Bellhaven, NC to Norfolk

Thursday, June 28, 2007
Virginia, USA

036-50.640 N
076-17.520 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from Norfolk, VA!

We're currently docked in Norfolk, VA which is the start of the ICW. We're currently at mile marker 0.4, so once we pull out of the marina we'll quickly pass that illusive mile marker 0. All along the ICW mile marker signs are posted and you slowly watch them change. Seeing the buoy marking MM 0 will be very nice. Then it's only 50 miles to Deltaville.

Osprey NestsI must admit that the past few days on the ICW have blurred together as it's been non-stop moving. Quite often we've been underway by 6 AM and haven't pulled in until close to 7 PM. That makes for a LONG day. My favorite time of the day is first thing in the morning when it's still out and the world is just waking up. I love watching all of the birds catching breakfast for their young. Many of the navigation markers have Osprey nests on them and if you go close to them, you can watch the parent birds feeding their young with fish that they've just caught. Most of the Osprey nests have 2 chicks in them and they're getting quite large. It's been fun to watch them grow, as they all seem to have hatched at about the same time, and we've definitely seen their sizes increase as we've moved along.

When I last wrote we were in Bellhaven, NC and from there we moved to Coinjock, NC. In general that's a pretty boring stretch of water as you have to go through the straight 28 mile Pungo-Alligator River Canal, which is lined with swamp trees on either side. You really have to watch to make sure that you don't wander too far to the sides as the canal has lots of submerged stumps and debris on the edges. Then you pop out into the very wide Alligator river and the wider Albemarle Sound where you're in the middle a very wide expanse of water. The Albemarle Sound has the reputation of being very rough in strong winds. We didn't experience that as whatever wind we did have was from behind and matched the speed of the boat, making it very sultry. We got into Coinjock at 6:45 and pulled into the Midway Marina where we've enjoyed staying in the past.

The trip from Coinjock to Norfolk is loaded with bridges and locks and the timing is very difficult to manage. The bridges in Norfolk remain closed starting at about 3 PM, so you have to be through them before that. There are a series of bridges that only open on the hour, so if you mis-time things, you can spend a lot of time circling. I'm happy to say that we timed things very well and made all of the bridges and locks right on time.

I did have a bit of a spitting contest with one bridge tender. He had two boats doing a very bad job of circling directly in front of the bridge and he didn't want to open the bridge until I got closer. I told him that there was no way that I was going to get close to those other boats and that he should open the bridge, and if I wasn't through it in time, he could close it. As it turned out, the bridge wasn't even fully open by the time that I passed through it and the lock tender (who was located just past the bridge) told me that there was no way that he would have pulled his boat up there either after watching the other boats almost hit one another.

NorfolkNorfolk has a ton of commercial traffic and you really have to pay attention. We got to dodge lots of barges and tugs and we got blasted sideways with the prop wash from some tugs holding a ship against the dock. That was only exciting due to the oncoming barge...Anyhow, we made it without any problems and pulled into the Midway Marina in Norfolk at 2:45 and relaxed for the rest of the day.

Today we'll make the 50 mile trip N to Deltaville, VA where we'll leave the boat for the hurricane season.

-- Geoff & Sue

For the cuiser:

The Midway marina in Coinjock is $1.50/ft and $4/30A power. The Coinjock marina across the river is $1.75/ft, but they include everything on you boat. We would have been about 46' with the dinghy and bow sprit. The folks at Midway have always been very nice to deal with.

The Waterside marina in Norfolk is $1.25/ft and 30A is free. Some people are concerned about security as the boardwalk goes past the marina, but we've never seen any problems. As usual, lock your boat!
Log ID: 987

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