Portsmouth/Norfolk, VA – STILL
31 October 2010 | Portsmouth/Norfolk, VA
Sylvia - Sunny and Breezy and Cool
October 25 - 31, 2010
Another wait for a weather window drags on. And this time the weather window is very important. Our 260-275 nm passage to Beaufort, NC takes us right past Cape Hatteras, "the grave yard of the Atlantic". Now if that isn't an intimidating description, I don't know what is. We hear a lot of folks around here saying "OH" when we say we have to go outside because we can't do the ICW with our draft (which we might get by with) or our height (which de definitely can't get by with). But we did read an article sent to us by a sailor friend, Jim Hawkins, that was written by John Kretchsmer who has done it many times and is someone we both highly respect. He has thoughts on the passage which make a great deal of sense and his last thought is While maintaining a healthy dose of respect for the Cape, don't lose sleep worrying about rounding America's headland. Nine out of 10 passages are uneventful, especially with a little prudence. So we are trying to be prudent. (For those of you who are interested the article is at http://www.sailnet.com/forums/cruising-articles/20267-rounding-cape-hatteras.html ). We are hopeful that tomorrow or most probably Tuesday is the day we set off.
This delay has given us some time to see some of the area, make new friends, do boat work(of course), read some books, and to connect with several other sailors. And that is really what the whole life style is about anyway.
On Tuesday we met Dave Segal who has the big Carver power cruiser next to us in the slip. He is a very nice Canadian who is again going to FL in spite of having lost his wife several years ago and being almost 81. He does have a captain coming in tomorrow since it would be too difficult to do it by himself but he is going and will spend the winter in the warmth. We had dinner with him that evening at the restaurant here in the marina and had a very enjoyable time. We found out that his company was one of the contractors that built the lovely marina at the old port of Montreal. He will be leaving about the same time as we will but will be able to do the ICW. We are to call him when we get to Fl and we most certainly will.
On Wednesday, Betsy and Russ Armstrong from our group of sailors in the Twin Cities drove down to see us. Their boat is the Chesapeake only a couple of hours from here. They are busy working to get her ready and continue to dream of the day when they can start their real cruising. They toted us to the grocery store and to an AutoZone so we could get some things and then we all had a lovely but very breezy dinner on the deck of the restaurant here. It was so wonderful to see some folks from back home after all of this time.
On Thursday, we started looking for Louise and Jean-Denis from Nemea. They were in Deltaville with Patrick and Karin on The Artful Dodger and David on Fire Crest and all three of those Canadian boats were headed to Norfolk. As it turned out they all ended up at different locations the first night but they were all here.
So on Friday we took the ferry from Portsmouth across the river to Norfolk to connect up with Louise and Jean-Denis. They were at the marina directly across from us. We spent some time catching up and even called the other two boats on the VHF and got a chance to talk to them. Nemea was having heat exchanger problems so we had a quick lunch at the local Hooters. It was close and convenient, what can I say. Bill wore his sun glasses most of the time for one of two reasons - one so they wouldn't recognize him (first time there so no possibility of that) or two so that he didn't have to worry about looking the girls in the eye when they came to the table. Jean-Denis then went back to do some work while the three of us called FRED and went to the Chrysler Art Museum for the afternoon. FRED is a wonderful service in Norfolk. It is a battery operated green machine that looks like a stretched golf cart. It carries 5 people plus the driver and is free. All you have to do is call and it will come and take you anywhere in the main downtown and as we discovered even out some way to the museum. We had a fine afternoon at the museum and then after another ride in FRED back to the marina, we found that Jean-Denis had hopefully solved their problem. Now he could enjoy some of the area as well so we made arrangements to get together again on Saturday.
We ferried back across the river and discovered that Artful Dodger's dinghy was tied to our finger pier. She and Fire Crest were anchored out in the anchorage basin near us. We settled in and waited for them to come back from where ever they were. Soon there was a tap on the hull and we could now reconnect with Patrick and Karin and David. They spent some time filling us in on their adventures and we had a new audience for ours. They are such neat folks. I am so in hopes we will connect again further south.
Saturday we again ferried to Norfolk early in the afternoon and went with Louise and Jean-Denis to see the USS Wisconsin battleship and to take in the Nauticus museum where the ship is moored. Luckily the weather was nicer than it had been earlier in the week. Although there was still plenty of wind it was warmer and there was lots of sunshine. Early drinks and dinner near the marina finished up the day. They were leaving on Sunday so it would be an early start for them - just before sunrise. What a joy it was to be able to spend time with them again.
Now it is Sunday and we are making it a leisurely day - reading and sitting in the cockpit (with jackets on) watching boats come in and the big Carnival Cruise ship make the Norfolk skyline disappear. I have done one of my twice daily weather checks (NOAA, Buoyweather, MagicSeaweed and Weatherunderground and even Accuweather) and it still appears that Tuesday and Wednesday are a go. We will decide this evening whether Mon and Tues are possibilities. Thank goodness we have good a good internet connection here or else I would have to go up to the marina office and do my thing.