Daily Archives: May 7, 2019

Family Time!

Poquoson, VA (Saturday, 5/4)
We awoke to a very wet boat deck as it had rained during the night, but grateful that it washed away a lot of the dirt.  We departed the Waterside marina at 8:30 and headed up the Elizabeth River, passing the Nauticus and USS Wisconsin to our right.  Denise was driving as we continued on at slow speed through the no-wake zone, passing navy ships under rehab in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, as well as container ships in the commercial port.  Meanwhile, Mark was tending to the deck cleanup and putting up our homeport banner that enables other boats to see our boat name that is otherwise covered by our dinghy.

Leaving Norfolk

Leaving Norfolk

Putting up the IO Sign

Putting up the IO Sign

There was a slight wind and a ripple or two on the water, with partly cloudy skies.  Soon made our way to the Chesapeake Bay, passing the Old Comfort Light house and Fort Monroe to our west, and Fort Wool to our east. It was a nice day to be on the Bay.

We cruised uneventfully the 30+ miles up the western shore of the Chesapeake until we came to the Poquoson River, where we turned left towards the inland tributaries that feed this waterway. This is on the western shore of the Bay and just north of Hampton.

Crab pots everywhere

Crab pots everywhere

Entering Poquoson River

Entering Poquoson River

We made our way around the point to the entrance to the Whitehouse Cove where we would be staying for the next week.  Denise has family in this area: Brother John and wife Cathy, as well as two of their kids and their families.  We are excited to see them all and spend some quality time doing nothing!

Houses on Whitehouse Cove

Houses on Whitehouse Cove

As we neared the Whitehouse Cove marina we immediately saw “YOLO” – the boat of our Looper friends Gail & Jeff Dunham. They are from this area and were a tremendous help to us in 2017 when we had issues with our dinghy. We originally met them on the Loop in 2015 when we shared an anchorage in Baie Finn, Canada.  They came out of their boat when they saw us pulling in and offered to help with our planned pump out. Unfortunately, we were not able to get the adapters to work for the pump-out and would have to come up with a plan B.  We were not in urgent need, so it was ok to wait for later in the week when we could get the right size fitting for our boat.  We moved the boat to the area in which we were preassigned, which ended up being right next to YOLO.

IO and YOLO

IO and YOLO at Whitehouse Cove Marina

We chatted with Gail and Jeff for a while, getting caught up. We learned they spent the winter in New Smyrna Beach (if only we had known), and that they are planning to do the Loop again. However, they have a few things to fix on their boat before they can go, so they are working diligently to get them resolved. They offered us the use of their car or to take us anywhere, but with Denise’s family we are not sure that is necessary. Not long afterward, Russell (“Overdraft”) came by and said hello and gave us an adapter for the pump-out. Jeff and Gail had called him with a request on our behalf.  We had also met Russell in 2017 when we were here, and it was great to reconnect with him.

We had been in touch with Denise’s brother John, and we made arrangements for him to come to the marina, pick us up, and then we would spend the night with him and his wife at their home in Seaford; 20 minutes north of Poquoson. But first we had to go with him to a girls’ softball game.  John is assisting his daughter Shannon, who is the head coach for this team which her daughters play on.  She is away this week and he is taking on some duties to help out.  So we went to the ball field and tried to stay out of the hot sun. It was fun for us to watch the girls in action, and John coaching the girls to victory.

Trying to stay in the shade

Trying to stay in the shade

After the game we headed to their home in Seaford, but not before getting a sneak peek at the nearly completed renovations of Shannon’s house.  We also stopped at the grocery store to pick up steaks to grill out for dinner.  We arrived to their beautifully decorated home where Cathy awaited with snacks and drinks. We got a tour of the place which we had not seen, and then got our showers in a real bathroom.  We also had the opportunity to do our laundry and spent most of the night washing and drying the handful of loads we brought with us.  During that time we had fun preparing dinner and getting a chance to talk with just the four of us. After dinner we chatted forever until late, and finally turned in well past double-digits.

