Traveling to Norfolk Virginia

Sunday morning at 10:00 we found out the water was down, bridge was open, and wind speed was low so,” Ya” we can travel, along with every boat in Coinjock Marina.

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It was like a race to see which boat could leave first, because everybody was ready to leave after being at Coinjock Marina for four days.   We are traveling on the Coinjock Bay in North Carolina and it’s nearby to Long Point and Mate Island and Barco.   The water is smooth which is a change from what we have been navigating in.  We have to watch out for crab pots.   I wish they were all hot pink instead of white and black.

We are now in the North Landing River which winds its way from the urban settings of Hampton Roads down through tree-lined wetlands into North Carolina’s Currituck Sound.  The river has extensive marshes around it with several small tributary streams particularly along the western shore.

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Currituck sound is generally placid but the sound can develop an unpleasant chop.  There is little tide, but strong winds can affect water levels and create still currents.  We were lucky the waves were minimal and coming straight at us.  Currituck Sound is a protected inlet of the Atlantic Ocean located in northeastern part of North Carolina and extreme southeastern Virginia.  Some call the sound nature lovers playground offering ample access to wide open spaces of shallow, easy to navigate open water, dense thickets of maritime forest and small , marshy islands that are covered in wildlife.

We are now in Virginia we crossed the border at mile marker 34 and we will be entering the Virgina Cut.  The cut is narrow in some areas making it almost impossible for three vessels to pass through at once.  We had to be mindful of other vessels, and barges and tugs which also use the cut.

There use to be and old swing bridge at Pungo Ferry which has been removed and a new high-rise bridge replaced it.  This barge is called the Island Express and there was not a lot of room when we passed him.

The Virginia cut is narrow and beautiful with trees that line both sides of the cut.  We now have three bridges to go through that open on the hr. and half hr. with the last one opening only on the hr.

The first bridge is a 65-year-old dual span swing bridge called North Landing Bridge which spans the Atlantic Coastal Waterway between Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach, Virginia.  We only had to wait about 15 minutes till it opened.

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This is the Centerville Turnpike Bridge its a single swing span two lane bridge that was constructed in 1955.  The bridge is located on Centerville Turnpike north of Mount Pleasant Road that crosses the AICW.  We had to get right through this bridge in order to make the Great Bridge and the lock, which only opens on the hr. and we did.

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This is a picture of the Albemarle Chesapeake Canal it was beautiful.

The Great Bridge name is derived from the American Revolutionary War Battle of Great Bridge which took place on December 9, 1775 and resulted in the final removal of British government from the Colony and Dominion of Virginia.  Once your through the bridge you almost immediately go into the Great Bridge lock at Chesapeake Virginia, it’s the only lock in the Virgina cut route of the ICW.  This lock was different from any I had been in I  needed to have lines ready on our boat to give to the lock masters and they tied us off.  You want to tie up on the port (left) side as the wall was really padded no fenders were needed and we had a two ft lift.

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The South Branch Elizabeth River is a 14.5 mile long primarily tidal river in Virginia.  It flows from south to north through the city of Chesapeake and forms the boundary between the cities of Portsmouth and Chesapeake for its northernmost 3 miles.  It is part of the ICW of the Atlantic coast connecting it to the North Landing River, which flows into North Carolina.  The bridge is called the Norfolk Southern #7 Railroad bridge.

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This is called the Norfolk & Western lift also know as the Old Virginia Railroad Bridge.

We are now in what is called the South Branch Elizabeth River and also the Chesapeake.

We are docked at the Waterside Marina in Norfolk Virginia.  Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia making it the second most populous city in Virginia, behind neighboring Virginia Beach.  Norfolk is bordered to the west by the Elizabeth River and to the north by the Chesapeake Bay.   The city has a long history as a strategic military and transportation point.  The largest navy base in the world Naval Station Norfolk is located in Norfolk, and its the corporate headquarters of Norfolk Southern Railway.  Portsmouth across the river from Norfolk is home to the nations oldest naval shipyards.  Portsmouth is located on the world’s largest and deepest natural harbor and is located at the Zero mile marker on the ICW,  the midway point between Miami and Maine.  The first ferry service in America was established on the Elizabeth River between Portsmouth and Norfolk in 1636.  The first dry docking in American occurred in 1833 at the Gosport Navy Yard in Portsmouth, now called the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.  The dry dock is still in use today.

We found out that everything is closed on Mondays so we couldn’t see the Nautilus featuring the battleship Wisconsin.

 This is Liz and I having fun with the mermaid.

We did take the Elizabeth River Ferry a passenger paddle wheel from Waterside Marina Norfolk across to Olde Towne Portsmouth for lunch and some sight-seeing.

We had lunch at Rodger  Browns Sports Bar the food was good

Here are just a few of the historical buildings we saw.  The Courthouse was built-in 1846. This is the Commodore Theater opened in 1945 and was considered the best equipped theater in Hampton Roads.  It has been meticulously restored and today again operates as a movie theater.

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Colonel Demsey Watts built this house in 1799.  It was originally constructed on a hill between Dinwiddie and Washington street.  The house was moved to its present location in 1808.  Congressman Henry Clay, Chief Black Hawk and President Andrew Jackson have all been entertained here.

There were several churches but I thought the St.Pauls Catholic Church was outstanding it was built-in 1897 to replace an earlier wooden church that burned in 1896.  St Paul features many fine stone carvings.  This is the St. John’s Episcopal Church built 1896.

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The Fresnel Lens having begun service in 1896 as part of the Hog Island light off the Great Machipongo Inlet on the Eastern Shore, today this first order Fresnel Lens is valued between $750,000 and $1 million.  It stand about 10 feet high, weighs 2,5000 pounds and is among the largest and brightest of its kind, with more than 250 prisms of optical glass.  Housed in a 16 foot wide pavilion this lens is the only one displayed outside of a museum setting.

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United States lightship 101 known as Portsmouth was first stationed at Cape Charles Virgina.  Today she is at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  Lightship Portsmouth was built-in 1915 and served as Charles in the Chesapeake Bay outside Cape Charles Virginia from 1916 until 1924.  She was moved to Overfalls, Delaware and stationed from 1926 to 1951.  During World War II the vessels was not armed, however many other lightships were.  In 1951 was reassigned to Stonehores Shoal, Massachusetts where she served until decommissioned on 1963.  Then in 1964 was donated to the city of Portsmouth Virginia.

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This has become my new drink.  I have to keep up with my kids.

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This was our beautiful sunset after a great day with friends and docktails.  Life is great and we will be heading out on Chesapeake Bay early Tuesday morning.  We are hopping to beat the wind and waves.

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