Thursday, May 9, 2013
Posted by Sean
We are at the Waterside Marina, right in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. We're here because this is the host marina for the annual spring rendezvous of the America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association, which has been going on all week. We are not members of this group, so are not participating in their rendezvous, but we have many friends who are, and as long as we were passing right by, we wanted to get in some nice visits.
One of the vendors exhibiting at this rendezvous is also none other than Deltaville Boatyard, which is where we are headed for yard work. Deltaville principal Keith Ruse, who is staying right next door here at the conference hotel, will be joining us for the last 50-mile leg from here to the yard, to observe first-hand some of the issues with the boat, and that was another factor in favor of staying at this marina.
I say all this because, absent our friends being here for the show and wanting to get an early start tomorrow morning with Keith, we'd be staying across the harbor in Portsmouth, where there is actually a free city dock, just a $1.70 ferry ride away from here. In fact, the ferry landing is so close we can see them coming and going all day. The free dock is posted as no mooring between midnight and 6am, but it is well known in the cruising community that it is only enforced if there is a problem, or a festival in town, and the city allows stays of two or three nights on the theory that you are spending money there.
We'll save the free dock, as well as some reciprocal dockage at a nearby yacht club, for our next visit. We would linger in the area a few more days after our friends leave, were it not for the fact that we need to get Keith back to Deltaville. That also means we will do the 50-mile segment in just a single day, bypassing any interesting spots along the way, and making for one of our longest cruising days so far, at an estimated 7-8 hours under way. We'll be shoving off tomorrow at 8am for that reason, although I suspect we might have to wait our turn to get out, as most of the rendezvous attendees will also be clearing out in the morning, and the marina is packed to the gills.
Other than a couple of hours each afternoon, when our friends and many of the other event attendees have been wandering the docks visiting on boats, including ours, we've had time to ourselves here to catch up on things. I've been placing Internet orders for parts and materials to be delivered to Deltaville, we cleaned up the boat quite a bit, and we've been making arrangements to prepare for our weeks-long stay in Virginia.
Those arrangements include getting the bus to Deltaville, which has turned into an adventure in itself. I will be flying to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, leaving from Richmond. That's because, some time ago, I made arrangements to buy a nice tender, complete with trailer, from my friend Steve, who lives there. We had tried to connect while we were still in Savannah and Hilton Head, but schedules did not work out. But the further the bus gets from where it is now, in Hilton Head, the harder it will be to go fetch that tender.
So after several hours of Internet searching, including a brief experimentation with uShip (of "Shipping Wars" television fame), I finally came up with a plan to rent a one-way truck in Fort Lauderdale to haul the trailer to Hilton Head. Driving the bus round trip would cost me about $750, and the truck rental will be $560 plus fuel. That's about a wash, but saves me ten hours of driving and another full day away from the boatyard.
I pick up the truck, a 10' box van, Monday morning and I should be in Hilton Head by the end of the day, with a stop along the way near Savannah to pick up a spare anchor and some other parts for the boat. Tuesday I will get the boat hitched up to Odyssey and return the truck, and, if all goes well, I should be somewhere near Richmond Tuesday evening and back in Deltaville on Wednesday. Louise will stay with the boat and the cats while I am away, and I've asked the yard not to start any work other than inspections until I get back.
Assuming the weather cooperates and we make the trip to Deltaville tomorrow as planned, we'll have a full day Saturday to get the boat squared away and for me to get packed and ready for my whirlwind trip. Without my trusty navigator along, I will need to pre-plan my stops for fuel, meals, and overnights before departure, so I can keep my eyes on the road. Fortunately, this stretch of highway is now extremely familiar to us, and we have a list of good overnight stops with nearby restaurants. Hauling a trailer will be a new experience in the bus, but I am planning an itinerary that will not involve any backing up.
Tonight we will have a nice dinner at the Town Point Club nearby; on our previous visit there I had mused that we would come back here some day in the boat. We've already enjoyed one of the restaurants on Granby Street, walked over to the enormous MacArthur Mall, and Louise had her haircut at a chi-chi salon. There is a good deal more to explore here in Norfolk, so we will most certainly be coming back.