Sunday, June 8, 2014

On to Yorktown - well, across from Yorktown

We are docked at the York River Yacht Haven in Gloucester, Virginia. It has been a glorious weekend. And, Junie's birthday! The weather has been perfect. Several people have commented that 'We deserve some nice weather after the miserable winter!' We don't have the heart to tell them that we were in Florida and the Bahamas and missed most of the bad stuff.

Great Bridge
But, to back up a little...
We fueled up in Great Bridge early on a beautiful, still Friday morning. During this process, we found out that we were heading up to Norfolk just in time for Harborfest! Apparently, we did not do a very good job checking schedules. Harborfest adds a lot of craziness to an already busy harbor. Our plans to anchor at Hospital Point probably needed some adjustment.

Tall ship awaiting launch
in Portsmouth
We caught the 8:00 am opening of the Great Bridge Bridge - we did did. We passed immediately from there into the locks for the 18" drop to the Elizabeth River along with 3 other sailboats and 2 trawlers. We all dashed to the next bridge (the Steel Bridge) for a 9:00 am opening and so on and so on. Up the ICW toward Mile 0 at Portsmouth. Before long, we were arriving at Portsmouth and Norfolk. This is such an interesting area. The ships and military contingents add a big-ness to the scene. We slowed down to take in all of the sights. We also did a slow pass by Waterside Marina to scope out the set up for when we come back here in two weeks for the Bayou Bugaloo Festival.

 But, on this Friday morning, it was all about HarborFest. Tents were going up, banners were flying. Police, Military Police and Coast Guard were already on patrol. Although it might have been interesting to park right there in the midst of the celebration, we decided not to anchor at Hospital Point. Our back up anchorage was Old Port Comfort near Fort Monroe. As we passed out of the inner harbor, we began to see a lot of boats ahead. Once again, coincidence provides cooler experience than planning. The entire HarborFest Parade of Sail was headed right at us! We were privileged to see an entourage that included several tall ships, classic boats and the USS Cole, replete with her decks lined with sailors in their dress whites. It was a wonderful procession.

Pride of Baltimore

USS Cole

After that, we dodged a few large cargo and container ships and crossed over to Old Point Comfort. We were the only boat there when we arrived at 1:00 pm. It was a great anchorage. Well, there was some sort of cable tender platform that ran a diesel generator 24-7 but it helped cover up the traffic noise from I-64. OK, it was an average anchorage but the noise didn't bother us or, apparently, the 8  boats that showed up. We had dropped about 150 ft of chain  in 15 ft of water (we have a lot of chain and we aren't afraid to use it) and the wind barely blew. So, we slept really well without worries.

Morning at Old Point Comfort
The next day dawned, again, picture perfect.  While, technically, I think we entered the Chesapeake Bay the previous afternoon on our way to the anchorage, today would be our first 'Sailing the Bay' experience and we were looking forward to it. Another milestone. We motored out into the big channel towards Thimble Shoals then raised the main, unfurled the genny and shut down the engine. We took a few minutes to relish the moment. There, to our right, was the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel with its two clear entrances to the ocean. The Bay is ahead of us with a whole new set of adventures yet to be named.

Leaving the anchorage, headed towards
the Bay and to the York River
Our mission on this Saturday was to make the short 25 mile run up to the York River.We had plans in place to spend some marina dollars to be parked somewhere for two nights,  to celebrate Junie's birthday on Sunday and to meet up with daughter Emily and son-in-law Tyler. We got a recommendation from Tyler's mom, Tracey, for the restaurant at the York River Yacht Haven so now we have a destination and another addition to our dinner party. Thank you Tracey! The wind got pretty slack so we flew our big Code Zero 160% Reacher for a while. We have that on the most forward of the three roller furlers which makes it really easy, and therefore more likely, to use.

We were docked at the YRYH and hooked up by 2:00 pm. We grabbed some lunch, started washing down the boat, traded banter with our marina neighbors and crashed as the sun went down on Saturday evening in Gloucester. Gotta love these long days as summer approaches! More later.

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