Monday morning started with an eerie fog in the Dismal Swamp as we motored up to Norfolk. It is really strange how you are in a very wooded swamp, and all of a sudden pop out into the Hampton Roads area which is purported to be the worlds largest seaport. Strangely, we did not see another boat on the Dismal Swamp Canal this morning. But, when we came around the bend into civilization, not only did we see many many boats. They were extremely large ships.
I’ve got to explain the term “Hampton Roads”. I’ve heard the term before, but did not really know what it meant. If you look on your road atlas, at the Southern end of Chesapeake Bay, you’ll notice a heavily populated area consisting of a number of cities like Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, and Hampton. Thus the “Hampton” portion of the term. “Roads” is actually a shortening of the word Roadstead, or a natural harbor. Hampton Roads can be considered a water area, or a land area, or both together. Are we all a little more confused now?
Confused or not, our nations military presence is huge here. I’ve included a picture from Waterside Marina, where we stayed Monday night. Those are four large U.S. Navy ships being worked on. We saw a good number more being worked on as we came up the Elizabeth River. We’re told that the really large ships, like our aircraft carriers, are handled further up the James River (as in historical James Town).
Meanwhile, back to Norfolk, VA, where we stayed at this really nice Waterside Marina. This place is right downtown, and in the middle of Waterside Harbor Park. About three blocks away is a cool area on Granby Street with lots of eaterys, boutiques, and galleries. We found a neat little restaurant called Hells Kitchen. Paula had a really good seafood mac & cheese. I had great fall-off-the-bone ribs. This place definitely got a thumbs-up. Plus, half-off a really tasty craft brewed IPA. And we passed up a Hooters, a Joe’s Crab Shack, and an Outback for this – ANY TIME!
Tuesday morning (this entry is getting long) we headed up the Chesapeake, headed for Gwynn Island. Right away we had to make sure we stayed over 500-yards away from an aircraft carrier coming in, or we could be dealt with forcibly (they actually tell you this on the marine radio).
After we sailed over half way to Gwynn Island, the wind filled in out of the North, and a current was running North, which creates a nasty chop (probably only the sailors will understand what I’m saying). So, we ducked into a place called Horn Harbor. Of course we headed for the marina here because there’s this Heat Advisory all over the news, and we plan to run the AC tonight (we could handle it, but the dog is getting old).
Oh yes – 94-degrees here today, and 85-degrees back in Fort Myers.