Poquoson, VA (Sunday, 5/5)
In the morning we borrowed John’s truck and drove to the nearby Catholic Church (St. Joan of Arc) for the 8:30 mass.

St. Joan of Arc alter

St. Joan of Arc alter

While we were in mass it had started to rain, and let up just in time for us to get in the truck and make it back home. Originally we had plans to go into Yorktown, but the weather was not going to be conducive to good sightseeing along the York River. So we opted for a Sunday Brunch at a local dining spot “Food Craft”, and eventually a movie.

We got lucky at Food Craft as there was not a long wait and the sun had come out long enough for us to stand outside. Once seated we got to enjoy a bloody Mary and a great breakfast and each other’s company.

Brunch at Food Craft with Cathy & John

Brunch at Food Craft with Cathy & John

Then we had to decide on a movie and chose “Captain Marvel”. None of us had seen it yet and it was not as crowded as the other blockbuster superhero movie everyone else was seeing over the weekend. There were only a handful of people in the theater and we had choice seating in the very back row.

Captain Marvel theater

“Captain Marvel” theater

Once the movie was over we went back home for a little rest and reprieve until it was time to eat again. Denise and Cathy were able to talk Mark into sushi for dinner, so we went to a local place “Asahi” where they know the owner.  It worked to our advantage as after we ordered we received a complimentary appetizer that was terrific. The food was delicious and Mark even managed to find something on the menu he liked.

Asahi sushi dinner with Cathy & John

Asahi sushi dinner with Cathy & John

Dragon and Party roll sushi

Dragon and Party roll sushi

After dinner we decided to spend another night so that no one had to make the drive back and forth to Poquoson.  Besides, it was nice to spend time with family.

Poquoson, VA (Monday, 5/6)
John took us back to the marina as he and Cathy had things to do, and so did we.  Mark had work to do for clients and then spent time trying to contact a recommended Cummins Diesel mechanic to do a quick diagnostic test on our boat engine. We had received a warning light while heading up the ICW, but it was one that suggested “check at next maintenance”. We did not want to wait too long to do this and he was trying to make contact with the person in Solomons, MD where we hope to be later this month.  Meanwhile Denise began researching and reading of places along the Chesapeake we might want to explore.

In the afternoon a plan was devised for a future itinerary, including stops on the Rappahannock River and to the MTOA clubhouse at the Olverson’s Marina about 20 miles up the Potomac River.  Here we will retrieve a set of additional ball fenders from our cruising friends Jon & Lynn (“Zendo”) who are graciously loaning them to us for the locks to get us to the St. Lawrence.  Other planned stops on the Chesapeake include Solomon’s, St. Michaels, Eastport (near Annapolis) and an anchorage somewhere up the Sassafras River.

We had a quiet night with dinner on board and getting caught up on a missed episode of Blue Bloods.

Moon over Whitehouse Cove

 

Poquoson, VA (Tuesday, 5/7)
Denise started the day with a run around the marina and the surrounding neighborhood.  As she has run this area before, she was anxious to see the beautiful houses that align the water and the creeks that feed off of Whitehouse Cove.

In the morning, Mark had the task of changing the oil in the boat. Although not a difficult task, it takes time and he has to sit in the small engine room space to do it.

Changing the oil

Changing the oil on IO

While this was going on, Denise defrosted and cleaned both drawers of the refrigerator. We both had points where we needed each other’s help, requiring us to interrupt our respective tasks.  So it literally took us all morning to do these two things.

After a quick lunch, we worked on other minor things. Mark continued working with clients and Denise began working on this blog post. Gail (“YOLO”) offered to take Mark to the Post office and to a local auto parts store to discard the old oil, so he seized the opportunity.  Before we knew it the sun was getting lower in the sky and soon it would be time for dinner. But we continued working until after 6 pm when we walked up to Surf Rider’s, the restaurant at the marina. They have pretty good food and knew it would not be too crowded on a Tuesday. We got seated right away, but were glad we had not waited any longer as they got busy. By the time we left there were people waiting in line.

