Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Norfolk, VA

The weather reports, and we listen to more than one, all said winds 5 to 10.  So we figured a nice easy motor from Onancock to Norfolk.  The next several days were going to be nasty, so rather than holing up in Mobjack Bay or somewhere else we decided to make the longer run to Norfolk.

They lied.  Or were seriously in error.  The winds were 20 to 25 with gusts to 30.  3 and 4 foot waves hitting us on the beam a good portion of the way.   All in all, not fun.  We're too old to rock and roll.  Getting into Norfolk wasn't too bad, but as dusk was deepening, the background lights made it more and more difficult to find the marks.  The big container ships we don't worry about so much anymore, we know they'll stay out of our way. (That was sarcasm, for you non-nautical types.)

So we headed behind the tunnel entrance (it's weird knowing cars are driving underneath you) and into Willoughby Bay and dropped anchor for the night.  Bouncy night and was getting worse next day so we pulled up anchor and headed for the more protected Hospital Point.  It was sloppy getting there, a sailor could almost spill his rum.  But we lived.  You probably had that part figured out cause you're so astute.  (I had to throw that word in because I only recently discovered it wasn't just a nice word for fart.)

Anyway, if you've read this far, you can stop now and rest and look at the pictures.

Sunrise over Norfolk from Willoughby Bay

Same scene a few minutes later

 Here's a ship you own.

Here's a ship you don't own.

Part of the view from our anchorage at Hospital Point - you may own some of these buildings, too.

Paddle wheel tour boat that plies the Elizabeth River - more pix of this later. I promise.

Lots of tour boats in the area.

Tent city?

Big steel trawler anchored near us.

Here's that boat you don't own again with another boat in the foreground to give a sense of proportion.  The one in the foreground is about 40 feet long and about 60 yards closer to us. Did you notice the helicopter on the back?  This is how the other 1/10,000,000th lives.

This is a weather buoy.  We've been seeing a lot of these.  From the weather predictions we've been getting, you didn't get your money's worth.

Norfolk is pretty at night, if you like this sort of thing.

Tour boat with tanbark sails  - arrrghh!

We pulled up anchor and headed out of the Hospital Point anchorage.  That's a pile of anchor rode (yes, that's spelled right) and chain and bottom mud on the bow of our boat.

We passed another ship you don't own, bigger than a building.

And a few ships you do own - bigger than a city.  That deck is about as high as our mast.

I don't know why we put this picture here.  It is not of interest, just move on.

Remember earlier I promised more pictures of the paddle wheel tour boat?  I kept that promise -  here they are.

Two pictures for the price of one.  But wait... there's more!

Another boat you own.  Well, at least part of it...

maybe this part.

It's a large barge, Marge.

And you wonder where your defense budget dollar is going.

Another fixer-upper along the waterfront.

The N & PBL railroad lift bridge. The one behind it is being dismantled - you can see the span is missing.  It was the Jordan Lift Bridge.  They are much taller than they look in the photo - ships pass under them.

That's looking up our mast from under the Railroad lift bridge.  You can see the tracks.

Here's a container ship being loaded - or unloaded - we didn't stick around long enough to find out which.

I know you like photos of all the ships you own part of.  Here's another aircraft carrier.

As we leave Norfolk we passed under the Interstate 64 highway bridge. Behind us is Norfolk, industry, Navy, shipping, tourism... in front of us, just around the corner is...

the Dismal Swamp. Which isn't.

Behind us.

In front of us.  An incredible contrast.

Next stop - Dismal Swamp - the locks, the North Carolina Welcome Center, new friends,
and then Elizabeth City.  Stay tuned - don't touch that dial!