Winds today, 10/10/19, were forecasted to be a couple miles per hour less and they were laid down a lot first thing this morning and of course also once in the ICW. Grey and drizzly and chilly- very chilly day. I left my slip and proceeded 500’ south to the pump out station – had been nursing the holding tank for a few days. Then I finally left Hampton Public Pier. It’s a very nice marina and staff but the day after day delays were wearing a bit thin. As of my leaving, the Alligator River Bridge was still not operable (see prior post).
It’s nice having a group member waiting at the Alligator River Marina who can walk over to the bridge and get the latest skinny from the bridge tender and the engineers. Apparently Dorian knocked out the primary system for swinging the bridge and while a new primary was being built they were using a backup which is what then failed last week. A repair that was attempted yesterday failed. In addition the bolts that secure the bridge motor have come loose from the concrete so they’ve had to epoxy them back in and wait for it to dry. The report this evening is that a test opening around 5 pm this evening worked and they let a barge and some pleasure boats through. There will be two scheduled openings first thing in the morning. The brand new primary system will arrive tonight and tomorrow after the two openings they will start installing the new while still being able to open via the backup. So it looks like by the time I get there Saturday, bridge and marinas should resemble ‘normal’.
So back to today’s short trip. Though the wind was lighter this morning, the ride across the large harbor from Hampton to Norfolk and then to the protected ICW mouth was more rolly than expected, but easily handle able. Due to the very damp chilly weather, I decided to run the boat from the lower station. Up to this time, I probably have piloted from there for less than a half hour total. Apparently my Pilothouse chartplotter was not happy with me working at that station. Throughout the entire run out of the Hampton harbor and partway then to Norfolk, the charts were shown in an incorrect orientation and with the boat icon going sideways. Disconcerting! Had the AquaMaps app on the iPad keeping things together for me. Finally my chartplotter turned itself off and then 30 seconds later blinked back on and all was again well with it. For $5k, you’d think that plotter could work 100% of the time!
It was certainly different running from the lower station. A little more difficult seeing over the bow – I wouldn’t want to run through a whole lot of crab pots from down there. Visibility directly behind is also less because half of the interior of the boat is in the way. So I got used to putting the rear camera image up on the chartplotter from time to time to see what, if anything, was behind me. I also did a lock from there and two dockings (this evening’s docking plus a fuel – 460 gal – stop and I found that easier to judge the closeness of the boat rail to the dock. Oh, and it was really nice to have the heat on and no drizzle.
The ride through the immense Norfolk waterfront was again spectacular though once again not the best weather. So many warships! Unbelievable! And I saw two destroyers in drydock. These huge ships not in the water was an unreal sight to me. Maneuvering was too tight for me to comfortably take a pic🙁.