Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sunset Creek Marina at Hampton, VA – At a dock

View out the back on the Dismal Swamp Canal
In the Dismal Swamp Canal the locks only open at certain times. You can’t just request an opening like you can on some bridges. For our passage, the times of openings were 8:30 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm. You had to be ready to go when the gates opened. If you were 5 minutes late, too bad, you would have to wait for the next scheduled opening. So we motored along to make the 11:00 opening. As you can see, the canal is straight as an arrow and gets rather narrow in spots. It averages 7 to 8 ft deep but there are many parts with 6 ft depths for short stretches.

One of two aircraft carriers in port
 We made the locks on time and headed to the one bridge that’s not very accommodating to boaters, the Gilmerton Bridge. It’s not open at all from 6:30 – 8:30 am and from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. In-between it’s only open on the half-hour (e.g., 10:30, 11:30, etc.) With so few openings, there’s always a traffic jam in both directions when it does open.

Norfolk is a big naval center and we saw two aircraft carriers along the docks! They had a moveable, floating fence all around each carrier with a little tugboat that would pull the floating fence open and shut for incoming traffic. Going through this stretch of the ICW is like New York Harbor, always busy, lots of wave action from the passing traffic but always interesting.

We’re in Sunset Creek Marina to have the over voltage condition of our genset looked at. That session starts around 9:00 am on Wednesday. We’re also due to get a change of weather that day with rain and thunderstorms followed by Thursday with a high of only 60 as the north winds pump in behind the cold front! Today it was 80, some change coming.