Monday, 9 November 2015
Finally on our way South
Finally, we have left Deltaville and begun our trip south. We had a grey and windless day to travel down the Cheasapeake Bay to Norfolk but nonetheless it felt really good to be back out on the water. We anchored out in an anchorage on the Elizabeth River with the cities of Norfolk on one side and Portsmouth on the other. Ian got the "rabbit ears" antennae out and was able to suck in a ton of TV stations. It was a Sunday night and guess who was playing? The Packers!! One happy Captain that night ( they suffered their first loss of the season though).
Not so happy Captain the next morning when we couldn't get the anchor up. We would be travelling down the ICW and needed to time bridge openings and Canal lock throughs and had thought we had figured out a good schedule, so much for that. Forty five minutes later, after manoeuvring the boat this way and that way and then yanking sideways on the anchor chain suddenly the anchor was free and we were on our way. By now we had thrown the schedule out the window. There was a bit of a panic approaching our first bridge ( an unattended railway bridge) when the boat immediately in front of us suddenly did a quick pivot around just as he was about to go under the bridge. He obviously thought that he couldn't fit under but he then backed through slowly and from my angle I could see that he in fact had lots of room so gave him the thumbs up. It always looks like a close call under the bridges from the deck of your own boat.
Despite our later than planned start we did arrive at the perfect time to lock through at the Great Bridge Lock. Just as we pulled in the drizzle turned to full on heavy rain so we both got soaked as we got safely tied on in the lock. This single lock takes you up only 2 1/2 feet. It is a tidal guard lock which lifts boats up into the nearly 200 mile stretch of non-tidal waterway ahead.
As we approached our next timed opening bridge we had about 10 minutes to wait so put the boat in neutral and very slowly drifted along. At some point I felt that we needed to centre ourselves more in the channel and gave a small spurt forward only to feel a gentle thud on the starboard side. Oooops! our first grounding of Zooropa. After taking soundings around the boat with the boat hook we realized it was only the starboard hull aground and with both engines in reverse we were able to get
ourselves off, and just in time to make the bridge opening !!
The end of this day on the waterways found us happily tied up to the dock in the small town of Coinjock, NC. Ahhhh. Heat on the boat, long hot showers on land and a delicious roast beef dinner at the local restaurant, does it get any better than that??
After two more full days of motoring down the ICW, with nights spent out in very peaceful anchorages, we have finally made it to Beaufort, NC. We really like this little town ( we stayed here a few days in June on our way north) the docks are right downtown, there are lots of little shops and good restaurants and when staying here at the marina you get the free use of one of their old clunkers to make the run to the grocery store. We have met several other boats while here ( we are all waiting for the weather to shape up to continue south) so it has been quite social. Today it is pouring buckets but tomorrow looks like a good day for us to leave. We hope to be heading off shore for what will be a two nighter to Charleston, but this all depends on what is happening with the Tropical Storm Kate, currently over the Bahamas.
We are all set to go so we shall just wait and see what the weather gods bring us tomorrow. Hopefully the next post is from Charleston.