Thursday, April 28
Distance Traveled: 21.58nm
Miles to get Home: 1325.91
Total Distance Traveled: 3993.54
We woke at 610am to warm temps but clouds flying by in the sky. Salty Paw raised their anchor at 640m and we follow less than 10 min later to get to either to Norfolk or Hampton, VA. The winds were 14 - 23kts from 240 degrees (SW) At least the wind varies between broad reaching and downwind most of the time depending on the direction the waterway is curving. By 733am we get to the North Landing Bridge and the winds had temporarily decreased to 6-8 kts. Shorty afterward, we enter the Abermarle and Chesapeake Canal and the wind varies from 3 to 15 kts - sometimes the analog wind indicator is spinning around not know where the wind is coming from and then the wind gets every more gusty with gust to 19-21 kts. Along the canal there are Cypress trees growing out of the water, but there are also pine trees (its the South) and maple trees with new smaller green leaves. Phil has checked the radar on the computer and we are expecting some rain to come between 1030 and 1130am. After the Canal, we go through our first lock in a long time - the Great Bridge lock. We're through by 930am and then the Steel Bridge at 1002am. The Steel Bridge is a bascule type bridge and the bridge did open, but they bridge sections got stuck halfway going up. Phil was at the helm and he started going thru just as the bridge tender told us to hold on - but too late. We got thru ok and then the bridge opened the rest of the way for Salty Paws. Next bridge is the Gilmerton Road Bridge that we have been heard security radio messages from the Coast Guard for the past 2 days about a 160+ by 40ft+ barge that is sunk 27ft below the surface. We have to jill around for a while while Phil see 30kt gusts of wind. This was not pleasant as we turn and the wind pushes us over - turn again and pushed over the other way, but we pass through at 1036am and go thru the opened RR bridges without further problems. With all the wind and the rain that now looks like will come thru at 1230pm, Phil decides that us staying at a marine in a good idea. I call Waterside Marine and then have a dock for us and at $1.50/ft/day. We are docked without any difficulty at 1125am next to the Norfolk Police Boats and in front of Hooters and Joe's Crab Shack.
We stayed on the boat for the afternoon - waiting - still waiting for the rain that is to come that finally did come about 430pm. We didn't have any tornado warnings but there was some tornado watches back in Oriental and northern North Carolina, which is one reason that Phil wanted us to keep moving north - to avoid the bad weather.
I roasted a small whole chicken with sweet potatoes and had frozen spinach with mushrooms for supper. Later while Phil washed the supper dishes, I had a shower and then he took a shower. We spent the rest of the evening reading.
Our plan for tomorrow is to leave early - you never say that I'm sorry that we left so early - and go north into the Chesapeake. We're not sure how far that we'll be able to go - depends on the weather.
Friday, April 29
Passage Norfolk to Deltaville, VA
Distance Traveled: 54.24nm
Miles to get Home: 1380.15nm
Total Distance Traveled: 4037.78nm
We woke at 530am today. The wind has died and there is mostly blue sky - or there will be when the sun rises. We cast off the dock at 622am and go into the Elizabeth River past all the Naval Ships and also the cranes to load and unload the container ships. We see S/V Bella anchored off the channel but really not where you would expect to see a boat anchored close to marked R34. The wind is 4.2kts, 53degree to Port wind angle coming from 275 degrees (almost West). There is less than a foot chop in the wide river. By 658am we let out the head sail as the wind angle now is 83degree and wind is 6 kts. By 720am the wind is 9 kts and from 290 degrees. S/V Branwyn I, a Beneteau 411 overtakes us and we are going GPS 6.2 kts to Boat 6.5 kts. For a brief happy time, we're going GPS 7.1 kts. Finally we get to the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel and enter into the Chesapeake Bay. My watch starts at 830am and the wind is gusting to 14 kt with 11-12kts sustained. Phil and I put up the Main sail at 915am but the wind dies at 10am to 4-6 kts, so we start the engine. We have another short period of sailing with the engine off between 1220 and 1252pm as we are sailing at a close reach as the wind has clocked to WNW on Phil's watch and continues that way. About 1pm we try to decide where we are going to end up for the day. We are almost sailing upwind - should we go to the Jackson river and Deltaville or continue to Reedville, VA like some power boaters are. We head Lipari and China Doll talking to each other, so I hail Randy and they are going to go as far north as they can. Diane is with Phil on China Doll as she flew down for the transport but Randy is alone while Janet is to fly back home from Norfolk tomorrow. We wish them fair winds. So we decide to go to Reedville, VA - but then the wind clocks to the N and the wind angle is 4degree to port. So we change our mind - even though is was 10 min earlier that we had changed our mind and decide to go into Jackson River - 6+nm away instead of Reedville, VA 18nm away. But as we turn, we are going upwind and pounding into the way. We crack off the wind about 30degrees and motor sail with the main up. Then when we are closer to land and the waves have decreased from 2-3 ft to 1-2ft, we change our course 30 degree to the rhumb line and don't have any more problems getting to the channel. Phil was back on watch at 230pm and worried about hitting ground in the channel, which we does happen at the 2nd markers in. But no problem, we power to the deeper water (this is our 2nd time thru the channel and maybe next time we won't hit at all - think so?) and make it all the way to our anchorage with no more groundings. We are anchored in front of Deltaville Marina and Boatyard - close enough to the dinghy dock to paddle (not row as we don't have oars) to the dock tomorrow. The wind is to be NW to N tomorrow so we are expecting that we'll be here all day tomorrow.
Phil calls April Majni-Holko and we're lucky that she has Monday off as we are planning to get to Solomons Island, MD on Sunday and hopefully anchor in front of the Holiday Inn. She did receive the mail from Virginia on Thursday so hopefully something good besides bills will be waiting for us.