Day 10, Year 8: ICW Mile 0 to Mile 12, Norfolk to Great Bridge
Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Weather: Overcast with Rain, Temp 50’s; Wind NE 18-22 am, NNE14-16 pm
Latitude: 36 43.244 N
Longitude: 076 14.264 W
Location: Intracoastal Waterway, Mile 12, Great Bridge, VA

Never a dull moment! What was supposed to be a non-eventful 12 mile day
turned out to be quite the opposite. It was still 12 miles, but there was
nothing non-eventful about it. At 7:30 am the wind started roaring and the
rain started pouring . . . and the anchor started dragging. That’s a rude
way to start the day. Mark started the engine and tried to steer us clear
of the two boats, one on either side of us. While doing that, I heard a
CLUNK and the engine stopped dead. There’s only one thing that makes a
noise like that and that is when you have something wrapped around the prop.
I was down below and could hear it clearly, but Mark was in the cockpit and
didn’t hear the CLUNK, so he thought he was out of fuel. He ran down the
companionway steps to go switch over the fuel while I am trying to tell him
that I think we have a crab pot line wrapped around the prop. It all
happened so fast and he was back in the cockpit starting the engine again,
and again CLUNK and the engine stopped dead. He now realizes that we do
have a line wrapped around the prop, so he goes up to release more anchor
chain. He felt like we had stopped dragging and putting out more chain with
the 25 knot gusts seemed like a good idea. It worked. We had stopped
dragging and the extra chain kept us from breaking loose again. It’s a good
thing because the wind was blowing us into the bay that the charts say have
less than a meter of depth. Running around and having no engine are not a
good combination. In tropical waters, Mark would have been in the water
right away to cut away the line, but Norfolk in November does not equal
tropical waters. So Mark got on the phone and called a nearby marina to see
if they could recommend a diver. They said they’d call back, so we called
another marina. By this time it is 8:30 am and by the time the second
marina called back saying that they found a diver it was close to 9 am.
Somewhere in here we ate breakfast and put on our foul weather gear. Then
we lowered the dinghy and motor so Mark could go to shore to pick up the
diver. He was gone for over an hour and a half before he returned with Sam
the diver. In the time he was gone, the wind increased to gusts of 28.
Needless to say I was a bit panicked knowing there was nothing I could do if
we started dragging again. We were being blown toward a yellow buoy and I
had thoughts of trying to use a rope to lasso it if I got close enough, but
the chances of that being successful were probably very slim. It was after
10:30 when Mark returned with Sam. Mark had been standing outside all this
time waiting for him and he was chilled to the bone, but he had to stay down
in the dinghy to help recover the crab pot and put new line on it. When Sam
finished cutting away the line, we started the engine and everything seemed
fine, so a few hours and a hundred dollars later, Mark took Sam back to
shore and then we brought up the anchor and started up the ICW. Mark had
pulled three crab traps onboard so we wouldn’t snag another pot while
getting the anchor up. There were some beautiful crabs, but as soon as we
could, they went back in the water and we were on our way. It was 12:20 pm
and the wind and the rain had calmed down a bit. Negotiating the bridge
openings was much easier than we had thought and by 3 pm we were tied to the
free dock on the east end of the Great Bridge Bascule Bridge. We did not
have to wait more than 10 minutes for any bridge to open and the lock tender
saw us coming and called on the radio to tell us to speed up if possible.
We assumed we were going to have to wait an hour but they waited five
minutes for us and we made it just fine.

We took a little walk once we arrived. The dock we are tied to was supposed
to be adjacent to a new Visitors Center for the Great Bridge Battlefield and
Waterways Park. The parking lot was completed and a beautiful walkway with
historic sign posts explaining the importance of the Battle of Great Bridge
during the Revolutionary War, but there are only foundation posts for the
Visitors Center. Since it was supposed to be completed in 2010, we figure
they must have run out of money. We enjoyed reading about the first land
battle of the Revolutionary War in Virginia and America’s first victory-at
least that is what the signs say.

We are hoping for a much calmer beginning tomorrow morning. The next bridge
is closed from 6:30 am to 8:30 am during early morning rush hour, and we are
not going to try and get there at 6:30 am. So we will depart here to go
through at 8:30 and then continue on to Mile 50 in Coinjock, North Carolina.
Mark wants to go to the marina there instead of going on to Mile 61 to an
anchorage. I think the decision will be made depending on the weather and
the time of day. It is about 350 miles from Norfolk to Myrtle Beach. It
will have taken us two days to get to Mile 50, but after that we are hoping
to make 50 miles each day. If the weather is perfect and we can go outside
at Beaufort, NC, we might make it to Little River on Monday. If not, we
won’t get there until Tuesday. But no worries, Patsy. We will be there in
time to cook that Thanksgiving dinner.

121113 Day 10 Passage South, USA–ICW Mile 0 to Mile 12
Day 11, Year 8: ICW Mile 12 to Mile 50, Great Bridge to Coinjock
Day 9, Year 8: Piankatank River to Norfolk