November 9, 2018

Last stops in the Chesapeake Bay, ICW Virginia Cut

After leaving Solomon's Island, Md., we spent three nights on Jackson Creek in Deltaville, Va., waiting for a front to pass with heavy winds from the direction we wanted to sail.

Jackson Creek, Deltaville, tug, Borealis, Hallberg-Rassy 37 anchored

On one of the sunnier, nicer days we took the dinghy to the town public dock and into town to re-provision on fresh fruits and vegetables. It was about a 2-mile walk to town, but it felt good to stretch our legs after a full week on the boat without touching land. On the way back to the boat, a friendly local (and fellow boater) saw us walking with our shopping bags along the side of the road and stopped and offered us a ride to the dock (thanks, Joe)!

dinghy, Deltaville, public dock, provisioning

We left for Norfolk, Va., on November 3 after filling up with water and pumping out at the Deltaville Marina. The weather called for 15-25 kts of wind from the west and 2-3 foot waves, which made for a sporty sail down the Chesapeake Bay. With only the headsail out (and a bit of favorable current) we averaged between 6-8 kts of boat speed, but it was a bumpy ride.

Going through Norfolk we passed several large container ships and tugboats, keeping Borealis closely outside the main shipping channel, and just made it past a warship when it radioed an alert and started to pull out of its massive slip.

Hallberg-Rassy 37, Helly Hanson, life jacket, sailing

Helly Hanson, sailing, Norfolk

We anchored that night at Hospital Point, just outside Norfolk in Portsmouth, Va., with a dozen other sailboats, many of them waiting for weather windows for rallies heading offshore to the Caribbean. Thankfully, despite being off a busy channel, we had a quiet and restful night.

The following morning, we joined a crew of six other southbound cruisers down the first leg of the ICW, known affectionately as "the ditch" by cruisers, and through several bridges and our first ever lock. While the narrow ICW is easy to navigate, the channel gets tight when tugboats come through or when a handful of boats are circling in a small area waiting for a bridge or lock on a scheduled open.

Sailboats jockeying in a narrow channel for the bridge to open on the hour

A close pass from a barge in a narrow ICW channel

We had only a short run down to Chesapeake Bay, Va., and Great Bridge lock and bridge, where we stopped at the free city docks between the lock and bridge to provision and rest.

The next morning, we pulled off the dock right before 8 am to catch the hourly Great Bridge opening and the first 8:30 am post- rush-hour open of the Centerville Turnpike Swing Bridge. It was a slow, long slog down the ICW, 8 hours of motoring in wet, overcast weather through the North River, avoiding tugs in the narrow channels. The highlight of the day was that we crossed another state line, from Virginia into North Carolina!

We ended our day in the southern part of the North River just south of Coinjock, N.C.; the reviews of the anchorage said it was spacious and had good holding, but the bugs were terrible (even in November!). Sure enough, shortly after sunset giant mosquito-like bugs covered the boat and the sound of them hitting our windows all night was like drops of rain.

The days of motoring are long, but we are slowly making our way south and to warmer weather (we haven't used the diesel heater in a couple of days)!

1 comment:

  1. i Seriously love how you guys are going on this adventure together!!!