To Portsmouth and the end of the ICW - 6 - 12 June 2011
We covered 200 miles to the end of the ICW at Mile Zero in Portsmouth and we were now nearing the beginning of the Chesapeake Bay. This area was a complete contrast to the previous week of the virtual tranquillity and tree lined shores of the ICW, to the noise of steel welding in the nearby naval ship yards and the hustle and bustle of a commercial town. We passed within a few metres of the US Naval base, where numerous US Navy warships and aircraft carriers were moored. I was slightly reluctant to take photos, as most of the battleships had military men on the bow with binoculars fixed on moving objects and they were also holding high calibre machine guns!
Spotted this beautiful heron on the lock at Great Bridge
Loon & Scott Free in Great Bridge lock
Steel Bridge - Last opening bridge on our journey up the ICW
Barge working under 65ft fixed bridge and it was too close for comfort as we passed just off centre beneath it!
Passing US Naval Boatyard in Norfolk
Steel and industry all around!
Anyway we managed to pass with no incident and a few miles further up we headed into a small ferry landing basin off the Elizabeth River, where we we all managed to tie alongside the visitors (or ‘transient’) dock.
Ferry from Portsmouth to Norfolk across Elizabeth River
Lightship at Portsmouth
We wondered into Portsmouth town for a beer and Kenny suggested a nice little place about 20 minutes walk away. As we were chatting to the barman, it only turned that he was brought up in Leicester, not far from where Michael lived with his parents. He even went to the same schools! It just shows what a small world we live in!
The weather was beginning to ‘hot up’, so we took the short ferry ride across the river to Norfolk and took advantage to cool down by exploring the ‘power of the sea’ in the air conditioned Nauticus museum. Although we did end up having to brave the nearly 100 F to short excursion around the US Naval Battleship Wisconsin, which served in 3 wars and is one of the largest and last battleships built by the US Navy and stretches nearly 3 football fields long!
Kenny and Steve in comfort waiting for the ferry
Yours truly on the ferry, with Nimue moored in the background
All aboard the Battleship Wisconsin
I had been longing for a bath and happen to mention this to Sarah, who later suggested that we all go to her condo in nearby Virginia Beach where I could enjoy a bath! We ALL thought this was a great idea, so Kenny hired a car and the next day we drove the 20 or so miles to Virginia Beach. Sarah’s condo was fantastic, which overlooked the Atlantic Ocean and had every amenity you could wish for. However, we were all quite content just relaxing in the air conditioned condo in comfy chairs and I especially enjoyed having a long soak in the bath. An excellent meal at night put on by Sarah and Kenny and we all drifted off to bed. A real treat and thank you once again Sarah.
Sarah & Kenny in kitchen at the Condo (+ Chris)
Relaxing in the lounge
It was then back to reality and the heat! Nonetheless we left the hustle and bustle of Norfolk and commenced our trip up the Chesapeake Bay to Deltaville.