Surf Rider restaurant

Surf Rider restaurant

After dinner we went for a walk around the marina and in the neighborhood where Denise ran earlier in the day.  We first checked out the boats in the covered slips and saw a Sabre ’38 and the boat “Red Eagle” whom we saw in 2017, neither of which had anyone on board. Then we walked up the street to the homes which run along the backside of Whitehouse cove, seeing the front of the one visible when you approach the entrance to Whitehouse Cove from the water.  It was a great way to end the evening.

Front of house on point at Whitehouse Cove

Front of house on point at Whitehouse Cove

Tomorrow we plan to take John and Cathy out on the boat for a few hours, weather permitting (which looks really good).

Here is another picture of  IO and the Whitehouse Cove Marina:

Whitehouse Cove Marina in the morning

Whitehouse Cove Marina in the morning

Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.

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Friday Fun Day!

Norfolk, VA (Friday, 5/3)
Today was a play day in Norfolk.  We have been wanting to go to “Nauticus” (maritime museum) and to tour the USS Wisconsin; a retired battleship that is permanently stationed and is part of the museum. So after some morning work activity we walked over to the museum and signed up for the 11:00 tour of the Wisconsin.  It was very informative and we learned a lot about this ship which served from post WWII to the Gulf War.

The Wisconsin is also used by the military to host special events, and today there were a few on the agenda that we got to watch.  One was a reenlistment ceremony for about 20 Navy and Marine personnel that took place on the bow of the ship. Another took place on the stern of the boat after our tour, and it was for a promotion of a Lt Commander to the rank of Commander. This event was a pretty big deal. The very impressive, newly-promoted Commander thanked many in the audience, including his former classmates at the Naval Academy.  Two of these classmates were themselves already were Commanders of ships in the US Navy.  But what captured Denise’s attention was his family. In addition to his wife, his 7 children (2 girls and 5 boys) were there, and all were dressed in matching outfits. The kids ranged in age from about 12 to 3, and all got to assist in putting his new pins on his uniform. It was a heart-warming moment and it was great to see. We are always grateful to the men and women who give up so much for us, and we enjoyed interacting with them on this day.

We walked back to the boat for a late lunch and to relax a bit. A local boater on a SeaRay came into the slip beside us and we briefly talked with him and his wife for a while. They were only here for the weekend wine festival and the concert that would play at Waterside this evening, then they were going back home.

In the evening we went over to have happy hour with our new friends Barbara & Joe (“Balahula”), whom we had met in Beaufort, NC.  They are from Kentucky and are doing the Great Loop in their Fleming 55.  We got to talk about their Loop adventure so far, including the damage to a prop when coming through the Dismal Swamp.  They were one of 3 boats in Norfolk all of whom had damage as a result of taking this route; the alternative to the one we took (Coinjock-North Landing Bridge- Great Bridge Lock). For this reason we will not take our boat through there, no matter how “beautiful” the scenery is.  We also spent time getting to know them better and enjoyed sharing foods we love, recipes and life experiences.  They are a very fun couple and we hope we see them on the water on the way up the Chesapeake Bay.

"Balahula"

“Balahula”

After we left “Balahula” we walked to dinner at Waterside. Originally we thought we might try the pizza place, but the limited menu and lack of a crowd on a Friday night gave us pause.  So we opted instead for the Guy Fieri’s (of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives”) Smokehouse. It is mostly barbeque with other bar-type food items. Mark was in hog heaven, but Denise thought it was mediocre.  We were not that impressed, but since it was a last-minute decision we were happy to get a table and eat before 8:00 pm. The Waterside was pretty crowded as it was Friday evening and the wine festival was starting tomorrow.  Additionally, more boats were coming into the marina as the AGLCA Looper rendezvous was starting on Sunday; an event we chose to bypass this year.

After dinner we walked back to the boat for a little TV watching and then bed. We will be leaving in the morning, but not before the tides change so we won’t have to fight it all the way to Poquoson.