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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.