Thursday, June 5, 2014

Great Bridge, Chesapeake, Virginia

It was kind of interesting getting back underway. We made a very graceful exit from the dock, cleared our inlet without running aground, passed the outer marker and headed west across the Albemarle Sound. That is when it occurred to us that we were, basically, picking up where we left off on our trip north. We had come out of the Alligator River and turned east, away from the ICW path, to get home. Now we were headed west, back to the ICW path, to keep going north.

Screens - which we expect to use extensively
up in the Chesapeake at this time of year.
It was a beautiful morning. We put out a staysail (just to satisfy me) as we motored just off of the wind towards the North River and the ICW intersection. It became obvious that, although we didn’t have much company on the Sound, the bugs had found us. We drug out the screens and they were quickly covered in a variety of insects that rode most of the way to Coinjock with us.

Once we were a little ways past the entrance to the river, SeaClearly began to see some new sights. This is the furthest north she has ever been. She was built in Costa Rica, commissioned in Florida, been down the Caribbean chain, to the Bahamas and up the east coast to North Carolina. The Chesapeake Bay will be a new experience for all of us.

We are familiar with most of the stretches of the ICW going up to Great Bridge, Virginia. We have just never seen them from a boat. As you drive north from the Outer Banks, you parallel and cross the ICW in several places. Many times we have looked down off the bridges and watched the cruisers moving on the canal. Many times we have stopped by Coinjock as spectators to view the collection of cruisers and power boats at the dock. This time, we are the cruisers.

The trip was better than we expected. Our aversion to skinny water led us to believe that we would run aground every 3 miles or so. Turned out there is plenty of water as long as you do not deviate from the ‘Magenta Line’. In fact, I (half-jokingly) said that you could probably drive the whole trip without looking outside as long as your electronics held out.

Since we started a day later than we hoped – and since we got a very early start in the morning – we decided that we could probably make it all the way to Great Bridge in one day and tie up at the free dock just before the bridge. There are some timing issues with a few bridges along the way that will close for rush-hour traffic. With a little luck, some bursts of speed (relatively- we are a sailboat, after all) and a cooperative bridge tender at the Centerville Turnpike Bridge, we cleared them all and were nosing in to the free dock at 4:30 pm.

Surprise encounter with Melody and Chris
Free dock!
Now, we had always heard – and have since experienced – that cruising sailors run into each other repeatedly and unexpectedly. As we approach the dock and are jumping off to tie up, a nice young lady shows up to help us. Wait. She looks like – Melody! From ‘Vacilando’! We met her and Chris (and Jett, their wonderdog) in Charleston, hit it off and have stayed in touch (mostly Junie and Melody through emails, Facebook, Women-Who-Sail and also through blogs). We have also run into them again in St. Augustine and Fernandina Beach and just missed them in Fort Lauderdale.  We knew they were headed north but were not sure where they were. Now, we know!

Food Truck Rodeo.
Who knew?

We arrived here at the free dock in Chesapeake just in time for the first-and-third-Wednesday Food Truck community gathering right here at the park beside us. How cool! I didn't even know there was such a thing but there was quite a turn-out.
SeaClearly dwarfed by a barge in the canal.

By 5:00 pm, we have tied up, met old friends, had Fish Tacos and Chicken Empanadas and are settled in for the evening. We are thinking we might sit here one more night to let the thunderstorms go by. Then – north to the Bay! 
Proudly flying our 'Roux' burgee


  1. So nice you are enjoying the trip north. I have done that area many times and always enjoyed the sights. Sorry to miss the get together next week but I have been having too much fun sailing in the ocean each weekend.
    Soleil CR 42 #11

    1. Wish you could make the gathering! But we are jealous of your easy access to the ocean. See you soon.