Much to the Captains delight (and, probably, surprise) we left the slip at Tidewater Yacht spot on 7:30 on Thursday and headed south on the Elizabeth River. For those of you who have not been on this stretch of water it is an amazing site. Super industrial, you are likely to see aircraft carriers in dry dock (and your thought they were large in the water), maybe a submarine or two and just every kind of marine business, barge and container ship. All of them much larger than we are. And oh the bridges. It is about 50 miles from Norfolk to Coinjock but the number of bridges you have to time just right makes the trip seem a lot longer. However, things are improving. The Gilmerton Bridge has been replaced with a tall fixed bridge and there are working on a fixed bridge to replace the Steel Bridge. Once that is done, it should be a clear shot from Norfolk to the Great Bridge lock.
There were two other interesting things from where I sit. First, I know that this area is one of the busiest ports in the US. But it never seems to be all that busy. I think the the work gets dwarfed by the sheer size if the place. But to see the hundreds of millions of dollars (billions?) in infrastructure sitting there and not moving is just weird to me. And second, it is crazy how fast the area goes from industrial to remote nature. Just past the last business dock the land goes pure natural, just like it has been for hundreds of years. And so once out of the industrial zone the rest of the trip to Coinjock is a slow ride through some awfully pretty river countryside.
This leg of the trip is also the first taste of open water and working to stay in the channel. As we came out into the North River the water opens up to be several miles wide at points, but the defined channel is pretty narrow. Or so it felt to me trying to steer to stay in it. The channel may have 10-12 feet of water, but just outside it, and through the rest of the North River, there may be only 3 to 4 feet. Paying attention paid off and we made a successful run to Coinjock and a grand prime rib dinner at the Coinjock Marina. The prime rib is worth the trip, even if you have to come here on land. And so the day ends, fat and happy, with a night cap and cigar on the top deck.
Next stop, Manteo.