November 6th and 7th, 2013
Anchored outside Willoughby Bay Marina in Norfolk, VA
36° 57.77′ N, 76° 17.56′ W
Thankfully Sinbad was able to take over the helm again at the tail end of our trip, after about 40 hours of manual piloting through those gale-like swells. Needless to say we were over come with relief. Around midday on the 6th we entered Chesapeake Bay, which if you have never been there, is so much larger than one from landlocked Colorado could even imagine. It took us almost 4 hours from the “mouth” of the Bay to our selected Willoughby Bay Marina just south of the entrance (it was the closest place we could find a sailmaker to repair our sail). During that motoring ride we had to clear out of several large container ships’ way (those things are huge!), as well as avoid the colossal navy hovercrafts that came humming outrageously past us (see picture below). The Bay is a very vibrant place: busy with lively Coast Guard authorities, a fullswing navy base (with constant training going on next to, above, and around us), one of the largest shipping ports in the country, and a more than modest amount of $250,000+ fancy sailing vessels. We had to keep our eyes peeled to stay out of everyone’s way while listening to the bigger ships boss the little ones around on Channel 16 radio.
Once finally inside the Willoughby Marina, we had a little snafu with the deteriorating slips. We aimed for one docking space, only to find that one of the posts had actually rotted away, fallen over into the water, and left an intimidating obstacle covered in barnacles to threaten our keel. We had to back up and start over further down the lane. After learning how to properly secure ourselves to a dock, we hastened to wash down Sedna who was positively covered in sticky salt residue. The rest of the evening and most of the next day consisted of cleaning, organizing, investigating, and restoring every inch of our floating home. Captain insists that she stays shipshape at every opportunity!
The convenient, but expensive dock at Willoughby Marina
That evening, once we had collected our beautifully patched up old sail and had speedily moved from the dock to an anchorage outside the marina (since to our surprise our one night there had cost a whole $48 bucks!), we invited our new friend, Dave, over for the evening and kicked back. Enjoying conversation, many beers, and studio outtakes of the Beetles, we passed a calm and pleasant evening together. As Friday was forecasted to bring a small cold front our way, we spent most of Thursday taking it easy, regrouping, showering, walking the Willoughby Spit in search of stronger Wifi, and filling our brains with weather and nav information. A special thank you to Dave Wilbar for sharing so many laughs with us, and for opening your home to us for showers, coffee, and the Weather Channel. =) We hope your kindness is repaid to you on your future adventure!
Now it is Friday morning, about 9:30am, the cold front has passed, the sun is out, and the crew is eager to get back on the move. Our next plan is to sail back out of Chesapeake Bay and head south to Cape Lookout, North Carolina where we’ll pause and regroup again. We’re happy, healthy, well fed and ready to go back out to the swells! Though hopefully not to the same size as the previous ones…