Friday, August 20, 2010

ICW to Virginia

Thursday August 19 – Friday August 20

We have an 8 AM departure from our anchorage off the town of Manteo, on a gloomy cloudy day calling for an 80% chance of rain. Traveling north around the tip of Roanoke Island seeing the stately homes whose driveways we crossed over on our bike path travels. From Roanoke Sound we enter Albemarle Sound, for 12 miles where we then enter the North River. We will be taking the ICW path also known as the Virginia Cut, aka Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal connecting the Chesapeake Bay with the coastal waters of North Carolina. By 2 we reach the “town” of Coinjock, after scraping our antenna on the 65' bridge, and with only one little 15 minute shower. This is considered a mid way stopping point between Norfolk & NC, at the time we can not imagine why as it is only 2 PM and we have plenty of time to go further. We top off the gas tanks with 65 gallons of fuel and are on our way. There are NOT a lot of places to stop along the next leg of the trip, but we are pretty sure we can make it to the Great Bridge where there is free docking available for overnight. We press on up through Coinjock Bay into Currituck Sound and then to the North Landing River where around 4:30 we cross over to Virginia curving our way north. Passing a swing bridge that we only had to wait 5 minutes for the opening on the ½ hour, and another 65' bridge with no problem then another swing bridge that opens on demand. By 7:15 we are in the straight away of the ICW that was carved out to connect the North Landing River to the Southern Branch Elizabeth River, reaching the dock south of Great Bridge, tied off at 7:45 as the sun is setting. A long 12 hour day but we covered a lot of ground, as now we are just 12 miles south of Norfolk. Friday morning we are not in a big rush as we only have to go 12 miles. But we have bridges and a lock to navigate, so we catch the 10 AM opening of the Great Bridge. As soon as we are through we have to tie up on the other side as there is a huge tow southbound who has entered the lock and is waiting on the 11 am bridge opening. He comes out of the lock and under the bridge and we head for the lock, pass out the south end into the Southern Branch Elizabeth River by 11:30. Around a couple of bends and we come to the Steel Bridge that will be opening at noon so we wait and talk to another southbound tow to see how to pass. Next up 65' bridge, pass with NO scraping, very noisy as we pass under as it is also a bascule bridge that can open with 24 hour notice. We are now in a very industrial part of the river, feels & looks like we are traveling up the Houston Ship Channel. Next up a RR bridge that is open only closes when a train is coming and another bascule bridge that sees us coming so opens for us. Another RR lifting bridge that is open next bridge has been removed then one last RR lifting bridge that just came down for 15 minutes to clear debris off the track. We just drift in idle until the bridge goes back up and we pass under and into the Elizabeth River with Norfolk up ahead on our right and Portsmouth up ahead on our left. We are anchored just north of Olde Towne Portsmouth and right across the river from waterside marina in downtown Norfolk by 1:30. With all the bridge navigating this 3 ½ hour day feels almost as long as Thursdays 12 hour day.

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