Saturday, May 31, 2008

Solomons, MD, to Chesapeake City, MD

Monday, May 26 - Beautiful day in Solomons, MD. Still not as much boat traffic around as we had expected, which is good. We're anchored in Back Creek near the Holiday Inn.

We have a problem with our dinghy motor. After taking Lucy to shore yesterday afternoon we took the dinghy over to see Gail Frances at Spring Cove Marina and then headed out for a dinghy tour of Solomons Island. The little Yamaha motor quit! And nothing Wayne could do would get it going again. A couple on a jet ski towed us back to the boat (how humiliating...) and Wayne worked on it a little longer...but still no go. We knew what the plan for Monday was: try to find out what's wrong with the motor and see if we can fix it on Memorial Day.

So...this Monday morning we packed up Lucy in the dinghy and paddled into shore. Fortunately we're not that far away! At noon we set out again by paddle to look for a fuel filter, grab some lunch and check out the town. The Holiday Inn is right behind a gourmet market and shopping center with a post office. One block away is the West Marine. Pretty convenient! To get into the "town" part of the island we walked about a mile, passing by this lovely piece of land right on the Patuxent River.

We checked out a few boat places for the filter (no luck), and ate lunch at the Captain's Table at Beacon Marina. (Good crab cakes, but not a place we would go again.)

We'll be here through tomorrow, we know, and will hopefully be able to resolve the dinghy issue by then.

Tuesday, May 27 - We woke up and looked at the weather again. Could we make it to Oxford, MD, before storms set in...even if we did get the motor repaired? We'll try!! We paddled Lucy into shore. Wayne had arranged to have another dinghy tow us back to the boat by the time she'd finished her business. Then Wayne started out to paddle to the marina that had a repair facility. A large sailboat (45 ft. or more) saw him paddling and offered a tow. They took him all the way into the harbor of the marina. Have we said it before...or enough? Cruising boaters are the best!

A couple of hours later we were pulling out of Solomons and heading for Oxford on the eastern shore. The problem with the motor turned out to be a leaking fuel tank which had let water into the fuel. We replaced the tank and the marina shop cleaned out the motor and we were ready to go. This was the calmest day ever on the Chesapeake for us. So calm, in fact, that there was no wind at all. We fought biting flies the whole way!! Coast Guard, where are you???

We'd called ahead to Oxford to find the lowest fuel price. Campbell's Boatyard at Jack's Point was lowest at $4.22...and they had a transient slip available for the night. We got in around 4 PM and fueled up. Campbell's does a lot of work on wooden boats and there were some gorgeous vessels on site.

In the slip next to the fuel dock was a boat named Mystic Bond...and it was flying a gold Looper flag. (We have a white Looper flag because we're in the process of doing the Loop. You get a gold flag when you've done the Loop at least once.) So after walking Lucy we stopped by to visit with the owners, Olga and Andre Massicotte from Canada (originally, Nova Scotia).

Olga and Andre built their boat. What they couldn't do they contracted out...and living in boat-building territory as they were, this was easy to do. It's their first time owning a boat, too! They sold their house and left out on Mystic Bond in 2006. They completed the Loop once and have been traveling around since then. They are leaving the boat here in Oxford with a for-sale sign on it. Now they want to go to Europe, buy a boat and continue the adventure!

Coming into Oxford we were both impressed with the look of the place. We're anxious to check it out tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 28 – We loved Oxford! Pretty homes, some little and some big. Quaint. We went out that morning looking for breakfast. While we didn’t find a restaurant open for breakfast we did travel by bicycle all around the town.

This looked like it could have been a library at one time but is now called the Mystery Loves Company Bookstore...

That afternoon we went back with Olga to the farmer’s market. Freshly made ice cream from a local creamery, organic greens and local strawberries were among our purchases. The market was small, but well stocked. And it was definitely the place for catching up with neighbors. There were a lot of people out that afternoon. We had a salad of arugula, oak-leaf lettuce and shelled fresh peas that evening…YUM.

