Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 258    Waterside Marina,
Norfolk, VA      MM   0.0
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

 Goofin Off says goodbye

Goofin Off leaves Norfolk

Naval repair shipyard across the river from Dream Catcher

We worked around the boat during the day and then enjoyed happy hour on Seamoore with Goofin Off and Jeremiah.  It was the last night with the Looper Train for Rich and Linda (Goofin Off).  They are heading out tomorrow morning for their final leg of the loop.  They will be home in Troy, New York, in a few weeks.    We are all very sad to see them leave.  We will certainly miss them.
Our farewell dinner for them was pasta with clam sauce compliments of Linda on Jeremiah.  Boy, can she cook!  It was absolutely delicious!  She also made chocolate cake for dessert.   Thanks so much to Linda for a wonderful dinner!    And a sad farewell to Goofin Off.            
Total miles:  0       Total bridges:  0        Total locks:  0

Day 257    Waterside Marina,
Norfolk, VA      MM   0.0
Monday, May 9, 2011

We were up early and walked a few blocks to D’Egg Diner for a great breakfast.  We explored a few streets, shops, and the MacArthur Center Mall.  It’s an attractive area with mostly high-end stores that include Brookstone, Harry and David, and Nordstroms. 
Norfolk's cultural icon is the mermaid.  Mermaid statues dot the downtown area as part of the 2000 "Life Celebrated Daily" campaign.   The mermaids are all designed and decorated by local artists. 
  We went back to the boat where Carlton, Rich, and Jeff were waiting for Jim.  They all took off on their bicycles for the hardware store, grocery store, bicycle shop, Walgreens, and of course, a local bar.
We invited The Looper Train and Moonstruck to happy hour on Dream Catcher.  It was crowded, but we managed to squeeze 10 people into our small aft area.  Then all of us except Doug and Judy went to Joe’s Crab Shack for a fun dinner.                 
Total miles:  0      Total bridges:  0        Total locks:  0

Day 256    Waterside Marina,
Norfolk, VA      MM   0.0
Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dream Catcher, Seamoore, and Jeremiah at Norfolk

A light rain covered the area as we left Great Bridge about 8:00.  We stopped in the Great Bridge Lock right next to a nesting wild goose and her mate, but they didn’t seem to mind the activity.  This was the first lock that we’ve encountered since the Tenn-Tom Waterway last November.   We had to wait only a few minutes for openings for each of the 2 remaining low-clearance bridges, so we arrived in Norfolk about 10:00. 
Norfolk is the second largest city in Virginia and home of the world’s largest naval base.  As we approached the city we encountered the huge seaport with aircraft carriers and battleships.  Very impressive!  The downtown area where we docked offers a beautiful setting with a small park, busy office buildings, restaurants, hotels, and tour boats. 
We were greeted at Waterside Marina by Seamoore, Goofin Off, and Jeremiah.  We spent a quiet afternoon around the boat and ate supper on board.             
Total miles:  12       Total bridges:  5        Total locks:  1

Day 255    City Dock,
Great Bridge, VA     MM   12
Saturday, May 7, 2011

 Dream Catcher at Great Bridge dock

Free dock at Great Bridge

 Anchor from 1861

Great Bridge Visitor Center under construction
Great Bridge opens on the hour and half hour

Dream Catcher docked at Great Bridge

Great Bridge gets its name from the American Revolutionary War battle of 1775.  The defeat of the British forces gave the patriots a naval base and ended the rule of the British in Virginia.  We thought that it would be interesting to tour the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterway Park and Visitor Center.  So the rest of the Looper Train continued to Norfolk, but we stopped and tied for the night at the free city dock.  We walked to the Park and Visitor Center and realized one problem – the sites have not yet been built!  The area is a construction site!  Oops.  So much for the tour book that said they were completed! 
As it turned out, we enjoyed the stop anyway.  The free dock was peaceful and the stores in the area were plentiful.  Jim got a haircut.   We went to the drug store and then to Kelly’s Bar for a cocktail.  We discovered that the Kentucky Derby was about to start.  We hurried back to the boat and called Lindsay Park Yacht Club where the annual derby party was underway.  We bought a couple of bets on the race.  Fun idea, but it didn’t pay off. 
We had dinner on board, but we were joined for a nightcap by Rick and Betsy who celebrated her birthday with dinner in town.          
Total miles:   37       Total bridges:  4        Total locks:  0

Day 254    Coinjock Marina,
Coinjock, NC      MM   49
Friday, May 6, 2011

Coinjock Marina

What a day!  The Looper Train left Alligator River Marina about 7:00 and headed out to Albemarle Sound.   It was a 3-hour plus crossing, and as we traveled the waves kept building and building.  It was not a pleasant or comfortable trip.  We were glad that we left early in the morning.  We were later told by veterans Rick and Betsy on Rick N Roll that it was the worst crossing that they have ever encountered on that sound. 
In addition to the waves, the area was littered with crab pots.  We had to watch carefully and wind our way around them.  We finally reached Coinjock Marina which consisted of a long straight wall along the ICW.  Fortunately we had reservations - the wall was full by afternoon.  The marina has a good restaurant, so we had lunch with the Looper Train and then went back again with Rick and Betsy for prime rib dinner.           
Total miles:   35       Total bridges:  1        Total locks:  0

Day 253    Alligator River Marina,
Alligator River, NC      MM   84
Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lighthouse at Alligator River Marina

 Moonstruck, Dream Catcher, Seamoore, Jeremiah, Goofin Off, Rick N Roll

Gypsea at Alligator River Marina

Linda and Jeff get ready for the Cinco de Mayo party

Our stop at Alligator River Marina turned into a mini AGLCA Rendezvous.  Along with the Looper Train, the marina was full of additional loopers including Gypsea, Rick N Roll, Summer Wind, and Once Around.  We all met for happy hour at the marina lounge.  It was packed and noisy with everyone meeting, greeting, and telling adventures.  The Looper Train adjourned to Jeremiah where we celebrated Cinco de Mayo with homemade tacos and margaritas.  Delicious!             
Total miles:   52       Total bridges:  2        Total locks:  0

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