Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Virginia Cut

Today we finally entered "The Ditch" as the ICW is affectionately known.  It feels like our adventure has really begun. It's been unlike anything we've done before!

First, the transit out of Hampton Roads into the Elizabeth River brought us into one of the busiest places I've ever seen.  Between the Naval Station Norfolk, with all it's military vessels, and the gigantic shipping terminals and shipyards, the scale and quantity of the machinery was overwhelming!
Naval Station

Massive Shipping Terminals
And intimidating. One set of cranes put me to mind of a child's nightmare monster.
Two Armed Hulking Monster
Further down, we were presented with a real treat, a view of the WWII Battleship Wisconsin
Look at Those Big Guns!

And then, there we were, at Hospital Point, the "Mile Marker Zero" of the ICW.
Hospital Point Anchorage
A railroad lift bridge started off what will be a long list of bridges to pass.
Are You Sure We'll Fit?
Our first bridge challenge was making the next opening of the Gilmerton Bridge.  We were minutes away and it was already opening!  As the bridge fully opened and the waiting boats started through, I called the bridge operator, gave her our position, and asked if we would make it. She replied "If you step it up a little, I'll hold it for you".  So we pushed our trusty Atomic-4 up to 2900 RPM, close to wide-open-throttle, and squeeked through after the end of the pack.
Following The Pack Through Gilmerton
Our next challenge was the Great Bridge Lock.  Although we got there with plenty of time, and there was plenty of room, I disgraced us badly by blowing my first two attempts to get tied up to the starboard wall (we prop-walk to port in reverse).  By the third attempt, the lockmaster was getting quite upset with us!  After all that drama, the actual locking operation was quite sedate and almost unnoticeable.
Great Bridge Lock
We decided to press on after Great Bridge, especially since we noticed that, at 1:00, the free dock was already full.

So after seemingly endless miles of drowned trees and marshes, we set anchor in a little side creek in the middle of nowhere in the marshes, and only about 4 NM from the North Carolina border.
Traveling In Convoy
We grilled a fabulous steak dinner to celebrate.

Total travel for the day was 39 NM (45 Statute Miles) , anchored at mile marker 30.  All in all, a great day.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad things are going well for you finally. I hope you have good weather for crossing the sounds.