Thursday, May 29 – Let’s go 80+ miles today to Havre de Grace, MD, at the top of the Chesapeake! We were out by 8 AM and got to our destination by 5 PM. It was a long day, but easy travel on the Chesapeake. We tied up at Havre de Grace Marina at the Log Pond (don’t ask…) and chatted for a while with another cruising couple there, Carey and Phil on Apolonia. Turns out Carey was from Big Stone Gap, VA, and we had a mutual acquaintance! Small world. Phil has done the Loop (Carey was still working then and came to visit for a few weeks at a time) so now they are going to Nova Scotia by boat. We’ll likely cross paths again somewhere up in the canals…

Friday, May 30 – The weather was going to be good for travel this day, but we had to wait in Havre de Grace long enough to get a UPS package we’d had directed to the marina. Meanwhile we went in search of breakfast…a-gain. We settled for coffee from a “java shop” and a huge cinnamon roll ($1.20) from Holl’s Bakery. We ate all we wanted of the roll and still had half left! Then we proceeded to walk the town streets.

Havre de Grace has a nice feel to it. Maybe the first "northern" town we've been to on the Chesapeake (or on this trip!) When I walked around the first night I came back saying it reminded me a lot of my old Detroit neighborhood somehow. Maybe the style of the houses, the closeness of the houses, and the activity on the sidewalks. Havre de Grace is really close to Baltimore and Washington, DC., and I suspect a lot of the boats we saw there are owned by people who don't live in the town.

We found the marina office about 12 blocks away and found out UPS usually delivered between 11 and 2. At 11 we had lunch at MacGregors Tavern, then stopped by the Save-a-Lot grocery on the way back to the boat. By now it was after noon so Wayne biked back to the marina office to wait on the package. The UPS truck was busy that day…we didn’t get out of town until around 2:15PM.

We have been passing these neat bell markers up here...As waves rock it, the bell rings. An alert in foggy or dark conditions, I guess, but there have to be enough waves to move the ringer.

Fortunately, the run to Chesapeake City was short and we were anchored in the basin by 4 PM. Bill and Jane on Wayfarer tied up at the restaurant dock since the town docks were full.

Saturday, May 31 – Windy, stormy weather today so we’re not traveling. (I started to say we’re not moving, but that would be wrong.) There’s a tornado watch out this afternoon until 5 PM. We’re hoping this front moves through tonight so we can make the run tomorrow down the Delaware Bay to Cape May. Wayne is spending the afternoon working on the battery hook ups.

Chesapeake City is a really neat little town. A real sea town. Pretty little houses with gated yards and lots of flowers.

So this afternoon I called Diane Wade on Bella Luna to see where they were this stormy day. They were here in Chesapeake City...within spitting distance! We took the dinghy over that evening and visited with Louis and Diane...and Bud and Muriel from Sunshine. Tomorrow we all plan to leave out around 8 AM for Cape May. May the weather gods be with us...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hampton, VA, to Solomons, Md

Wednesday, May 21 - We had some boat maintenance to take care of this day (get the pattern?)...but still managed to walk around Hampton and bike to the grocery store for a few items. The waterfront area is so pretty, but the little town seems very, not quite thriving. If we'd had longer we could have visited the Hampton University and the Air and Space Museum...

Thursday, May 22 - We'd called around for fuel prices in Hampton and in Deltaville. The "cheap" fuel ($3.89/gallon) was at the Old Comfort Point Marina in Hampton. So on this morning we left the slip at around 8 AM and stopped for fuel before we set out. We got the last of their diesel. The next truck would come, they said, later that day...and the price would go up.

It was after 9 AM before we really left Hampton, then. It was a beautiful day for travel, even though the waves made it necessary to lock everything down and close all the windows and hatches.

We pulled into Dozier's Regatta Point Marina in Deltaville, VA, at around 2 PM. Little did we know, we had stumbled into a lair of Loopers! We tied up next to Bob and Lynn Williamson on Legrace. Lynn told us they (and six other Looper couples) were getting together at 4 PM to give Bill Truex and Jill Williams on Transition a certificate for having completed the Loop...then we'd all go to dinner at Cocomos at 5. We signed on! Wayne washed the salt off the boat while I went to grab a few supplies with the courtesy car. This is a picture taken from the marina office. We're the second boat from left (Legrace) on the front row.

At 4 PM we all met in the boaters' lounge and, after introducing ourselves, the Transition crew was presented the certificate. Then we all "talked the talk" about Loop experiences, advice, etc. There were 19 of us who went to dinner that night: David and Gracie from Carry Forward, Woody and Ellen of Double SS, Bill, Jane and their grandson Danny from Wayfarer, Jack and Patsy from Honga, Greg and Susan on Allegria, Bob and Lynn on Legrace, Jim and Peg of Sanctuary, Bill and Jill of Transition and Wayne and I. At 5 PM two pickup trucks came to carry the 19 of us to dinner. Yes, we're still in the South!!

