Friday, November 14, 2014
Really enjoyed the IMAX theater in Hampton that was showing “Interstellar” , a really intelligent and human interest message style sci-fi movie. Then Thursday morning we departed for a short day of 25 miles through the very busy Norfolk/Portsmouth area and seven or so bridge openings and one lock (a small two foot drop in comparison to the huge 40 ft drops on the Erie Canal) to Great Bridge, VA (sight of yet another battle). The military might of the USA was so amazingly in evidence as we travelled along the river and saw at least 30 vessels from aircraft carriers to destroyers, passing by several areas with security patrols on the water. Some of the bridge tenders are wonderfully informative (although times of openings are posted they may change due to commercial traffic) with notifications of when the bridge will be opening announced on channel 13 while others in what can only be described as a bit of a power trip do not even respond to hailing. For a short while we travelled with fellow first timers aboard Express Mail, a Hunter 44, but they turned to go down the Dismal Swamp while we chose the Virginia Cut since our hope is to head a bit eastward out of the ICW to Roanoke Island. Much of the cut is beautiful but under cloudy skies less than spectacular in photos so only a few were taken.
Speaking of power trip most of the folks traveling along the ICW are courteous but ever once in a while you get that self absorbed jerk, and yes usually a powerboat, that doesn’t pay attention to no wake zones. Then again what can you expect from a boat named Norma Jean with the deck female in furried cowboy boots from Ft. Pierce FL (coming into Coinjack NC).
Arriving mid afternoon, we ate out early and had one of our best meals yet though was in at Great Bridge at “Kelly’s” – great quality meat cheeseburger with wonderful beans and rice/peppers & onions as a side, and lightly battered fried fish tacos, good service by a dedicated bartender and reasonably priced at $42 with tip with 2 glasses of wine. There is also a great walking memorial to the battle of Great Bridge between the marina and the restaurant that due to rain we only experienced as a passing glance.
As soon as morning Norfolk rush hour ended allowing the bridges to open for boat traffic we departed in yet another cold morning of less than 40 degrees with long underwear on again for the 35 miles to Coinjack NC. In this area we experienced some of the classic marshland beauty of the ICW but some narrow channels requiring constant attention. The artic dip is playing havoc with our intent to anchor out along the way as we need the electricity each night at a dock just to keep from freezing ourselves and the cats.