23 May 2015, The Pilot House Marina, Norfolk, Virginia. 36.51.15N 76.17.90W
Wed 27 May 2015 23:48
May 15, Up early, lovely morning and had lots of help getting out of our slip in slack tide with very little wind, so on our way down the channel and heading towards Cape Lookout by 08.30. We motor sailed south in light winds from the north, which stayed with us until nearly 20.00. Then a great sail until we had to go dead downwind at about 23.00. It was a really cold night and rather frustrating with very little progress, 12 miles in 3 hours is not good for Alcedo!! Tide was against us going round Cape Henry and into the Thimble Shoal Channel, we did not reach the first Chesapeake Bridge until about 15.30. The entrance to Chesapeake is a huge expanse of water with a virtual “roundabout” just before entering the channels to the first bridge, so that the many ships entering and leaving the bay avoid collision courses.
Cape Henry lighthouse at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay and the Skipper bringing Alcedo into the Bay.
Once past the Hampton Roads Bridge tunnel, we turned to port to go into Elizabeth River and past the impressive display of aircraft carriers and other naval vessels in the US Norfolk Naval Station. On down the river past the Norfolk International Terminal, with huge container wharfs and one area dedicated to loading coal and eventually, at about 18.30, we reached the area close to ICW Mile 0 and The Pilot House Marina, where members of the OCC are lucky enough to be able to use slips during their visits to Norfolk.
Hampton Roads bridge where the bridge becomes a tunnel and one of the aircraft carriers at the Naval Base
Gary is the OCC Port Officer and informal dock master for the mooring slips. He and his wife, Greta could not have provided a warmer welcome or more help and hospitality for our visit. We really enjoyed Norfolk, with its lovely quiet streets full of historical buildings and fascinating history, plus a thriving bird population, wonderful trees and a really serene atmosphere.
One of the lovely residential streets and reading about one of the historical buildings during a walk round the historical area of Norfolk.
The American Robin and the Northern Cardinal, which we saw regularly on our walks around the residential areas.
We had a couple of days to tidy up, do some research on yards where we could lay Alcedo up for August to October and prepare for Anthony and Venetia, who arrived by bus at 11.00 pm on the 20th May. We also did quite a lot of socialising and, with Anthony and Venetia participating with some enthusiasm, we enjoyed quite extensive retail therapy for cloths, a new iPhone for David and an expensive visit to Harris Teeter, the excellent supermarket on Colonial Avenue. We also visited the Naval museum and the SS Wisconsin, docked very close to the Pilot House. We were all very glad not to be a seaman sharing minimal space with 11 other seaman in stacks of 3 bunks, 6 bunks to a corridor space. Captain’s cabin was very nice and spacious though.
USS Wisconsin, docked amongst the sky scrapers in Norfolk and the Ship’s Boy, very glad not to be chained to the helm on Alcedo with this chain.
After a delightful supper with Scott and Kitty of Tamure, who have been round the world twice and so had plenty advice to give on Pacific Islands as well as New York, we knew the time had come to move on from Norfolk before we all took root, so it is off to New Jersey and Sandy Hook before the much anticipated visit to New York.