So happens it was Woody's birthday so we got in on another celebration when the restaurant staff brought him a mini-birthday cake!

Dinner was great...though the hour wait for the checks was a hassle. We were then transported back to the marina in a variety of vehicles.

Tomorrow many of us are leaving for Solomons, MD. We're hoping to get a mooring ball or anchorage and "veg" for a few days.....

May 23 - We woke up and checked the weather, first thing, (that's the norm for days when we plan to be moving) and the weather was suddenly looking iffy to us: small craft warning out for the area of the Chesapeake Bay that intersects the Potomac River and above. It didn't take us too long to decide that we would rather stay at Deltaville another day and get some housekeeping done rather than have a bumpy ride to Solomons. Legrace and others left early that day on the trip and reported a good day on the water...but we, and several others, stayed at Deltaville another night.

We gathered more supplies, washed the boat, did four loads of laundry, worked on the air conditioning pump... and other "fun" boat maintenance projects. That afternoon Gracie, Jane, Gail and I went to town for a few things. It was like a "mini" girls day out! (See, we had the courtesy car and you could only have it for an hour!) We managed to hit the grocery store, Family Dollar, hardware, library (they had a great book sale going on with special reductions on the prices that day) and seafood/gourmet shop. I came home with shrimp, tabbouleh and crab fritters for supper. Yum! And we only ran over about 20 minutes on our car time!

Saturday, May 24 - Memorial Day weekend! Check out time was noon and we only had about 20 miles to go that day to get to an anchorage just below the Potomac, Sandy Point, so we took our time getting out that morning. Several others were going to the same area that day...Carry Forward, Gail Frances and Wayfarer. I took a nice, long walk into town and Wayne and Jane followed later in the courtesy car to pick me up. Jane and I went to the farmers' market while Wayne looked for a tool at the hardware. After coffee and a snack at Coffee Delights, Jane and I met back up with Wayne and we stopped at the seafood shop before getting back to the marina.

I'd noticed the little roads around this area had clever name placards posted on a tree to indicate which families lived down that road. Jane, Gracie and I walked back to one of those roads for some pictures...and we would have walked down the road to see a replica of the Stingray Point lighthouse, but these were country roads and the traffic had picked up so that it was not a safe thing to do.

We headed back to the marina, each of us with our SLR cameras in hand, and as we were entering the marina area decided to stop for some more pictures. As we were snapping away, a truck pulled in with two young men who offered to take a picture of us together...

Around noon we pulled out, followed a little later by the other three boats. The water and wind were obliging and we had our best day yet on the waters of the Chesapeake.

As we made our way out of the channel to Dozier's I snapped an osprey nest we'd seen on the way in.

By 3 o'clock Segue and Carry Forward were anchored in Sandy Point and Gail Frances and Wayfarer were docked at the Reedville Marina a short ride away.

Sandy Point is beautiful! We took Lucy to shore on a little chunk of beach and settled back to enjoy the rest of the day. It's been a while since we've had a calm anchorage, and we both have missed it. We'd love to stay here another night, but the weather tomorrow is supposed to be ideal for our next piece of the trip so we'll probably move on.

I called our friends David and Cathy on the sailboat Orion and told them how much we were enjoying the anchorage here (they had made the recommendation). I told them we were planning to go up to Solomons on Sunday and they gave us some alternative anchorages in case Solomons turns out to be too crowded. We'll wait until Sunday morning to decide. Meanwhile, we watched the sunset and a movie that Gracie on Carry Forward had loaned us.

Sunday, May 25 - We had a nice trip up to Solomons today. We got a late start, taking Lucy to shore in the dinghy and all, but got up here by about 3:00 PM. Crossing the mouth of the Potomac wasn't bad at all. We had a few big waves, but not many.

We had to laugh at a couple of things. First, the places we passed on the way: Point Lookout, Point Look-In...and Point No Point. Gotta love it! This is the Point No Point Lighthouse.

Then, we heard this distress call from a sailboat couple in their 70's who'd gotten too close to a lighthouse and were stuck on the rocks. We listened intently as the Coast Guard questioned them about their condition, location, etc., and said help was on the way. Then we heard another call to the Coast Guard:

CG: Vessel calling the Coast Guard, go ahead.

Vessel: Yes, I need to report a family in distress on Jane's Island.

CG: A family in distress?

