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  • Writer's pictureDeanna Sansbury

Norfolk, VA into the ICW

Made it into Norfolk on Sunday after a 70 mile trip down from where were were anchored off the Indian River, in Reedville, VA.  We pulled anchor at 4:30 in the morning and were out on the bay in the pitch black, waiting for the sun to rise at 7:30 so we could see where the hell we were going.  It was pretty eerie out there in the darkness, with nothing to rely on other than our GPS and trusty spot light to make sure we weren’t running over any crab traps or fishing structures.  After two hours of not being able to see more than a few feet in front of us, the sun came up and we were treated to a beautiful morning with great winds down the bay.

The trip down to Norfolk was probably one of our best yet.  The Bay was wide open and we set our auto pilot and trimmed our sails and settled into another day of sunshine and book reading.

Around 1:00, we entered the mouth of the Bay and things got much more lively.  Thankfully it was a Sunday so commercial traffic was minimal, however, we did pass a HUGE cargo ship headed North which threw a rather large wake.  We saw the monohulls in front of us getting bounced around like toys in front of us.  Eek.  I ran inside and began pulling things down that could fall and braced ourselves for impact.  Nothing like seeing a wall of water in front of you to give you a good rush!  We cut right through with no problems… much smoother than the other sailboats around us.  God, I love having a catamaran.

It was pretty cool to see all of the Navy ships and cargo yards headed through Norfolk.  I read in our guidebook that Norfolk is home of the world’s largest Naval base, and believe me, it shows.  You get within 500 yards of any of these bad boys and a police boat comes flying out to make sure you don’t get any closer.

We finally pulled into our marina in downtown Norfolk around 3:00, having made our 70 mile trip in about ten hours.  It was a tight squeeze getting into our slip…. there was a troller on the bulkhead and a finger pier that extended out, leaving us with just about three feet or so on each side to squeeze through.  Matt handled it like a pro though, and even had an old lady walk down after we tied up to compliment him on how well he handled the boat coming in. That was sincerely appreciated, considering how new we feel at all of this.

We were really excited to hang out in Norfolk for a few days and explore the city.  As soon as we tied off, we discovered that the marina didn’t have a cable hook-up, so we spent the next hour or so desperately trying to hunt down a bar that had AMC so we could watch Walking Dead, Matt’s favorite show. Eventually we found out that Hooters, of all places, would let us hunker down and watch it.  So, we spent the night there, munching on wings and straining to hear our show over the surround sound of the Sunday night football games blaring around us.  Talk about priorities.

The next morning was Matt’s birthday, and we set out downtown to explore the city and find a good local spot for lunch.  I must say, we were a bit disappointed.  The downtown area was a ghost town, even though it was a Monday, and there were police and security everywhere.  It sorta creeped us out.  Like shit was about to go down as soon as the sun set.  We finally found ourselves at the mall to see Gone Girl, anxious to get back to the boat and get the heck out of there ASAP the next morning.  I did find a Starbucks though, so that was a small win.  We’re both feeling a little antsy to get south and are blowing away our original timeline to be in Charleston by Nov 10th.  Looks like we’ll be about a week early.  Sansbury time stops for no one, not even the Sansbury’s.

This morning we set off early to begin our long day down the ICW.  We have a 50 mile trip to our next stop in Coinjock, NC where we’ll anchor for the night.  We’ve got a few bridges and a lock system to navigate, so that should keep things interesting.  Other than that, it’s a straight, narrow shot South.

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