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Friday, July 17, 2009


After a false start yesterday (a loose cable in an area so confined, that no mortal human can venture there) we pulled out of Atlantic Yacht Basin this morning at 0745 Hrs. We spent a few minutes waiting in the ICW for the Great Bridge Bascule Bridge to open at 0800, after which we passed through and were on our way, down the Virginia Cut, towards Norfolk.

One mile later, you hit the Great Bridge Locks. Here you secure your boat to the side of the lock and are either raised or lowered (depending on travel direction) about 2.5 feet. The locks control the flow of water and reduce the strong currents that would otherwise be present in that area.

Once through the locks, it's about another 9 miles to downtown Norfolk and mile "0" of the ICW. Continuing from Mile 0, one passes through naval yards (commercial and military) and all manner of ships being built, repaired or decommissioned. From mile "0", it's another 6 miles or so, past the Old Point Comfort Light, to the Thimble Shoal Light, where one either goes east to the Atlantic or turns north to transit Chesapeake Bay (this is the area where we were escorted by a Nuke Sub last year.)

The weather today is quite good. The seas are calm with about 1 ft of chop and no swells. There are reports, however, of storms to the west, but we’ve seen no evidence of that except for some slight darkening in the western sky. Since the Chesapeake can be temper mental, we need to be alert and keep an eye on the weather.

Once around Thimble Shoals Light, we put up sails, in addition to the engine, and ran north at about 7 knots (about 8 m.p.h.)on our way to Gloucester Point, VA. The further north we ran, the stronger the wind became and with it, the swells that hit the boat on the beam (sides) and caused quite a bit of rocking. Around 1:00 pm, the wind had grown to 15+ knots with three-foot seas and there was significant cloud cover. It was also very dark in the western sky as the forecast storm drew closer.

Fortunately for us, we made the turn into the York River around 2:00 pm and were sheltered from the wind and swells by the land. We made the York River Yacht Haven around 1530 hrs and were tied up and secured by 3:45 pm and that was just in the nick of time. About 4:15 pm, the rain started and came down in buckets for about 1.5 hours. It was really, really wet everywhere! But, we had walked the dog and gotten everything closed up before it started, so we got to watch, not experience, the water and lightening show.

If possible, were continuing on to Baltimore tomorrow. We’ll have to watch the weather closely and see what it looks like for doing an all-nighter and sailing from here to Baltimore. In the meantime, it's time to kick back, have some supper and relax for the rest of the evening.

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