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.
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.