Monday, April 18, 2011

To the Chesapeake and Beyond

It was an early start as we pushed out of Norfolk.  The sun has been cresting over the horizon a bit earlier each day and with another patch of heavy winds coming in we need all the daylight we can get.  As we made our way up Hampton Roads, we were once again overwhelmed by the scale of the Naval operations around us.  The night before we had enjoyed a nice quite dinner in an Irish Pub in downtown.  I was surprised that the pub was so quiet, it was thirsty Thursday after all.  The Barkeep laughed at my comment and said payday wasn't till tomorrow.  She explained that about 75 percent of the people in the Norfolk area are on a government payroll, you can always tell when payday is about to happen because one night the bars are empty and the next they are packed.  Lucky us I thought, it was a sure treat to have the Bar to ourselves.  Our run up the Chesapeake was one of the more beautiful days we have had on the water in some time.  The winds were calm as could be and the sun was shinning allowing us to be nice and toasty in Blue's wheelhouse.  Towards the end of the day Anna and I decided that with high winds forcasted for the next four days, we would rather make tracks today and push on to Annapolis.  In hindsight, this was one of the more foolish decisions Anna and I have made in some time.  Our plan would leave us arriving in Annapolis at night.  The final two hours of our trip were a bit hair raising as we had a lightning storm form on the horizon and a number of large Freighters to contend with.  With Anna and I both keeping watch and the radar tracking six targets we finally made it into port.  Looking back on the situation, I am glad we pushed to get to Annapolis but the risk of navigating through the freighter traffic was extremely stressful.  In the future I would not advise anyone to navigate through those waters at night.  As soon as we pulled into Annapolis the heavens opened and Anna and I joked how nice it was to not have to wash the boat.  Over the next two days we enjoyed a nice visit from my old college buddy Lou and Anna's childhood friend Alissa.  What a treat it was to spend some time with them both.  Anna and I absolutely loved Annapolis, we took an afternoon to walk through the Naval College and enjoy the quaint homes and State House.  As soon as the weather cleared we pushed on up to the C & D Canal.  Once through we quickly realized that our trip was about to take a major turn.  None of the marina's are set up for dockage yet, we quickly found that finding water to fill Blue's tanks was going to be a major issue.  With temperatures still hovering around freezing during the night, many of the marinas have not yet run water on their dock or to their restrooms.  From here on out we will be making long jumps until we reach Sandy Hook.  We have decided to do something many other boaters would never try.  We will run the inside of NJ up the old ICW.  I have asked many boaters if they have done this and never met anyone that has.  Loopers usually opt to wait for good weather and run NJ on the outside off shore.  With heavy winds forcasted every day and water temperatures hovering in the low 40's Anna and I decided to give it a go.  Should be interesting to say the least.   

This was lifted out of the water in this floating dry dock. 

I tell you these new stealth ships sure look strange when docked next to the older destroyers.

Hampton Roads is a channel which runs between the two major Naval Docks in Norfolk.  Once again it is advised that you don't stray from the channel unless you want to have a conversation with a nations Navy.

Once in the Chesapeake bay we started to see sights that reminded us of home.  It has been a long time since we saw a lighthouse that looked like this.  It was a good feeling.

We have been told this tavern has the best Crab Cakes in Annapolis.  I have to tell you Anna and I really enjoyed the the crab pretzel.  A huge soft pretzel with crab dip and cheese baked on top of it.

If you go to Annapolis do yourself a favor and get breakfast or lunch at Chick and Ruth's Deli.  They say the pledge of Allegiance every morning at 8:30 and some of you might have seen them on the TV show Man Vs. Food. 

Anna and I were happy to see the Cherry Blossoms.

My Fraternity and College roommate Lou and I enjoying a fine Cigar and a beer.  Life don't get much better than this.

Alyssa and her daughter Elena.  One of the best parts of the trip is being able to reconnect with all our old friends.

Anna and I really enjoyed or walk through the Naval College.  I would have loved to have gone, that is if I had the Math scores and a congressional appointment.

What the heck is going on, it feels like it might snow.  Delaware city was the last spot we could find running water on the docks for 180 miles.

The owners of this marina are amazingly nice and it is was a great stop to get organized and some laundry done.

If you stop in Delaware City you have got to get a bite to eat at Crabby Dicks.  Anna and I stopped in and stopped in and had to buy a t-shirt.  I don't think I can ever wear it in public but man they sure had fun making funny t-shirts.

"Look at that" Anna said. "We must have made it to NJ".

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