Chesapeake Bay, Jackson Creek 37:32.953N 76:19.850W

Bill and Judy Stellin
Thu 22 May 2008 03:09
We are peacefully anchored in a lovely little creek that for all the life looks like the Thornapple River where we live.  Very protected with the shore close on each side of us.
The last four days were spent in  Norfolk which is a surprisingly handsome city.  The downtown is neat as a pin dominated by several bank towers and a three story high end mall.
The marina, Waterside Marina, is right in the middle of the downtown with a beautiful park on either side.  The park is anchored by the battleship Wisconsin.  This magnificent vessel is part of a very well done Maritime Museum partly  sponsored by NOAA and the city.
The Wisconsin is still owned by the US Navy and supposedly could go back to sea so no one is allowed below decks, but just standing on this monster vessel's decks is enough.
Quite an imposing sight to turn the corner and see a battleship in the middle of downtown.
The Wisconsin is one of four of the great Iowa class battlewagons of WWII.  We've been on the Missouri and now this one as well.
The ship was put in mothballs in 1958 and then in 1988, 30 years later put back in service for the Gulf war.  It looks like it could put out to sea on a moments notice and in fact it could with only a minor amount of refit. 
Wonder how many gallons of battleship gray it takes to cover this ship.
One of Norfolk's other great surprises is the General Douglas MacArthur Memorial.  This city was his ancestral home. And here, he and his wife are buried.  The Memorial, is a beautifully well done snap shot of MacArthur's life from WWI to his death at the age of 86.
Across the river from Norfolk is Portsmouth which you can get to by a stern paddle wheel ferry for the princely sum of 50 cents each way. This is a charming city with an old town section of historic homes very reminiscent of Heritage Hill in Grand Rapids, all within walking distance from the ferry dock.
Our travels to the Chesapeake were through the ICW and what a journey.  The waterway winds through some of the prettiest countryside and forests of North Carolina and Virginia.  For miles and miles there are no homes or buildings of any kind.  Nothing but pure nature.  At one point, crossing one of the Sounds, we had dolphins alongside and we were also treated to an American Bald eagle being harassed by two Osprey who were protecting their chicks or eggs from an easy meal by the eagle.
The only trying thing about the ICW is the constant attention it takes to travel its course.  One cannot take your eye off the chart plotter and the water ahead for a minute.  Everyone we've talked to during our travel on it, told about running aground, sometimes three and four times a day.  I must say, we ran aground once. It could have been avoided had we not gotten confused about which side of the red nun buoy to pass on. (Wasn't me).  Fifty to seventy miles per day is a very exhausting effort.  Travel at night would only be done by locals who know the waterway like the back of their hand, for anyone else, it is an invitation to disaster.
In the "its a small world" department, today we went ashore to a marina next to where we are anchored and ran into our friends Ron and Julie of Galadriel. We first met this English couple in one of the Greek Islands and then spent a winter together in Kemer Turkey.  We saw them again as crew on Vision, Frank and Tari's catamaran in Trinidad this past winter, and now here on their own boat, in Deltaville Maryland USA. They are planning on cruising to the Great Lakes so I imagine we will see them yet again.