Tuesday, November 17, 2015

10,000 Nautical Miles

We are tied up at our old stand-by, the Portsmouth ferry landing (map). Since our last visit here, they are now handing out registration cards stating a maximum stay of 36 hours when you check in at the visitor center. That makes for a reasonable two-night stay; on this pass we only have time for one.

New registration cards. Date and time figuring is not their strong suit.

We finally left the Potomac River Sunday morning, making it over a full month that we'd been in the river. We spent Saturday night at Olverson's; I went to check out Saturday afternoon, figuring to anchor for the nick in the Yeocomico, but owner Fred Olverson offered us a final night on the house, and with temperatures dropping into the 30s we took him up on it to have the heat running. That made for an early start Sunday from the dock.

About two hours out, while we were still in the Potomac, we crossed our 10,000 nautical mile mark. If we had a production boat, we'd get a pennant to fly to commemorate this achievement; instead I reset our odometer. Regular readers may remember I swapped radar units back in September, and the odometer has essentially been wrong since then, with a note in the log book to add 8,866 miles to all readings. Resetting the odometer when it read 1,134 means we can now just add 10k to the reading to know our actual mileage, making the mental arithmetic trivial.

Sunset over Stove Point on the Piankatank.

It was a calm and beautiful day on the river and the bay, and Sunday evening found us in the Piankatank River at a familiar spot just outside of Jackson Creek (map), a place all too familiar to us from nearly five months of yard work there. Still, it is one of the few anchorages available before the final leg to Hampton Roads.

USNS Lewis B. Puller, the first of its kind, under way from the navy yard.

Yesterday we made that final run, leaving the Chesapeake behind us for the season. As we steadily approached Thimble Shoals and the entrance to Naval Station Norfolk, the radio chatter to, from, and concerning warships increased. Having been through here several times now, this is nothing new, but the amount and animation of the naval traffic seemed much higher to us on this visit. Methinks the navy is on high alert after the Paris attacks, and they are sortieing as many vessels as they can.

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, with, uncharacteristically in the yard, a couple of jets aboard.

Arriving here on a Monday aced us out of dinner at the Town Point Club across the river, so instead we walked to one of our local favorites, Manino's, here in town. We'd love to stay another night and use more of our 36 hours, but our new-found Thanksgiving plans dictate that we keep moving along.

A pair of Arleigh Burke class cruisers, including the Arleigh Burke herself (on right).

After posting in a couple of places for suggestions, we have located a replacement battery at a very reasonable $490 (with exchange) nearby in Chesapeake, not far from our next stop at Top Rack Marina. Getting the 165-lb battery from the boat to the store and back is a bit of a challenge, so I posted a Craigslist ad for a strongback with a car to help me, and got several responses last night. We have scheduled someone to meet us at the dock today at 2pm to help with the project, and with any luck I should be back at the boat by 3ish, new battery in hand. I took the old battery out of the rack last night and moved it over toward the engine room hatch.

In just a few minutes we will shove off for the short nine-mile jaunt down to Top Rack Marina, another frequent stop for us, where will we top up our fuel at $1.93 per gallon and have a nice meal in their Amber Lantern Restaurant, which will get us free dockage and power for the night.

From here south it is a well-trodden path for us, with familiar stops and easy cruising. We're hoping to make it all the way to South Carolina before Thanksgiving; while the invitation was extended by Louise' cousin in Raleigh, dinner is in Waxhaw, near Charlotte, at their son's house, and it's actually a shorter drive form us from Myrtle Beach or Charleston than from Morehead City.

Update: We are tied up at Top Rack Marina in Chesapeake, Virginia (map). We got under way before I had all the photos loaded, and by the time I managed to get finished enough to post, we were here and I had to focus on fueling. We took on 750 gallons, all we could fit without swamping the stern, at $1.93 per gallon. The battery is on the dock and my ride should be here in a few minutes.


  1. Hmmm. The card says 36 hours maximum stay, but the hand-written required time to check out is 72 hours after your check-in.
    Maybe the math is too complicated for government workers? The City ordinance is also a little strange because a mid-afternoon check-in would require a 3 am departure.

    1. Glad you caught that. I updated the caption. They've never been good at enforcing any of these rules, and I think the ladies in the visitor center (same staff each time we've visited) have the "three days" from the main rule sheet stuck in their heads (you are allowed three days each month). But, yes, 36 hours is a very odd allowance; 42 would be more reasonable, allowing for two evenings/nights and a departure in the morning.

  2. Sean,
    Welcome back to New Bern (we won't blame these monsoon rains on you)! I'm sorry it had to be under break-down conditions. If there is anything I can do to assist while you are here, please feel free to ask, I'm 10 minutes away.
    Goldwing Jay

    1. Thanks, Jay. We'll see how it goes...


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