We left Coinjock around 8am and were once again motoring up "The Ditch" (ICW). I think the local osprey have decided that the ICW channel markers are their own version of government subsidized housing. It seemed that just about every mark had an osprey nest on it with an osprey protecting her eggs.
|Osprey with chicks living on a marker. They seem to prefer the red ones.|
|8 shipwrecks on the chart.|
|Broken boats all in a row.|
Around noon, we made it to the first of the bridges that we needed to have opened that open on a fixed schedule. The North Landing swing bridge opens on every half hour, and so naturally we arrived just a few minutes too late to make the opening. This ended up giving me plenty of practice at station-keeping while we waited for the bridge. Fortunately the ICW doesn't have a strong current and so this is pretty easy in a catamaran. In fact, we ended up having lunch while waiting for the bridge. Once the bridge opened and we were on our way, we figured out that we wouldn't be able to make the next opening of the next bridge on our route, so we throttled back to a speed that got us to the next bridge about 5 minutes before the following opening.
After the first two bridges, next was the Great Bridge and Great Bridge Lock. The bridge opens in sequence with the lock since they are only a few hundred feet apart. We had to wait for a few minutes, but pretty soon the bridge opened.
|The Great Bridge opening up to let us through.|
We then made our way to the lock. We deployed fenders, found our boat poles, and setup a bow and stern dock line so we could take a ride in the lock. When we motored into the lock, one of the lock operators looped our lines around a couple of the big bollards on the shore and threw them back to us. The idea is to keep your boat parallel to the lock wall without quite touching while the water raises or lowers. There was only one other boat in the lock with us, Goose, as you can see below.
|The Great Bridge Lock.|
We were making good enough time that we decided to see how far we could get and ended up making it to Norfolk and had to go through the Gilmerton bridge. I guess we got lucky that a barge was coming through the other way as I've heard this bridge doesn't open, except by reservation, during rush hours.
|Gilmerton Bridge. 120ft clearance...I think we'll fit.|
Passing through Norfolk and Portsmouth, you can really see these are big ship towns including a naval yard.
|Norfolk waterside industry.|
|Naval Ship Yard.|
|An aircraft carrier can sure make you feel small.|
We ended up at one of the free town docks in Portsmouth. They are right downtown and convenient walking distance to a number of restaurants and stores. The only downsides are the lack of marina amenities (water, power, bathhouse) and the fact that the dock is awash at high tide, but it is definitely nice for the price. I'd recommend it for a short stay if you are in the area.
|Rover tied up at the north Portsmouth free dock.|
After the day's excitement, we decided to have dinner at one of the local sports bars as a celebration of making it through all the bridges and locks and ending up at a nice place to spend the night (and not having to pay for marina dockage). I hear the weather is supposed to turn bad tomorrow, so we might be here an extra day if it sounds rough to travel. Guess we will see if the weather guessers are right.