Deer on the Virginia Cut
We saw lots of wildlife this spring and these deer were not one bit afraid of us.
May 16, 2009
When last we wrote we were preparing to discover some small out of the way places on the Albemarle Sound, Columbia and Edneton. We had anchored well inside the Little Alligator River-- a feat that we would not have attempted without a chartplotter at the helm or someone with a lead line sounding from the bow! The river is quite wide and not buoyed. The charts show adequate water for I Wanda but how do you know EXACTLY where that is? We have always had paper charts and for many years we have had electronic charts on the laptop inside the pilothouse-- but never until this trip right at the helm. With our exact position marked on the chart at the helm we eased our way in slowly and found even more water (never less than 8 feet) than we expected. Unfortunately early the next morning as we exited the Alligator River the wind was stronger than forecast and from a different quadrant -- the one that places it right on the nose!! In truth it wasn't quite on the nose but it WAS a beat and we do not care for those!! So a decision was quickly
Cuisers can tie up before or after the bridge (free) This is a great provisioning stop.
made to leave North Carolina and head to Virginia!
The Virginia cut is not as pretty in our view as the Dismal Swamp route, but it is lovely in Spring (except for Currituck Sound which always seems grey) and we were treated with more wildlife than usual, including several deer who seemed not at all afraid of us. Great Bridge, our next stop, could also be called "Great Stop" as it offers so many services to transient cruisers, including free tie ups! It says that stops are limited to 24 hours but when space remains and when weather is bad no one asks you to move on. While we were there we were entertained by a community of geese that had newly hatched chicks they were teaching to swim and stay together in the water. Most had 2 or 4, but ONE family had its "hands" full with 9 chicks. Every morning they would give Bisous (our feline crew) the evil eye as they went by I Wanda and into the canal. Mothers Day arrived while we were there and Christian played "stand in" for the girls and delivered appropriate-to-sailboat fresh flowers that stay snugly in the table's fiddles.
Great Bridge Lock
The lift is slight here but it is a lovely lock.
A week later I am still enjoying them. Speaking of flowers I must emphasize that Spring is glorious on the ICW! We usually pass this way in the fall and enjoy the prolonged autumn but Spring provides dazzling color, the sweet smell of wisteria, honey suckle and other flowers as well as birds singing and calling their chicks. They are everywhere.
When you leave Great Bridge there is a lock and a number of bridges to maneuver and since we had been blocked by a closed bridge we were a flotilla departing on Monday morning. As we tied up in the Great Bridge Lock we noted a roped off area near where we were. A special attendant was on our side (usually un manned) to alert boaters of the goose who had decided to make her nest RIGHT at the edge of the lock. Then it was on to the various bridges-- and WHY aren't the names on the chart? We know from years of passing through here what they are called but you hear new cruisers calling "bascule bridge" and of course no one answers that call. There is now one less bridge to call, however, as the
A mother Goose chose the lock for her nest-- note the orange cone protecting her nest
Jordan Bridge is permanently open with an entire span removed. That was the first bridge on the ICW for boats heading South.
Norfolk is an amazing port with so many military ships always lined up either in moth balls, dry dock or waiting redeployment. On our pass through there were four aircraft carriers side by side! We anchor on the Portsmouth side at Hospital Point just behind the buoy that marks "Mile Marker 0" in the ICW. We always try and stop here as we LOVE the Commodore theater which is a short walk from the dinghy dock. This is an Art Deco theater that has been restored, retaining is enormous screen but adding modern dolby surround sound. It doesn't matter WHAT movie you watch there it is a treat. Did I mention you can also order junk food and draft beer delivered to your table? And that you sit in comfy easy chairs on wheels? We always try and bring cruisers with us and this year it was Dick & Jan on Cambia and we saw the new Star Trek movie. Did I say they are all great at the Commodore? No exception this time.
This bridge is so close to the railroad bridge that they must open in tandem. If a train is coming the road bridge stays closed
have been popping up all around us the weather where we are seems to be holding. We jumped out into the Chesapeake Bay and have had several great SAILS while heading to places we like to visit and folks we like even better. On Wilton Creek off the Piankatank it was George & Betty of Katherine B. We know to stop a bit before arriving at their dock as the water runs out for I Wanda. No matter. When you are aground you don't drag... We had a lovely visit with George & Betty and their friends... and made a return trip to the fabulous Short Lane ice cream parlor in Gloucester. They make their own and it is always fresh and fabulous. In case you think that all we do is eat and drink (though we do our SHARE) we also visited the Deltaville Maritime Museum. We always like to go to these regional water museums as they describe life on the water and the boats that were built locally to ply those waters. In Deltaville it was oystering and crabbing and the boats very different that those we see elsewhere.
From the Piankatank we moved over
Jordan Bridge Section
This entire section was removed from the Jordan bridge, closing it for motorists but opening it for us.
to the Rappahannock and the Corotoman to tie up at Bob and Betsey's dock next to Blue Dolphin. Dick and Cathy of Moriah have a home near by and we all got together and caught up on cruiser news. While I Wanda sat peacefully at the dock we listened to osprey crying their protests and watched eagles soaring overhead. We are told that the osprey chase the eagles away and you get the impression watching them that little would deter them from protecting their nests!
The next (and last) Virginia stops were planned for Reedville and Tangier Island. Yet as often is the case when you are cruising we heard the weather report and knew we had to change our destination. Since we want to be in Annapolis mid week for a family graduation we could not be stuck in Reedville where you cannot rent a car. We had one good but windy day to cover the nearly 70 NM to Solomon's Island on the Patuxant River of Maryland. We were able to sail much of the way and it was a great day. We are now anchored snuggly (did I say we are really liking the new Rocna
Gateway to Norfolk
This bridge is in the open position. Note the tender's house high above the water
anchor??) in Solomons. Rained hard all night and should be windy today and tomorrow but Tuesday should be fine for the one day jump to Annapolis. We hope to return next week to "finish" the Maryland stops before poking around the eastern shore. We are having a grand time!
More soon... Mary & Christian with Bisous on I Wanda
Tot: 0.052s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 13; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0091s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb