South Branch Elizabeth River to Norfolk (Apr 29)

As we pulled out of the Atlantic Yacht Basin, we lined up waiting for our first bridge, which was only yards from the marina and only opens on the hour.

    

We waited with “Knot Grounded”, “Phantom”, and “Blue Ayes”

    

We followed “Rejoice” through the first lock of the day.  Ron and I have been through over 30 locks since we started our Loop, but this was the first ever for Rick and Deedy.  They had a perfect first locking through!

    

We watched the geese in the park as we locked through…..this was only about a two to three foot lock.

    

As we traveled up river we noticed the water had turned to almost black.  We also saw this school bus hanging off of what looked like a washed out bridge – also notice the car piled up on the back of the bus.  We’re thinking these are victims of a hurricane.

   

The Elizabeth River brought us to Mile Zero – the “official” beginning of the ICW – at Norfolk, Virginia – also the home of the world’s largest naval base.  We saw evidence of that as the scenery changed from juniper and cypress trees to aircraft carriers, destroyers, support ships, amphibious assault ships and nuclear submarines.  Even NATO has headquarters in the area.  No vessel may approach closer than 100 yards of any U.S. Navy vessel. We were on guard here as patrol boats were in abundance!

        

If you’ve noticed, we have been marina hopping lately – traveling every day.  After a fun-filled winter in Texas and Florida, dawdling around here and there, relaxing and taking it all in, all of the sudden we realized we had to be in Norfolk, Virginia for Spring Rendezvous.  We know not to make a schedule but this Rendezvous thing is important!  Loopers meet in the Fall and the Spring at the Rendezvous for seminars, meals, Looper crawls and that famous Looper camaraderie.

This Rendezvous is in Norfolk, Virginia at the Waterside Marina.  The agenda includes detailed seminars about the Great Loop route taking you from Norfolk to the Tennessee River (the site of the Fall Rendezvous).  It covers information on various topics such as “Locking Through”, “Handling Emergencies Aboard”, etc.  The agenda also includes the famous “Looper Crawls” during which you can explore the Looper boats in the marina.  We included Kara Mia in the Looper Crawl and had many visitors join us.

    

Entering Waterside was a challenge in the wind but even worse was the loud music.  The band playing at The Waterside was LOUD!  As several of us had arrived together, the dock-hands were trying to get us all in without hitting each other.  The winds were high – the slips were narrow.  We could not hear the dock-hand’s instructions, they could not hear us, the captains could not hear the first-mates and vise versa…..

We secured Kara Mia in her slip and joined Rick and Deedy on their boat.  They wanted to introduce us to their friends Steve and Jane aboard Sabbatical.

Afterwards we walked around the downtown area of Norfolk looking for the perfect place for dinner.

    

After several stops from the alleys to the rooftops, we finally settled on Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse in the Waterside District Market, which is an open pavilion walk-around food court setting.  Guy Fieri is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, author and TV personality.  Ron had meatloaf, Karen had a turkey burger, and our waiter surprised us with his “selfie”…..

                

After dinner, we found a large-screen TV in the Market where we ran into other Loopers and watched the Predators game.  PREDATORS WON!

    

    

……was a very full day!

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