Days 353 -355
Coinjock NC - Norfolk VA
Start 7:30 AM
End 2:00 PM
Underway 5:40 Hours
Distance 42 Miles
Total Miles on Trip 5736
Av Speed 7.4knots
Weather Partly Cloudy, 80 Degrees, Wind 4 Knots WSW
I am not sure how to describe the run from Coinjock to Norfolk. Once again there was a lot of traffic, but there must have been a full moon, people were just nuts. Some people passing with no notice only to slow down for no reason, others saying yes pass me, then not slowing down so you could pass without a wake, and a bunch of other odd stuff. Then there was the draw bridges, we had three of them to go through. We timed our arrival at the first bridge to minimize or wait times, but we still had to wait on one bridge. One bridge was rushing boaters through, saying that they could not leave the bridge open long. The last bridge we had to wait 30 minutes for it to open. Had we not timed the first bridge correctly, the wait would have been almost an hour. That bridge led us into our ninetieth and final lock on The Great Loop. This was the easiest lock on the trip. There was no wind or current coming into the lock, and the lockmaster comes around and grabs your lines and loops them around a cleat and hands it back to you. Even with that the last boat in the lock screwed up somehow, and ended up spinning around in the lock and almost hitting another boat. The best part is the lock only drops the water level by six inches, and it still took over 20 minutes to get everyone in the look and secured.
Coming down the Elizabeth River into Norfolk and seeing many navy vessels being serviced by the various contractors along the river was awesome. As we could see from our slip, the work goes on 7 days a week 24 hours a day.
Waterside Marina is located in the heart of downtown and has easy access to lots to do, including the ferry to Portsmouth. The one disappointment was that most of The Waterside District was closed when we got there and all of it was closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The Waterside District is the hub for waterfront eateries, pubs and entertainment.
With Waterside closed we walked into town to Grace O'Malley's Irish Pub. It was probably the worst meal we have had on the loop. Angel's dinner (Irish Stew) did not come until Mark, Karen (Kay Dee) and I were almost done eating. Angel told us to go ahead and eat, after asking where her dinner was, and the waitress told us, they ran out of the stew and were making more. My corned beef and cabbage was so salty, it tasted like it was cook in seawater. OH well not all restaurants can be good.
Monday we toured the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and The Battleship Wisconsin. Even with all the ships we have toured it is still cool to hear all the stories of each of the ships. In 1956 in a heavy fog the Wisconsin collided with USS Ethan, heavily damaging the bow of the Wisconsin. The Wisconsin returned to Norfolk and was repaired in just sixteen days. Shipbuilders took 140 ton, 68 foot section from the battleship Kentucky which was still being built and used it to replace the damaged bow. I cannot believe how fast repairs were done. If we could just do that now days.
After our tours we headed back into town for a late lunch / early dinner. This time it was much better we went to a small local bar Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint. It was definitely a hit with good prices and great burgers.
Our last day in Norfolk took our bikes and went to the Chrysler Museum and Glass Studio. We started at the Glass Studio where they do a Glass Blowing demonstration. We have seen glass blowing in a couple of places, and this was the best demonstration that we have seen. It is an hour long presentation during which they make a glass blown vase or picture, and explain ever step. They also tell you about the studio and the museum. The best part is both the studio and museum are free. They offer several classes you can take and we might have taken one but they are all on the weekends and we will be gone by then. After the museum we had planned to go to Fort Norfolk, until we found out it is not really a fort, but a neighborhood in Norfolk. We changed our plan and hopped on the ferry to Portsmouth. We wanted to go to the Lightship Portsmouth Museum and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Museum. We struck out on both, the museum is closed on Monday & Tuesday, and the Lightship is closed for repairs. We also met up with Lisa & James (Destiny) for drinks. Sadly this will probably be the last time we see them. They are staying at Tidewater Marina in Portsmouth for a month and we will be done before the move on.
From Norfolk we are heading to Yorktown for a couple of days.