Getting blown away in Portsmouth

Portsmouth VA, Ocean Marine Yacht Center, Elizabeth River
ICW Mile Marker 0
Posted by Bill

Our first full day in Portsmouth, and it was a good one despite the weather. We had some rain and lots of wind. It blew close to 30 knots in the Elizabeth River where we are tied up in a marina. It blew over 40 knots on the bay. Glad we paid for a marina today!

There is a popular anchorage just south of a spot called Hospital Point. It is usually packed. Today, only a few boats. I was glad I was not anchored there today. They were getting the shit kicked out of them as there were 5-6 foot waves on the river at one point. Here is what it looked like at mid day:
photo 2014 10 22 2
This is in an anchorage! Not fun to ride out in all day and night. These winds aren’t going to abate until mid day Friday.

We paid for a day pass on the ferry to Norfolk and went for some breakfast. D’egg Diner is where we went and then walked to the mall…I know, we hate malls…haven’t been to a mall in forever. Trouble is, I ripped my work pants (also called passage pants – pants I don’t care about so I wear them to work or on passage – passage is rough on pants), and one of my 2 pairs of levis, so I needed some pants. We found clearance items and were glad! The mall was packed with a butt load of German speaking people and we wondered…is there a large German community here? After checking with store clerks we learned that a European cruise ship was in port with a bunch of Krauts. Let me tell you…they wear weird shoes, and they spend a lot of money on stupid crap.

Afterwards we had laundry day. The laundry facilities at our marina where nice and pretty cheap as laundromats go. Then happy hour on the boat (one of my favorite parts of the day), and took the ferry to Norfolk again for a great lobster dinner at Freemasons Abbey. It was an old church that they converted into a restaurant. Good stuff and a cool building.

On the way to dinner we saw this large boat docked on the Norfolk side that was from Middle Bass Island in Lake Erie. No one was home, so on the way back to the ferry we checked again, and sure enough they were there. We struck up a conversation, they invited us aboard, and we made new friends. They have a 48 foot power boat called Fruition, and are spending the winter in Myrtle Beach. It was a nice boat and they were nice people. We’ll look for them again as we head south.

One of the museum attractions in Norfolk is the warship USS Wisconsin. It was damned impressive:
photo 2014 10 22 4
photo 2014 10 22 3
I can just imagine how those guns could blast the shit out of the enemy.

They also had this big anchor on display. It was from one of the old warships. You can see how big it was from me standing in front:
photo 2014 10 22 6
photo 2014 10 22 5

The other thing that is across the river that is just amazing to me is the huge lift services for large ships. These facilities lift the “big boys” out of the water for maintenance. Here is a navy ship being worked on:
photo 2014 10 22 1

Our next leg of traveling is from Norfolk to Florida (Fernandina Beach) and is 623 nautical miles in the intracoastal waterway, from here on out will be abbreviated as ICW. The first part of the trip is taken through one of two routes…the A&C Canal (called the Virginia Cut route) or the Dismal Swamp Canal. Not sure which route we will take yet as we are working on the “plan”. Need to figure that out tomorrow so we can head out on Friday.

I did forget to mention a “Captain Ron” moment that I had while docking yesterday. Didn’t omit it on purpose, as we all have those moments, but just too drunk to remember to post it…lol!! After 8 hours bashing to weather on the bay, we are pulling in to our dock. Strange marina…tired…wind and current…looking through the plastic windows (called Isenglass) in a really tight docking situation (they are all like this on the bay). The mast and the Isenglass obscured a piling directly in front of my path while docking, and it wasn’t until Tricia yelled “you are going to hit the post” that I noticed it. Quick thinking and putting the boat in reverse saved us. We were less than a foot from ramming the post. She felt bad because sound travels well across the water, and everyone around us heard that some “bone head” almost rammed a post with his boat, but I didn’t give it a second thought!! Docking is a bitch, especially in a strange and tight marina, with wind and current. It will happen again, and hopefully without damage to people or boats!

2 thoughts on “Getting blown away in Portsmouth

  1. Deborah Holt

    Been to the USS Wisconsin too. My son was stationed in Norfolk in 2010 – 21012. We loved our visits to the area. Deb

    1. Tricia Wehmer

      It sure makes us feel small when you see all the giant warships in this area. It is kind of creepy too on the radio when they identify themselves as warships. Makes you get out of their way.


Leave a Reply or Subscribe