So, the next morning we again left before the sun for the shorter trip to Hampton. The early departure would allow us to avoid the predicted afternoon thunderstorms. We would also arrive a day earlier than expected, on Oct. 17th, which happened to be Cathy’s 50th birthday.
It was another light-wind day, which made it as uneventful as the day before, until we neared the Norfolk area. The commercial and Naval activity picked up as Navy ships were lining up to come into port amidst the large tankers and even the schooner Virginiatrying to make way in the light winds.
Via the Waterway Net and Cruiseheimers, we were following the progress of Pat and Fred on Marianna and Skip and Cherylle on Eleanor M, who left Massachusetts Oct 13/14 to head south. We had agreed to meet Marianna in Hampton. To our surprise, the weather gave them a break and they made it to Hampton in record time, arriving early Tuesday morning Oct. 22nd. We took a break from our construction projects at our daughter’s house and came back to Hampton to welcome them and show them a few sites -- like Cold Stone Creamery and Krispy Kreme. They returned the favor by helping us return our car on Sunday, following us to our son’s house in Skippers, VA and taking us back to Hampton. Since we had been so busy with our kids while we had a car, they helped us do the rounds of shopping to re-provision Orion before returning their rental car on Monday morning.
We also managed to enjoy lunch at our 2nd McDonald’s in as many days, where Fred made a new friend. Dinner was a little more upscale, as we managed to eat piles of seafood at Captain George’s in Virgina Beach.
On the Saturday before we left, we brought our grandson to the boat so he could participate in downtown Hampton’s Halloween celebration. It started in the Virginia Air and Space Center with 2 hours of trick or treating and activities and then moved to the area businesses which were participating as well. The evening ended at the First UMC, where they had a party, dinner and a fun haunted house, that Droz had to visit multiple times. It was a great time. There was one dark event that evening as we had a ninja attack on Orion, which we documented for insurance purposes.
We spent some of the time in Hampton taking care of on-going boat projects. While Dave equalized the batteries, Cathy refinished the swim platform. Just before leaving, we had a diver clean the bottom and change the zinc. Fred also helped Dave replace the new RACOR fuel filter, a much simpler job than with the previous filter assembly, and the on-engine Yanmar fuel filter. After running the engine under load, we assured ourselves that no air had entered the line and that it would not stall when we got underway the next day.
Or so we thought.
One of our bigger investments for this year was the purchase of a Viking Life Raft. We chose model RescYou 4-person. It comes in a soft-sided valise that fits nicely in our cockpit locker. At about 65 lbs, we can both lift it to toss overboard. The only thing that it lacks to enable it to be certified by the off-shore racing association is an inflated step. It seems to be a good quality raft for the money invested.
Goin’ to Carolina . . .
We arrived in Great Bridge after the 12:30pm lock opening and were amazed to see the free dock virtually empty. We tied up along with 2 other sailboats from the lock and proceeded to fill up the dock. We were thrilled with our good luck – something that we didn’t enjoy last year. (We also learned that we were fortunate to have the bridges and lock behind us, since the early morning fog the next day bunched up 40 boats in the canal, forcing some to wait an extra hour for a second lock opening. Ouch!)