It has taken us three weeks to reach Norfolk, VA and the start of the Intra Coastal Waterway, a.k.a. The ICW and “the ditch.” This partially man-made canal goes from Norfolk to Florida and lets people like us avoid sailing “outside” the banks, where the weather is nasty this time of year. Some of it is very narrow and shallow, criss-crossed by bridges and rail road tracks, while other parts of it are very urban/industrial, and other parts are national wildlife refuges with migrating birds and swampy marshes. All the fixed bridges are made to let boats with masts up to 65’ pass under, and some of the bridges are swing or bascule bridges that open at set times. There is some commercial traffic, mostly tugs and barges, along with a smattering of fishing boats. This is the 4th time we have done this together, and we always enjoy the passage even though at times it feels like driving down the highway. Pleasure boats are only allowed to move in the daylight, which is fine because there are often tree stumps and logs in the narrow parts that you would not want to hit. Most of it is shallow, around 12 feet, but sometimes less. The key is to leave each morning at first light and go as fast as possible all day in order to reach a suitable place to spend the night. For most people, including us, the first stop after Norfolk is Coinjock, where we arrived last night to find five other boats.
one of ten bridges we passed under on the first day.
we joined one other sailboat and a small tug boat to go through this lock. The water only dropped one foot.
for many miles the scenery looks like this.
The channel is marked by a series of numbered red and green markers, the red ones mark the right side of the channel and the green ones mark the left side. Most of them have osprey nests built on them but the ospreys have all flown to Cuba and the Caribbean for the winter.
If only we had some LEGOs onboard, this would be fun to build!
Here are some of the gifts from friends and family - we have you with us,
Here’s another collage of gifts......there are a few more that have been stowed in such a way that we won’t see them for weeks....and there are some missing because we already ate the cornbread from Ellen that Beth made, and we had the Chardonnay from Bobbie while in Mystic. Thanks for being with us!
Our cabin is really cozy with our advent calendar.....in a few days we will put up our tree!
We are expecting some nasty weather tomorrow, December 9th. Winds from the NE, 25-35 knots and rain. Sounds like a good day to stay put at the Alligator River Marina and read, knit, make bread, tidy up, and make rice pudding. If we are lucky, we will take a walk.....we saw a sign tonight that said “red wolf crossing next ten miles”.