Sunday, May 15, 2022

Beyond The Fog Lies Clarity

Hampton to Deltaville  |  5.8 Hours   41 Miles  

We anticipated some early morning fog for our trip to Deltaville and Mother Nature did not disappoint. Warm, humid air settling over the cool water gave us thick advection fog. It was difficult to determine where I was this morning as all of my reference points were veiled. Paradigm Shift was barely visible even though they were only 200-feet or so away. We delayed our departure time, hoping for it to lift. Even the gulls were grounded. Two found a comfortable resting place upon our secondary anchor. By 8:30, we could finally see beyond our bow and decided to raise anchor. Glenda shared this thought of the day: "If you want to see what the fog hides in itself, don't wait for the fog to disperse! Instead of waiting for something to happen in this short life, do something immediately! Enter the fog!" We followed Paradigm Shift and entered the fog together. 

Our radar was on and I was standing on the side deck keeping a look out for anything that could ruin our day -- crab pots, channel markers, other boats. The fog actually thickened and we struggled to maintain sight of Paradigm Shift. The pelicans, however, were active. Along the way, a small bird hitched a ride for a while on our bow rail. It was a pretty rotten morning. Contributing to the staying power of the fog was the fact that there was nary a breeze to move it along.

Slowly the sky began to clear. The sun burned off the fog from high to low. Suddenly, it all became clear. By 12:30, we were enjoying a beautiful day on the Chesapeake Bay. We were also reminded of every Bay boater's nemesis, the biting flies. Both Barry and I grabbed a swatter and attempted to squash the flying vampires before they could take a bite out of our legs. I spent some time on Fiberglass Beach (swatter in hand) to freshen up my tan which was starting to fade after a week of rain and clouds. I knew we were getting close to the Rappahannock River when I saw the green marker for the Piankatank River and a few sailboats crossing west to east across our path. 

Paradigm Shift had pulled away from us and made the turn into the Rappahannock. As we made the turn, I began stringing up all the lines required for docking in our home slip. With the Norris Bridge on the horizon we turned off at Broad Creek channel. Paradigm Shift had another hour and a half to get to their home slip in Urbanna. 

We turned into the Stingray Point channel and passed a long line of familiar boats. A blue heron was checking out the seafood selection on the lunch menu. Our fenders were in position and we eased onto the pumpout dock. It has been many far too many days since our last pumpout in Southport. Our red light has been flashing, warning us that it was time to take care of business. While I filled up our water tanks, Barry took off for the parking lot to check on his Escape. We knew the battery would be dead and wanted to get a charger on it as soon as possible. While the charging was occurring, he came back and we completed our pumpout then eased back into our summer home -- Slip 58. We had planned a welcome home dinner at the local Mexican restaurant with Paradigm Shift. Turns out, it is closed on Sunday. We agreed on a raincheck for our Mexican celebration. Barry and I headed to Gloucester for the best Thai food around. Tomorrow we will head home for a few days and see what's going on there. We have a busy week of hair cuts (YAY!), doctors' appointments, Zoom meetings, and the many additional things we haven't yet anticipated. Crossroads, of course, needs a good cleaning and waxing. One thing for sure is that our To-Do list is lengthy and everything will become clear with time. We'll hit the ground running, check off the boxes, and prepare to do this all again next January.

So after 136 days we are back where we started. Thanks to all who followed along on our journey. I have attempted to capture each day -- the good and not so good -- in pictures and then write a little bit to connect the images. Until next time ...

-30-


Saturday, May 14, 2022

A Little Bit Of Everything

Camden Point to Hampton  |  10.7 Hours   66 Miles  

The sun was nowhere to be seen as I went out to raise the anchor. Rain had fallen throughout the wee hours of the morning and there was still a heavy mist/light rain requiring me to put on the full compliment of foul weather gear. We moved out of the Broad Creek anchorage and back into the Intracoastal Waterway. Our destination by the end of the day was a return to Virginia. The muted light made for great swamp photography conditions. The first miles clicked on by and soon we were passing through Coinjock. Tied up to the dock was American Star. We surmised that they had stopped here waiting for water levels to return to normal in Currituck Sound.

We saw a few lower than expected readings, but had no unplanned contact with terra firma. Blue sky teased us, but only served to make the scenery at bit more eerie. Fog settled over us. The bright channel markers were a welcome splash of color for our eyes. A cormorant dried its wings atop a red, while a pair of osprey tended a small nest on a green. As we moved further up the ICW, the osprey houses were much grander in scale. 

We timed our arrival at the North Landing Bridge pretty well and passed through with minimal delay. A bald eagle watched our little parade of boats move along. Paradigm Shift was behind us. The challenge then became to get through the next bridge to set us up for an on-the-hour opening of our final bridge in Great Bridge. A series of factors conspired against us, including numerous no-wake zones, a group of paddle boarders, and a large barge moving scrap iron that delayed us at the Centerville Bridge.

Realizing we couldn't make the upcoming Great Bridge opening in 30 minutes, we slowed our speed to a crawl and tried to occupy the next hour and a half by looking at scenery. Sunning turtles and wading blue herons were willing, if unknowing, subjects. We arrived at Great Bridge 20 minutes early and were prepared to hold station and wait for the next opening. Then over the radio came the big announcement: Railroad Bridge #7 was stuck in the down position for the foreseeable future. We made the quick decision to claim a spot on the free dock and wait out the delay. Of course I was not prepared to dock and all the lines were stowed away. I pulled out the minimum essential lines to produce a good-enough-for-now effort. We then went back and properly tied up for an extended stay. Just as we began to exhale and enjoy a completed day, the new announcement came that the bridge was once again open to through traffic. A new plan went into effect calling for us to depart at the 3:00 bridge opening. With 40 minutes to wait, I gladly took the opportunity to go for a walk through the park. Paradigm Shift was more productive than us and used the delay to pick up fuel and water.  

Barry watched the boat traffic. Soon the wait was over and we all passed through the Great Bridge Bridge and into the lock chamber. We were on our way and the sun was out both literally and figuratively. No more bridges between here and home.

The Elizabeth River was scenic as always. Work continues on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The orange Welcome to Norfolk mural shone brightly at Waterside. Nauticus and Town Point park couldn't look much better from the water.

The USS Wisconsin commanded respect even though she hasn't moved in years. As we neared the carrier piers of Norfolk NOB, dark clouds had moved in to the east of the USS Gerald R. Ford. To the west, a large storm cell was approaching. We added a little extra throttle and headed toward The Chamberlin in Hampton. We would try our hardest to reach our destination, the Old Point Comfort anchorage, before the storm arrived. Mission accomplished. We dropped anchor and stayed dry as the storm passed to our south. 

It was a long day that had a little bit of everything sprinkled with several unplanned delays. We had a quick dinner and then watched the latest edition of Mother Nature's Light Show. A rainbow once again formed as the sun was setting. Greg took and shared the first photo of us from across the anchorage. An orange sky finished the evening. The boat pictured could be us, but is actually sister ship Duet. Twilight faded away with soft reflections of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel across the anchorage.