Saturday, June 6, 2015

Three Days in Portsmouth

The primary goal of our stay in Portsmouth was to determine where we would be taking the boat in order to get some work done.  In addition to the hard top bimini replacement that I've been wanting for a long time, the trip has demonstrated a few more items that could use some attention. We had hoped that our extender would find a WiFi signal we could use from the boat, but that wasn't the case, so we ended up spending a little time at coffee shops and other places that had the access we needed.

Rover's home for a few days in Portsmouth

One big help was having the Active Captain companion application on my tablet.  Since you can download the database and use it in an offline mode, we were able to search through a large number of marinas and boatyards in Virginia and Maryland and contact them without internet access while sitting on the boat.

Oh, did I mention that the neighbors at the High street dock can be a bit noisy?  I guess it takes a lot of noise to build or maintain battleships and aircraft carriers. It seems like they run crews nonstop while working on these big gray boats.

Noisy Neighbors across the river.

It wasn't all work though.  We managed a couple of touristy things as well.  Adjacent to both free docks are tourist information centers, and I've found those can be great resources for finding things to do.  We got a self-guided walking tour pamphlet and wandered around some of the Portsmouth historic district, later going back and riding more of it with our bicycles.

The Portsmouth ferry just steps from our door

There is also a ferry service that goes between the docks in Portsmouth and downtown Norfolk, and for $3.50 you can get a round-trip ride.  Or better, for $4 you can get an all day pass that works for the ferry as well as the local buses.  On Sunday, after exhausting the limited possibilities for boatyards open that day, we took the ferry over to Norfolk to check things out.  I'm not 100% sure why, but we ended up taking a rather expensive tour of the battleship Wisconsin.  It was interesting to see some of the areas not open to the regular tour, but I'm not sure the price is justified.

The Battleship Wisconsin from the bow

...and from the side.

Don't want to be captain...but the chair is pretty comfy

The tour guide looks nervous with Anja as Tactical Officer
After the battleship, we had a late lunch and returned to check on our furry crew (since we figured they wouldn't be allowed on the tours).  We ended up taking them on the ferry back to Norfolk so they would have the experience of riding on a public transit ferry.  In Norfolk we decided we were thirsty and the mission there was to find a smoothie shop...which we did after a little effort.  I think the dogs liked getting out and checking out the area.

As for our goal...well...we think we found a place to get some of the work done, but it doesn't tick all of the boxes so we are reworking the plan again.  We need to get up to Maryland to retrieve my car (unless my friend has sold it...which at this point I could only hope would be the case) and we need to find a "stable location" where family can finally come visit and see the boat.

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