May 20, Saturday, Day 40, AICW 0! Norfolk, VA
A big day – we went through our first lock ever – and it turned out very well and then we arrived at the big city of Norfolk, VA . We are staying right in the city at their Waterfront marina. We also completed the Atlantic ICW – I should have been calling it the AICW all this time, A for Atlantic.
We started early (7:15) since we knew we’d have to wait for swinging bridges and to negotiate a lock on the way north today. The scenery continued to be “lazy river“ even after the first bridge.
Then we came upon the lock and the traffic of boats all holding at idle until the 10am opening. We pulled into the left side of the lock behind the boat ahead of us, were helped to slip a bow and stern rope around cleats at the top of the wall, and held the ropes lightly as the water rose in the lock. Very smooth, and then we left in order, still in a row for a short while.
A little later the view changed drastically as we approached Portsmouth, VA, the city across from Norfolk, a naval yard city. It is industrial and largely focused on big ships, either maintaining them, unloading them and we saw boat scrapyards as well.
After docking at the Norfolk Waterside Marina, we were told how lucky we were to have live music playing on the wharf right next to the marina tonight! Hope they don’t play too late. (Getting old, much?)
Lunch was next and then we headed for Nauticus – a unique Navy science museum with a big focus on the USS Wisconsin attached to the museum. The museum is striking in it’s use of technology to tell the stories of ships, sailors and battles while also having many interactive exhibits for all ages. We also walked through the battleship seeing the large cabins for officers and jam packed bunks for enlisted sailors, the huge galley, heads and even the top floor of a 5 floor gun turret. In spite of my peaceful leanings I was impressed by the ingenuity that went into what we saw today, and the dedication mentioned by so many sailors that served on the USS Wisconsin.
A band was still playing at 10:30pm and I was concerned since we usually hit the pillow earlier, but on the other hand, this is such a happening place that we just were treated to a great firework show from the nearby baseball park and visible from our boat dock. The band stopped at 11:00 and all is well. 🙂