Vessel: Yes. They don't have a radio. They were apparently dropped off on the island and need to leave but don't have a way off.

CG: What is the nature of their distress?

Vessel: Well...the children are being attacked by horseflies!

CG: Please switch to channel 22 (after which I'm pretty sure they passed on the distressed family call.)

I hate those flies, but I hadn't thought of calling the Coast Guard on them...yet!

When we got into the Solomons area we picked out an anchorage down next to the Holiday Inn so we could dinghy in to their dock. The anchorage became a little more crowded as the afternoon went on, but it's still very pleasant. Reminds us a little of being in Marathon, FL, with all the boats moored about and dinghies everywhere.

And what's Lucy been up to lately? Well, she needs a trim, but otherwise she's still doing great. Still loving the lap time...

We'll stay in Solomons through Tuesday for sure...then on over to the eastern shore to visit either St. Michael's or Oxford.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Myrtle Beach, SC, to Hampton, VA

We arrived in Myrtle Beach on Saturday, April 26. We had reservations at the Osprey Marina for over a week while we visited with family and friends. Osprey was a great place and we had a beautiful view from the boat...

The night after we arrived we met with our long-time-friends Linda and Joe Conner...and Janet and Jim Hesser. Janet, Joe, Linda and Wayne were all in high school together in Athens, TN. We had a great time! We're going to try and meet up with them next year this time in Myrtle Beach.

The Bimini Oyster Bar was a real hit with this group...and Joe dressed for the event!

Wednesday, April 30, Dave, Heather and Alex came to Myrtle Beach. They had booked a condo at the Caribbean Resort oceanfront Myrtle Beach where there were all kinds of pools for Alex to enjoy. This was a special trip for them because it would be the first time Alex would experience the ocean. We were all wondering how he'd take to it. Well, he loved the point that he would bolt for the water after feigning play in the sand! Here are some of the MANY pictures we took that week...

Alex found out that pockets could hold treasures!

...And pepperoni pizza is goo-o-d!

We had a wonderful time running around with them for the next few days. One day Heather and I took Alex to a zoo just down the street from the marina (ah...don't ask.) Alex loved the Lemurs!! Here's his "Lemur Dance."

On Saturday, May 3, my sister Nadine and her husband, Jerry, came to join us for a visit and to travel with us north of Myrtle Beach. We had a good mini-family reunion that Saturday and all enjoyed dinner from Phillips Seafood.

Sunday morning, May 4, we left Myrtle Beach and headed for Southport, SC.

The trip was definitely eventful! First we had to weave our way through the Rock Pile (rocks just underwater on either side of the channel). Then we found ourselves at the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge. The bridge opens on the half hour...provided there's enough water for the pontoon to move. We got there at 1:40...low tide. The bridge didn't open until 3:40. We anchored, along with several other boats, and relaxed!

That evening we docked at Southport City Marina, a great marina.

We had carry-out seafood from the Provision Company and called it a day.

The next morning, May 5, Nadine, Lucy and I took a nice walk around downtown Southport before we left. We had about a 50-mile day planned up to Surf City, NC. (Cue the Jan and Dean lyrics now...) We spotted some dolphins on the trip and I was just telling Jerry and Nadine about the times when they've come along side the boat and "run" with us for a while...when they did just that! It really is a pretty exciting thing! Nadine and Wayne met on the bow to discuss ...the weather.

We wound up getting to the Surf City Swing Bridge about 30 mins., again, we anchored and waited it out.

Fortunately our marina for the night, the Beach House Marina, was right next to the bridge on the north side. Beach House Marina is very small...about 10-12 slips. We had just tied up when the rains came. We ordered Dominos Pizza and made ourselves "to home."

Tuesday, May 6 - Our last full day with Nadine and Jerry was to take us to Beaufort, NC. Nadine, Lucy and I again took a nice walk that morning...this time on Surf City Beach. We were naturally drawn to check out the sand for any sharks teeth that might have washed up (we have vacationed at Edisto Beach, SC, for years and have honed our teeth-hunting skills there.) No teeth, but we did find some gorgeous stones.

We got into Beaufort around 3:30PM, in time to take a walk around downtown before the rain set in and check out the restaurant menus. We decided on the Net House Restaurant and had a great meal there.

Nadine and Jerry had planned to rent a car in Beaufort and let me drive them to New Bern on Wednesday morning to pick up a one-way rental at the airport. Nadine spotted an ad that evening advertising a ride to local airport. She checked it out and they ended up getting a ride to New Bern for about the same money.

