We left Dona Pacem and R Time at Lamb’s Marina and headed through the Dismal Swamp. It runs along the highway in some places and is just wide enough for boats to go through.
This is where we experienced our first lock of the trip. It was a piece of cake! The lock master was very nice. A park ranger at DS told us she was lucky because the two guys at the locks were legends. They were super nice and very helpful! We were traveling with Vitamin Sea that day. They were right behind us.
When we ran into some kayakers they went to the very edge of the swamp hanging on to branches to stay out of our way. It was a very pretty cruising day. Lots of natural beauty. Every once in awhile we could hear our bottom hit something. Ouch! We both got to dock at the visitors center that night and had planned docktails.
A sailboat joined us a little later. Once all the traffic on the highway stopped at the rest area/visitors center it was very quiet. Before night had fallen we went to the state park portion where we had to cross a little bridge.
There were several exhibits which we went through. George Washington had his slaves dig out a portion of the Dismal Swamp. It’s very historical.
We then took the walking path around the park which was elevated and made of wood planks. It was interesting. We had our docktails and I cooked dinner.
Today was a short cruising day. Only 17.6 N Miles that took us 2.54 hours.
The next morning we got up to head into Norfolk. Another short day at only 25.7 N miles. Our second lock of the trip was at the end of the swamp. Again, e a s y! We heard a few major bumps along this section and encountered the dredge. There was a tree that had fallen and blocked part of the cannel the sailboat in front made it through but not us. The dredge had to move so we could make it past them. He wasn’t the nicest person either.
Here more photo of the passage.
We cruised into Waterside Marina around 3 pm as we had cruised around a little. Cruising into Norfolk was intimidating as all get out. All of the military ships and submarines in addition to container ships and cruise ships. You have to stay alert for sure!
The next day we got a rental car and went to Stihl to see the President of Stihl USA, Bjorn Fischer. We had a nice visit and then got an extensive tour of their facilities. It was a a good 2.5 hours. Joe enjoyed it!
After the tour we went to Costco to get some things we would need for when our friend from Kentucky, Art and Leah come in.
Day two we went to tour the USS Wisconsin. Again, Joe enjoyed it a lot. It was interesting! It was in service for 61 years. It’s last mission was part of Desert Storm.
We had divers come to check out our props after Dismal Swamp bumps. Our starboard prop was a little bent so they took it off to repair. Later in the afternoon we got much needed pedicures.
Thursday we decided to have a Derby Party on Saturday. I had decided to make burgoo, mini hot browns and a Derby Pie.
We had to go to the grocery…HARRIS teeter is awesome. A two story grocery with wine and paper/cleaning supplies on the second floor. We went to a burger joint Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint…and Avalon came in and ate with us.
On Friday we cleaned BalaHula in preparation for the Derby Party. I made the burgoo so the flavors would be better…it’s always better the next day! Then I made the pie. We had lots of visitors around our boat that day, lots of Loopers were coming in for the Rendezvous… we were the first boat at the pedestrian entrance to Waterside Marina.
Saturday was the big day, Derby Day. Many Kentuckians begin partying Monday before the big race. Belle of Louisville boat race, the hot air balloon race the weekend before actually, Thunder Over Louisville, Thurby and Oaks Day. If you grew up around all of this, you sure do miss it. We made the most of it living on a boat and being in Norfolk Virginia.
‘Sunday it rained so Joe and I went to the Douglas MacArthur Museum. I am Museumed out! Joe spent much more time there then I did. It was a very detailed museum. They covered ever detail of his long storied life.
For the next 5 days we were in seminars about The Great Loop. We met lots of nice people. This is when we met Brian and Michelle. They were with Jim and Jackie in Tidewater Marina across the River from Waterside. They also had several looper crawls. You sign up your boat and the potential loopers and current loopers could tour your boat. I didn’t want to do it, however unbeknownst to me Joe signed us up. I was not happy and told him to take our name off the list or else you clean the boat for all those people. He did the majority of the work. There were quite a few people that came through. To say the least, I was glad when that was over. Tuesday night we had no function to go to so I made reservations at Byrd and Baldwin per Bjorn Fischer’s recommendation. Jeff from R Time and Karl and Mackie from Endorphin Voyager went with us. It was delicious! Below is a picture of a group of us that went to an Irish Pib for dinner. Fun night! It seems as though there are lots of nights that involve alcohol and food.