Passage to Coinjock #34

I forgot to mention that while we were anchored in Willoughby Bay yesterday, Ralph changed the oil again. This must be done every 100 engine hours. We have been motoring a lot.

At dawn we left Norfolk headed down the Elizabeth River, part of the ICW. The River started out looking much like the Ship Channel in Houston. Lots of Industry along the way.


Stephen enjoyed a turn at the helm.

Capt. Ralph took a little time to fix a problem with the steering linkage. Lucky for us Capt. Ralph brings along his magic jar of parts. He's certainly handy to have around. He always has a fix for anything that goes wrong. We certainly did the right thing hiring he and Arene to deliver our boat.


We are taking the ICW to Coinjock, NC today, home of the 32 oz prime rib. We've already made our reservations for dinner tonight. By Tuesday we will arrive at Morehead, NC where we will meet up with the parts to repair the front Cross beam.

Along the Elizabeth River they build and fix large boats. There were also many loading docks for ships and barges. We saw a cruise ship dock and lots of cranes.


Arlene cooked us sausage and eggs for breakfast.

We passed a railroad lift bridge and went under the Jordan Bridge, 147 feet high.

The gold triangles mean we are on the ICW and mark aids to navigation (atons) to be taken as “red.” There are places where channels coming in from the sea (red buoys on right when returning from sea) share the same path as the ICW going south, but in opposite directions. Since The ICW going south is “red right” this creates a problem. The solution they have found is to keep the same colored buoys for the channel coming in from sea (red right return) but to put the little gold triangle which marks a red buoy on the ICW on the green cans so if you are following the ICW south you leave them to starboard as if they were red. Franci and Stephen had never encountered this situation before but Capt. Ralph has traveled this way many, many times. Imagine if you did not know the possibility or failed to look for the gold triangles on the markers to take as red and the gold square on the ones to be treated as green. You would be zigzagging down the channel always correcting course to stay on the wrong side of the markers!

Ralph keeps his charts in a soft sided luggage case made for suits. We will go through 8 or more charts on this journey.

At 8:45 a.m. we came to the Gilberton Bridge. It has only 35 foot clearance so we had to wait for the 9:30 a.m.opening. The timing was perfect as breakfast was just being served. Arlene takes the wheel after she cooks so the fellows can eat. She will eat last. Vey thoughtful.

Along the way we monitored Channel 13 on the VHF. This is the channel all the barges use and it was easy to communicate with all the folks on duty at the bridges and locks long the way. Everyone on the radio is friendly and helpful.

Eventually we began to see private homes and vacation cabins.


Ralph mentioned to us that it is important to wax the boat at least once a year to protect the gel coat. He says wax the exterior and the cockpit and the hull will last forever.

At 10:30 a.m. we arrived at the locks. Arlene put on the fenders and dock lines as we will tie up on the starboard side when we get into the lock. Franci is thrilled to be replacing Stephen as 2nd mate for the next week. He's been getting to do that job since we left Maine. As 2nd mate she will get to help with dock lines and fenders, fill gas tanks, and top off water when we stop at marinas, generally assisting Arlene who is always the best first mate ever. We were hoping to get through in time for the 11 a.m. opening of the Great Great Bridge on the other side. A big barge slowed things down.

Arlene used a sheet bend knot to connect two ropes of dissimilar sizes so the fender could be attached without using the cleat which was difficult to get to.

We waited a long time still hoping to make the 11:00 a.m. opening of the Great Great Bridge on the other side. Finally the lock opened and out came a barge and several big boats.

(To be continued)

Life is good.

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen


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