Saturday, March 7, 2009

on the water

Wow!  The first week in March and I'm out on the river.  I made it out last year the second week of March, but it was cold and grey.  Back then I had three shirts on plus my foul weather gear to stay warm.  Today it was 70 degrees and blue skies.  It felt great!  The top photo is looking down the Elizabeth River, the city of Portsmouth on the left and Norfolk on the right.  

That's me in my tee shirt (in Winter!) watching some of the local boat traffic.  Our waterfront is a working waterfront.  Tugs, barges, shipyards and military bases.  It is a good idea to keep your eyes open for commercial traffic. 
A lot of history around here.  The old Gosport Shipyard, now Norfolk Naval Shipyard, is just upriver.   At the start of the civil war it was a Federal shipyard deep in Confederate territory.  The Federals scuttled their ships on the river, including the USS Merrimac, before leaving town.  The confederates raised the Merrimac, rebuilt it with iron sides and called it the CSS Virginia.  Just down river from here the Virginia battled the USS Monitor in the Battle of the Ironclads.
I've shared the river with cargo ships, cruise ships, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines (I can tell you from experience that you should not photograph nuclear submarines unless you want to have an intense discussion with a small boat crew that has a 50 cal. machine gun mounted on the bow.)  This spot is also the northern end of the Intracoastal Waterway, so I see lots of cruisers from all over the world as they head either north (in the spring) or south (in the winter) along the coast.

There is Spartina rigged with her sails near the boat ramp at Harbor Park.  It is a terrible ramp, but I've figured out how to get the boat in and out of the water without too much trouble.  It took me a little bit longer than usual to rig today as I wanted to try a few new things, plus I had check out some of the fittings, knots, etc.  

There is the Portsmouth waterfront.  The 10 mph forecast winds did not show up until about 3 in the afternoon.  That was fine as I wanted to check out the boat and relax a bit.  Before the winds arrived I had a sandwich, read the New York Times and took a nap in the warm sunshine.  And then the wind filled in and it was perfect for the next couple of hours.  

- Steve


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