Wednesday, May 7 - We walked out with Jerry and Nadine to the town clock in Beaufort and waited on their ride. The no-seeums were thick! Shortly after 8 AM they left us and made their way towards New Bern and home.

Segue needed some work done, so we left Beaufort that morning and headed back to Morehead City and Taylor Boat Works. Diane and Louis Wade kindly showed us around their second home, Morehead City, and we visited their waterfront home on Atlantic Beach.

Friday, May 9, we picked up a rental car and drove to Raleigh for Heather's graduation weekend. Heather was receiving a PhD in biomedical engineering at Duke. We stayed at the Comfort Suites on Capitol Blvd. and put Lucy in a kennel. We had a wonderful weekend! Heather's parents, Tommy and Brenda Ledbetter, flew in on Friday evening for the event. We had a great time visiting with them and with Dave, Heather and Alex. On Saturday evening we all attended the "hooding ceremony" and the reception following. Alex did great! He was up about 2 hours past his bedtime, but was good for the entire time. We are so proud of Heather!!

Sunday, May 11, Brenda and Tommy flew back to Huntsville, AL. Wayne and I enjoyed keeping Alex while Heather and Dave went to receive her diploma and celebrate the occasion that afternoon.

Monday, May 12, Wayne and I left Raleigh and made our way back to Morehead City and Segue. We felt like the boat work wouldn't be done until Tuesday...and we were almost right. Actually it was Wednesday, May 14, before we were ready to pull out of the boat yard.

We really became fond of the people there. John, the boat yard manager, and his crew....and our "next door neighbor" in the yard, Tim.

The boat yard is located on the Peletier Creek in Morehead City and this is our view from the boat yard...

On the way out of town we stopped at Geer Oil for fuel...then made our way to Oriental, NC, and the Oriental Marina.

The trip to Oriental was easy. We had dolphins swimming off the sides of the boat for part of the way. We pulled into Oriental Marina at around 5:00. The docking was a challenge because the slip was narrow...but Wayne pulled it off in only 2 tries. We'd been to this marina/motel by car before and knew it was a friendly place. Tomorrow Linda and Jon Efteland will join us for a couple of nights and a cruise on Friday to Belhaven, NC.

Thursday, May 15 - We had some cleaning up to do! A week (or more) in a boat yard... We were through by around 3PM and were glad to see Linda and Jon arrive at around 8:30PM. We ordered "peel and eat" shrimp from the Toucan Restaurant at the Marina and caught up with our friends. Having checked the weather for Friday we altered plans. It was going to be windy and rainy. We decided to wait in Oriental until Saturday and let Linda and Jon take Friday to tour Ocracoke.

Friday, May 16 - Jon and Linda left at 8AM for their day out. Wayne and I worked on boat-related projects, took a bike ride around town, napped, and did some reading.

Saturday, May 17 - After Linda and I took Lucy for a quick walk down by the waterway, we left Oriental and headed out north into the ICW. It was a beautiful day! Linda and Jon both took turns driving...

and when she wasn't driving, Linda was working on needlework...and laughing at my antics over bugs coming into the bridge area!

Belhaven Waterway Marina was our destination, having been recommended by a friend we met at the Looper conference, Dave Bowers. We arrived in Belhaven around 1:30PM. After tying up Linda and Jon walked over to get their car while we registered and walked Lucy. Then we went in search of lunch. Not a hard task since there was only one restaurant open at 2 PM (besides Hardees)...Back Bay Cafe. Boy, were we lucky! We all enjoyed gourmet lunches! Back Bay Cafe is owned and operated by a couple who have an adjacent book store and wine shop, Wine & Words.

While we were finishing up on lunch Dave Bowers came in and joined us. Jon and Linda left us at the restaurant and resumed their tour of the Outer Banks.

Dave took us out to see his boat (he and his wife, Betty, are starting the Loop in a couple of weeks) and his home in Belhaven. That evening we four went to the Oyster Bar in town and had dinner.

Belhaven was a really is a nice little marina!

The owners, Brenda and Les, have a miniature schnauzer named "Marina." Marina was a tad suspicious of Lucy (and visa versa)...but Lucy did have a good time romping on the large, green lawn with several other dogs.

Sunday, May 18 - Alligator River Marina, near the Albemarle Sound, was our destination this day. The trip was mostly calm...except for the last little bit on the River when the wind started whipping around and the water got choppy.

