galley are put together and varnished. We also have a ladder now with a shiny aluminum platform to take our shoes off. We kept it high off the ground since we don't mind the step and we got a small ladder to make it easier if we want to. That ladder also helps us get on & off the rear platform to load/unload the motorbike.
Whenever there were any breaks in the welding we dug into the wiring. Neither of us have ever wired something of our own from a blank slate before and it is amazing just how many of those buggers you have to run! But now we have all manner of things wired up on their breakers, the batteries are charged, the inverter is up & running, the outlets can charge our things and power the vacuum, the fridge is cooling, the fans are blowing, the oven light turns on, the Maxx fan is exhausting, the UV sterilizer is set to keep our water drinkable, the speakers provide music, we have an app on our phone to monitor the in & out of amps, all very exciting. Our new A/C is not blowing cool air so now we have to get that fixed but hopefully not too much hassle with the warranty. We were all set to put the solar panels on the roof the day we had to leave so that is still tabled. What a drag it was loading all that stuff up to move from the marina to the workshop (higher ground), leave the truck there, take care of the car- nuts! And such stress.
We're entered into the Overland East Expo in mid October in Arrington, VA as a DIY Overland RV build. It promises to be fun & informative and we hope to meet some cool people. We will stay in our truck for the first time that weekend I imagine and we can't wait to try it out. In the meantime, we finally have a Dometic truck cab A/C being held at Fedex for us from Valencia, Spain. The truck needs A/C bad in the cab and this rooftop unit will hopefully be the answer. So more work to do if we can manage to get back in one piece. We've already decided that should another storm threaten and we have to retrace our steps up here, it would make sense to just leave Evergreen in the Chesapeake. Hopefully that doesn't happen just in time for the expo. We are certainly hoping that this will be our last hurricane season in this neck of the woods. We do now fully appreciate how our hull insurance used to say that we couldn't go south of Norfolk before November 1!
I'm not sure but I think maybe you can't link pictures anymore on the non subscription part of Sailblogs. Or at least it doesn't seem to be working now. We're establishing a new website for the RV- we just haven't finished the layout yet. Maybe now is the right time to transition to it.