Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hampton Downtown Public Piers - at their dock

Every shade of green imaginable
We did have a peaceful night at the bulkhead but we didn't get to leave until 9:00 am or so since the priority for the canal was boats moving in the opposite direction. So we waited until they all passed. Eventually we got going and had to settle for the 1:30 pm opening at the opposite end of the canal, we just couldn't make the 11:00 opening. It would have required about a 9 kt average speed, beyond our capabilities at 7.3 kts max cruising speed. 

So we idled along at a snail's pace for us to be in sync with the 1:30 opening. Meanwhile, we saw lots and lots of turtles but not much else. The canal was overgrown with greenery. Vines, trees, bushes of all types -  a symphony of green. 

Lots of container ships - imagine if one of these containers fell off and  you met it with your boat! It happends
Eventually we reached the north locks and found that the opening would be delayed about an hour to permit southbound boats through first (who would want to go south?!)  Finally, eventually we got through and now the race was on to make the Gilmerton bridge before it shut down for rush hour traffic at 3:30. We cranked the Volvo up and was making 8.0 kts through the water to be the first to reach the bridge and the bridge operator relented and let all of the boats in our group (5) through, holding the bridge open for about 15 minutes while the cars set idle. 

We are now at Hampton Downtown Public Piers, a marina run by the city and it's a fine base for exploring the area. Right in the building behind us is an Enterprise office where you can walk over and pick up a car and if you reserve over a weekend, it's only $10/day, hard to beat and it comes with free parking in the same building. We plan on trips to Walmart and Home Depot on Friday for provisioning. There's an iMax within walking distance of the marina and we'll see their latest feature too. We plan on being around until Monday morning when we'll head north again, stopping at Deltaville at the Fishing Bay Yacht Club for their free dock followed the next day for an anchorage at Solomons Island by the Holiday Inn and their dinghy dock ($2/day). Then we'll wait out the weather and see what's next.