Our first day at sea… but first let me back up to day four and a half. We drove from Cape Charles to Portsmouth yesterday afternoon, arriving in time for lunch in a cute little coffee shop with wifi and good food. By two o’clock we moseyed over to the marina to meet our friends Don and MA. By the time we were unpacked and had caught up on recent news, it was time for cocktails by the pool, followed by dinner and then sitting around talking before bedtime.
There are nine boats in our flotilla – ranging from 25-feet to 46-feet long. Most have only one couple, but a few have guests, too. Four of the boats will leave after the first week, but the remaining five will do the whole trip of two weeks. All are power boats, but range from those that like to run at 8 knots (nautical miles per hour, and about 1.15 statute miles) to those who like to run at 18-20 knots, so there is a wide variety of leaving and arriving times for the group. Our boat is 44-feet long, sleeps four and runs most comfortably at 18 knots, so we will often be among the early arrivers.
The overall plan is to travel early in the morning, arriving at the next port mid-day or early afternoon. Most people spend a couple of hours cleaning up the boat, then hit the swimming pool, and meet back together for cocktails around 5:30 followed by dinner. Then we will stay the next day in the same spot to have time to visit or do off-the-boat activities. So back to day five….
This was the day I really wanted. We left Portsmouth and cruised down the eastern branch of the Elizabeth River. This took us past both the Portsmouth and Norfolk Naval Shipyards. Neither was filled, but there were big navy ships drydocked in each. Then we traveled down the river thru a series of lift bridges and then into the Great Bridge locks. The boats rose about six feet in order to move into the next part of the ICW. We had a bridge schedule and had to get from one to the next within 30 minutes to make the “next” bridge opening. Part of our group was late at the last bridge and ended up having to wait an additional half hour to pass thru. Since they were already the slower boats, it caused them to end up two hours behind us.
Once we passed out of Norfolk and Portsmouth there was not a lot to see except marshes and osprey, but there were plenty of both. It must be baby-raising time for the osprey, since we saw a number who appeared to be bringing food to their nests. It was a pleasant run of five and a half hours before we arrived in Coinjock, North Carolina.
Coinjock is literally a narrow spot on the waterway with two marinas. We have completely filled one of them and other boats we traveled with are filling up the other. This is where we pick up another canal portion of the ICW and we will move on in the morning headed for Manteo tomorrow night.
We have gotten caught by an afternoon shower, so everyone is resting or doing inside chores. If the rain lets up, I will run up to the marina office and get the wifi password so that I can upload this [and the last one] today.
So far it has been fun. I have behaved myself and gotten enough sleep.
What could be nicer than watching the seasons come and go in the garden. I hope to retire in about three years and spend more time just digging in the dirt. I'm not a professional gardener, but enjoy putting my hands in the dirt and seeing what happens.
For now, let's enjoy it together!