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Trip's Log

Date: May 15 to Aug 5

Total Distance: 191 nm
Route: ICW (Great Bridge to Norfolk), Chesapeake Bay (Reedville), Potomac River (Wades Bay, Washington, D.C.)

Click on the map for a bigger image. The purple line is the ICW route.

At Great Bridge, we had 3 sets of friends over the boat the month of July. This gave us the opportunity to explore the area a little. We  feasted on seafood and Chinese buffets, celebrated the Fourth of July and an anniversary on Virginia Beach, and checked out some properties in the area.  In between, we even managed to get away to Boston (to settle and move out of our home to live aboard Mai Thai) and Vero Beach, Fl.  Guess sea gypsies do travel a lot, even if not by boat.

Cruising the Chesapeake Bay

Waiting at the Great Bridge Locks

Cape Henry Lighthouses

Early morning at Atlantic Yacht Basin

Aug 3  Finally, we left Atlantic Yacht Basin, after two and a half months!  We couldn't believe we've been here so long. But we are quite pleased as we had fixed up the boat pretty good while we were there.  We built a step ladder, stripped the paint off 2 windows and re-stained them, waxed the boat, had the a/c fixed and an auto-pilot installed.  While we were here, we met lots of  interesting people, including the nice folks who work here at the yard. One fella even gave us a bunch of crabs when we left (we were envious of his catch near our boat when he picked them up everyday!). They were um um good.

Submarines at Norfolk

Aug 3  As we were getting ready to leave this August day, Sophal heard the coast guard on the VHF radio asking all boaters to watch out for a boat which had shot off a flare off the Sandbridge area, which is about 1 hour southeast of us by car.  We didn't hear what happened, but we hope the boaters are ok. We made the 0900 Great Bridge opening, and went into the locks. There were just 2 boats - a research vessel and us.  Passing by Norfolk, which marks the beginning of the ICW at mile 0, was quite a sight - military sight, that is.  Warships, aircraft carriers, submarines are all docked here.  

From AYB to Norfolk, we had to go through a lock and 4 bridges.  It is only 12nms, but took about 2 hours to get out to the Chesapeake Bay.  Once out in the  bay, we felt like we were out in the ocean.  The Chesapeake is so BIG that sometimes you see land on one side but not on the other.  With the autopilot running, Captain Zigzag is no more.  No longer tied down to the helm, the captain can now walk around leisurely, study the charts, do whatever.  Certainly, having lunch is much more enjoyable.  If we have to rate all the electronics equipment on the boat on a scale of 1-10 , the auto-pilot is a 10.  Definitely worth the $$$.  We love it!

We drove 80nms and anchored at Reedville, below Smith Point, right before the entrance to the Potomac River, for the night.  Oh my God, does this place stink! A factory on the banks of Cockrell Creek process these bony fish called pogies for essential fish oil and meal for industrial and agricultural uses.  Fortunately, the smell tapered off when we turned into a corner.  We ventured into a spot recommended by the Chesapeake Bay Embassy Guides and anchored there.  The space was a little tight, but calm and tranquil nevertheless.
Aug 4  We left around 7:15am amid cloudy skies, 10 knots wind and 1 foot wake.  Again, we had to endure that disgusting fishy smell when we turned around the corner.  We both held our breaths for a few moments.  At Smith Creek, we ran into what looked like a fishing tournament.  Half hour before the entrance to the Potomac River, we were sitting at the bow taking in the scenery when Sophal noticed a submerged piling in our direction.  He quickly dodged it.  Guess you still have to be on the watch even though the autopilot is doing most of the work.  We saw several sailboats in the distance, but we felt no wind and the skies remained cloudy.  We drove another 80nms before anchoring at Wades Bay, a nice quiet little spot.  We even dipped in the water for a little swim.  The water temperature was just perfect.

Aug 5  We putted along the river admiring the hazy outline of Alexandria and Washington, DC. , the airplanes flying in and out of Reagan National Airport,  and arrived at James Creek Marina a little after noon. 

We'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line - Eileen or Sophal
Last updated: 04/12/2007
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