October 15, 2014

Southbound on SEYON - part 2 of part 1

When we last left our intrepid yachtsman and yachtswoman, oh wait, that's us, we were stuck on the Shark River in New Jersey. The town's name is Belmar, for any future cruisers who need a place to stop along the Jersey shore. And its worth a visit if you go to the boardwalk and enjoy their restaurants and bars.
Here we sat, hoping the weather turned for the better.
Our house has been for sale for a loooong time - but apparently not as long as this one 
We were there for a couple of days, waiting out the stinky waves offshore until the water flattened. And when it did, and under this glorious sunrise (I like leaving Shark River under a cloud that looks like a shark), we set off for part two of this first leg of the trip South. It sounds confusing, but it isn't really. Due to boat insurance, lots of boats can't go below Norfolk, VA until the hurricane season is over. And in this case, hurricane season ends on November 30th, 2014. So, we split the trip into two halves - one from our home North of Boston to Chesapeake, VA, and the second half will be from Chesapeake to Palm Beach, FLO-RI-DA!
You can see why the Jersey Shore - or JERZ as my new frig sticker says - got hit so hard during Hurricane Sandy. There is literally NO protection from the harsh waters. We passed many boats all happy for a calm day to get further on their own trips. 
Might you have any Grey Poupon?
Snooki and gang are gone, having babies and all, while Seaside Heights and the famed boardwalk are being reconstructed
Ahhhh - the water was flat and sparkly - a great combo!
LUCK be a lady tonight in Atlantic City!
After a lot of this kind of water, my husband and I had the dreaded conversation - go all night or pull in? Whenever he brings that topic up, I already know what he wants to do. And its my LEAST favorite thing to do on a boat - cruise through the night. I hate it for many reasons:
1) my nighttime eyesight kind of stinks
2) I freak out knowing that I have to be on watch alone so he can sleep
3) I don't like passing other boats because sometimes they have nets if they're fishing trawlers, or they're tugs and barges, which means you need to stay far, far away
But, as you've probably figured out by now, we had to take advantage of the nice weather and, gulp, go for it...
Good night Cape May, NJ. You look really cozy right about now...
Thank GOD for the moon! Even though the waves and winds picked up through the night, this friendly ball in the sky has saved me more times than I can tell. (the picture is blurry because I was hanging out of the wheelhouse door to take it and I didn't want to fall overboard while my husband slept - wouldn't that have been a surprise?)

I love the moon because it lights up the night sky to such an incredible amount that my aforementioned bad night-vision isn't so horrible. And that bit of extra light really calms my nerves. I still pray to every dead relative I have to keep us safe. And I still think of every scene in Forrest Gump. I think about the scene where Forrest tells Jenny about the sky and the way it reflects on the water. I think about Lt. Dan yelling at the storms when he's on top of the shrimp boat's mast, yelling, "You call that a storm?". And I think about Lt. Dan when he swims off to make peace with his life. I think about all this stuff when I'm alone on watch. I also sing (badly, mind you) show tunes and a lot of Sinatra - the soundtrack of my youth.
This is what our chart plotter looks like. All I have to do is follow the dotted line. Sounds simple...

So, after a long night of two hours on, and two hours of try-to-sleep, I gave up and and stayed in the wheelhouse with my husband. 
I'm looking babe-alicious in my Black Dog pj pants with my ever-present Diet Coke. 
Glasses on, and messy ponytail - hey there, Sailor!
And this is such a welcoming sight - especially after traveling all night. Literally in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, is the 20 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge that breaks in two spots with the road going under the bay so ships can come and go out of Norfolk, Virginia's harbor.
And as you get closer, you can see where the breaks are - pretty cool engineering!
 Entering Norfolk harbor at sunrise is impressive - no one can doubt the Navy's sheer power when you see the ships all lined up!
 I'm just waiting for Tom Cruise to appear in a Mission Impossible scene  
 I can almost hear the trumpets for Reveille when they raise the flags. And they do it too! We were once tied up to a marina off the Naval Base and they played it over a huge loudspeaker. Attention!
Cranes and loading - getting ships ready to go
Good morning sunshine!
A little yikes - these things are BIG!

Just a couple of normal morning views out my galley's window. 
How close are we?
They even have this cute little paddlewheel ferry running the people of Elizabeth River over to downtown Norfolk
I waved to the guys on deck - do you think they could see me?
And then began the long process of bridges. Norfolk is the start of the real Intracoastal Waterway. Up until then you are along the coast and not inside the coast - if that makes any sense at all. And to get beyond the city, you have to go under a bunch of bridges and even a lock, and this takes a long time
 After the first bridge, things start to mellow out again
Pretty scenes of homes and their boats, or is it the other way around?
 Gotta keep dredging or else everyone will run aground
Two guys and their crab pots - sounds like a name of a sitcom
More bridges and the boats are getting aggressive - apparently other people have places to go that are more important than mine
Jockeying up like at the start of a horse race - no one wants to miss this bridge opening since they only happen on the half hour!
 A little "boat-rage" from this guy who kept cutting us off - 
he was a jerk, and his boat was ugly too!
Ha ha! Our fenders and lines were ready to go into the locks before the mean guy's were, so we're ahead of him now (guess I have a little boat-rage too!)
Two lines looped around the cleats is all you need - pretty easy
 Apparently this sign reports statute miles, not nautical miles so we haven't traveled 717 miles from Boston, we've gone a lot further than that!
 You'd think you'd feel this big WHOOSH when the locks opened (look down at the horizon in this photo), but its as calm as could be
See all y'all! All y'all is plural for y'all! Isn't that funny? They're continuing on the waterway and we're stopping just ahead at our midway destination, the 
Atlantic Yacht Basin www.atlanticyachtbasin.com
I love their logo
All tied up
Boatyard views and boatyards in general are like hardware stores to guys. 
They can spend hours just walking around and around.
I like this view a lot better and there are friendly ducks to feed on this side.
I think my husband wants this for Christmas. 
Just what we need...another fixer-upper!
I have to admit, I love seeing these classic yachts getting restored

 Imagine the parties you could have onboard?
This one, not so much!
 Now THAT'S a dinghy!
 These grasses were so amazing. We can't grow them like this at home.
 Even the dockmaster admitted he thought they were pretty
Just a little detail I'll miss while we're away. This burgee (flag) is from the Royal Ocean Racing Club www.rorc.org and was given to my father-in-law after one of his successful races. My father-in-law was a big sailor and he even met Prince Phillip once while in his underwear!
 See you soon, comfy chairs!

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