This morning we were greeted by some winds and current in the Waterside Marina. This created problems in departing due to the packed conditions. We would be required to back out to port against the current and wind and then quickly spin on our own axis counterclockwise before we are swept into our friends on Loop Dreams whose bow pulpit is sticking out dangerously close to our path.
I asked Mark, a fellow looper, to hold a bow line and walk it down the pier finger and then throw it on the bow while I manned a boat pole on the stern. Jan backed her out perfectly and the bowline was thrown aboard. Then comes the pause as we go from backing to turning and that is when current and wind take over before forward spinning momentum takes hold. It was close, maybe six feet, as I shouted to give it some juice. Jan was way ahead of me and I felt the starboard engine dig in. We were in the clear and moving out through the crowd. Whew!
Maneuvering out of Norfolk is not particularly difficult so long as you don’t mind big ships and heavy traffic. As we neared the final turn that would take us out into the Chesapeake proper I heard a radio call. Warship 72 was notifying a large Coast Guard cutter that it was moving out and they needed to clear the channel. And sure enough over to starboard a warship starts moving right out into our line of sail. Not wanting to interfere with the US Navy we cut speed and took a wait and see approach. It was then that we noticed another Coast Guard cutter moving up behind us. No one seemed to be worried about us so we maintained course and speed as we had learned in our classes and everyone just fell in line. A USCG vessel followed by a Warship followed by Cbay followed by another USCG. I tried raising the warship on VHF to tell them we were close astern but received no answer after several attempts. I told Jan I would get their attention so I decided to turn on the radar, not because we needed it but because I wanted them to know we were there and broadcasting. I figured even if they did not see us from their towering stern, that some radarman deep in the ship would call the bridge and say a new radar was pinging them. It worked too well and they were immediately calling. Later the Commander would tell me that it was a dangerous move in these troubled times. Pinging them suddenly with radar is how a missle locks on! Oh well, live and learn.
In this line we continued for miles. We had to increase speed to hold our place. These big ships may look slow but they are making speed. The warship was headed out to sea to do man overboard drills and then continue on to Staten Island. The lead USCG was going to do live fire exercises and the USGC behind us was from Staten Island and had come down to escort the warship. It was Fleet Week in NYC. I remember that from an episode of “Sex and the City”. I really hated to be discharged from the Navy but we needed to cut off and head toward Yorktown.
As we moved away and came out from behind the shadow of the warship we could then see a huge freighter coming into Norfolk and we had to cross it’s path. More speed did the job and then we were in a side fairway but immediately faced a barge coming our way. This was like driving in rush hour traffic.
Within an hour we saw a cruiser gaining on us. It was My Way with Wayne, Francine and Skipper. They were running hard to try and make Deltaville. We were not so ambitious based on wind and waves and bid them goodbye. Who knows if we will ever cross paths again.
The winds picked up as we moved northward pushing us around a bit but the Commander had told me yesterday that as long as the wind was shifting it would knock down the waves in the Chesapeake. I had installed a new wind direction gauge in Norfolk. I picked it up on the bike ride to West Marine. And this gauge clearly was moving about so I knew the waves would be manageable. In this manner we continued in changing seas.
What a pleasant surprise was Yorktown Landing. Here we were miles up the York River and there was a beautiful little white sand beach at the marina filled with bikini clad bodies, not all of which should have been in a bikini. One was massively pregnant. How inappropriate.
The USGC uses this marina for training and all afternoon they trained recruits in docking and line handling. Very entertaining.
Mike the Dockmaster offered to drive me into town to pick up transmission fluid and three gallons later I was changing fluid and filters for the first time since we purchased Cbay.
Tomorrow we stay put due to forecast storms and we will try to drink in some history in this hallowed place when the American Revolution was won.