Happy Halloween from Norfolk, VA!
I'm happy to report that the winds subsided yesterday and a whole flotilla headed out of their anchorages and marinas bound for the ICW. It was really quite a site to see dozens of boats in a loose line headed for Norfolk yesterday morning. There was no wind and motored along on glassy waters. It started out in the low 50s but warmed to the upper 60s by the time that we pulled in.
The last time that I was in Norfolk was in 1998/1999 and the city has improved a lot since then. We pulled into the Waterside Marina, which is on the Norfolk side of the river and on the river boardwalk. It's a rather small marina, but well maintained and has very friendly staff. The nice thing is that the major attractions in Norfolk are all within walking distance...that is unless it's a Monday...
Nauticus, which is the National Marine Center museum, is next door to the marina and since I was last here they brought in the battleship Wisconsin. I've been through Nauticus, which is wonderful, but really wanted to go through the Wisconsin. We were quite disappointed to find that it's closed on Mondays. We decide to head to the General MacArthur memorial and really enjoyed going through that. I will say that contrast between the death rates of our current wars/conflicts and past wars was astounding.
After touring the memorial we headed out on the "Cannonball Trail" which takes you through the nicer parts of the city. I definately saw some nicer areas than I've seen before. The architecture in the Freeman historical district was beautiful. Our biggest problem was finding a restaurant to eat in as most of the better places were closed on Monday nights.
I had wanted to head off-shore around Cape Hatteras, but the winds & seas just weren't cooperating. Before we left I checked the buoy reports for the Diamond Shoals off of Cape Hatteras and saw 5'+ seas. They were supposed to have laid down, but the problem was that if the forecast was wrong, we were committed and would have been bashing into heavy seas. The alternative was to head down the ICW.
The bridges in Norfolk present a lot of challenges. The next stop along the ICW is almost 50 miles from here which is 10 hours of motoring and we need to be in by dark. There are two nearby bridges which don't open between the hours of 6:30 and 8:30-9:00 AM. That means that you have to depart in the dark and navigate a busy river to make them before that (which is not something that I want to do) or make the first bridge at 8:30 and the next at 9:00 (it only opens on the hour) and then make the lock which follows it. I'm worried about the last part as there are a ton of boats headed that direction. I suspect that we're going to be pushing the daylight hours today.
-- Geoff & Sue
For the Cruiser:
Waterside marina is $1.30/ft and has free 30A hookup. They also have free wireless Internet. The showers are spotless. There are 2 washing machines and driers which are $1.25 and there's a Hooters next door to while away your time at the laundry. What more could a cruiser ask for! :-)
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