When we turned to go into the marina, the "beam seas" gave us a good beating!

Alligator River Marina is a small the middle of nowhere. If we did this trip again we would stay elsewhere.

Monday, May 19 - We were crossing the Albemarle Sound that day to reach the Dismal Swamp. The sound is known for being a rough body of water, so we were looking at the weather closely. The weather sounded about par for the sound: 2-3 ft. waves and winds 10-15 mph.

We left out with several other boats that morning. Many of them came back. We weren't crazy about the marina and didn't look forward to an extended we decided to check out the waves for ourselves. They tossed us around, no doubt! They seemed 2-3 with some 4's thrown in. But...we felt it was do-able. Little did we know that crossing the sound would be the easiest thing in the course towards Elizabeth City and our destination, the Dismal Swamp Canal!

We rocked and rolled, but had prepared for that. What we hadn’t prepared for came on the other side (right about the time we thought we were near “safe”) and we started up the Pasquotank River to Elizabeth City. The wind kicked up (seemed to us like 20-25 with gusts to 30) and the 3 and 4 ft. waves were coming directly on our bow. The wind was the scary thing. We’re so high in the water...we were wondering if our canvas covering would hold up! But it held up, as did we.

Were we ever glad to be over that part of the trip!! At last we were in the river channel headed for the Dismal Swamp. And this part of the Pasquotank was some of the prettiest river landscape we've seen on the trip. The wind was still cropping up occasionally, but nothing like it was earlier. We made it to the South Mills Lock at the bottom of the Dismal Swamp for the 11:00 opening. There were two sailboats going through the lock with us, "Nice and Easy" and "Etude."

This was the first lock we'd been into on the Atlantic Coast! The lock only went up 8 ft....not much by TVA standards. The dockmaster assisted us with the tie up... a stern and a bow line to posts on the dock. Then we held onto the lines and took up the slack as the boat came up. After the lock opened, the lockmaster jumped in his truck and drove to the South Mills Bridge, a few yards beyond the lock, so he could open THAT and let us through to the Dismal Swamp.

The Dismal Swamp Canal is the oldest artificial waterway in the United States, officially opened in 1805. It's very shallow (it used to carry flat boats) and in the past 12 months has been closed because of too little water. The canal is maintained to keep a depth of 6 ft., but it's so narrow that fallen trees are often the hazard you'll come across while in the canal. Wayne has been looking forward to this section of the trip because he had read that George Washington did the surveying on the canal.

We stayed that night at the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center, tied up to a free dock. The welcome center is located on Hwy. 17 at the VA/NC state line. It's the only state welcome center that welcomes both cars and boats. We got there with "Nice and Easy" and "Etude"...and there was already a catamaran on the dock, "Ming."

The sailboats rafted up together and we all settled in for the evening. Visitors came by and chatted during that late afternoon and we took a walk on one of the trails nearby. After the Albemarle ordeal we were absolutely beat! By 8 PM we were headed to bed...and we slept until around 7 AM.

Tuesday, May 20 - The smell of honeysuckle greeted us this morning. This was one of our most enjoyable dockings on the trip! The weather was a little rainy as we left the welcome the Swamp really did look "dismal."

We pulled out at about 8:45 AM, after the other boats had already left. We needed to make 18 miles to the Deep Creek Lock by the next opening time, 11:30. Traveling on the Dismal Swamp is at "no wake speed," which means instead of our usual 10 mph we would be making around 7 mph. We made it just fine.

When we reached Deep Creek Lock our new friends on "Nice and Easy," "Etude," and "Ming" were there already.
There's a bridge before this lock and we waited for the bridge to be opened before we could access the lock. The other boats let us go through first since we would likely travel at a faster pace than they would.

Having gone through the lock we were then out of the Swamp and headed for Norfolk and our night's destination...the Downtown Hampton Public Piers. Would you believe we had another "bridge incident?" The railroad bridge right before Gilmerton Bascule Bridge is normally open. This day, however, it was stuck in the closed position for maintenance. When we got to the bridge there were about 8 boats already circling the area, waiting for the bridge to open. We followed their pattern and waited about a half an hour before the bridge lifted. Schedule, schmedule!

The Norfolk/Portsmouth area is incredibly busy. There are US Naval shipyards everywhere and security is very obvious.

We arrived at Hampton just before a storm set in. The view from our slip is wonderful...and we're looking forward to spending a restful day or two here.