Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Norfolk Va to Wash DC

We are anchored in the Washington Channel within sight of the Washington monument.  The trip here from Norfolk Va has been a long one.  My impression of the trip will always be, motor, motor, motor.  We only sailed for about 5 hours the whole three days.  We have not motored this much since going up the Malacca Straits to Langawi in Malaysia.  We had wind and current against us for most of the trip. In other circumstances it could be pleasant, if you had time.  I  have a self imposed deadline for the trip.  I really want to be in Sydney, NS for Canada Day to spend it with our daughter and her family. So that means that we do not wait for the wind to turn in our favour but just go, I guess I shouldn't complain then.  We have met our goal we are here!!

This house was called the Pass House because in the civil war civilians had to come here to get permission to move about, note the two story attached servants quarters at the back.
Norfolk Va was a lovely spot.  We wandered around the area taking in the sights. There is a wonderful historic area in the town as well as a wealth of Naval type museums. We saw a cenotaph which said To Our Confederate Dead, we walked around the other side of the monument to see if it said To Our Union Dead on the other side, but no chance, Norfolk and Portsmouth, on the opposite side of the river definitely sided with the south.  We visited the Gen. Douglas MacArthur memorial museum and it was very well done and I really enjoyed learning more about that famous soldier.  Barry went to a naval museum and was taken with the lighthouse ship.

Instead of a stationary lighthouse this ship was anchored off of spots where lighthouses could not be built and the keepers as well as a rescue crew lived aboard and helped vessels in distress.  I am not sure that I could sleep in these bunks, claustrophobia rears it's ugly head.  I guess one positive thing would be if it was rough and a particularly bad wave hit you would not have far to go in the vertical direction!
Norfolk is a naval town and has a great tradition of ship building that carries on today.
Can you imagine this coming at you when you are at sea, yikes!

This one is just being built, note the conning tower shrouded wrapped up to protect it or keep it secret. 

This was the museum the USS Wisconsin 

We saw aircraft carriers, battle ships and destroyers in various stages.  Some were still being built, others seemed to be mothballed, and there was even one that had been made into a museum.  There were naval police boats patrolling the harbour so I was very discreet about my photography. Do you think Big Brother is monitoring my blog on this side of the world??
On our trip down Chesapeake Bay and up the Potomac we saw some very interesting lights. When I saw this in the distance, at first I thought it might be a very square looking tanker, as it materialized both Barry and I marvelled at it's construction.  Most of the bay and it's tributaries are very shallow so this light was located in about 4 meters or less of water. Imagine being the light keeper here!  You wouldn't even be able to get down and walk around, my goodness, I would go stir crazy!
Enlarge the pic and look carefully by the strut and you will see the staircase. 
We went under some pretty spectacular bridges,if you look closely at the first shot you can see the staircase built into this one, I figure it would be great fun to climb around there.
Did I mention the crab pots?  They were everywhere, well I guess that is an exaggeration, if you stayed in the middle of the channel, going miles off the rhumb line you might not get to experience the crab pot dance.  The fishermen lay the pots down in a somewhat straight line.  Sometimes if we got in between two lines we could go for miles without dodging, but inevitably we were crossing lines so we had to keep a very sharp watch and at times swerve the boat back and forth like a person doing the samba. We had long days, starting before sun up and ending late in the day and at these times when we were going in and out of anchoring spots the pots were everywhere and they were extremely hard to see.  I am glad we are here, and get to have a rest from the ever vigilante watch we have been keeping.  We plan to stay here for approx. a week seeing the sights, then we will make our way back down the Potomac and instead of backtracking to the entrance of the Chesapeake like we
had planned we will (most likely) motor up the Delaware River, past Baltimore to the mouth of river and then it will only be about 100 nm to NYC. Shortly we are off to do a tour of the sights on a bus where you can get on and off all day.  We figure that will be a good way to get an overview and then we can go back and spend more time at the places that we are really interested in. 
                                              Sunrise on the Chesapeake