I walked over to the waterfront at lunch today to see the snowbirds anchored in Crawford Bay. It is that time of year, boats are heading south along the intracoastal waterway. There were just 12 or 15 boats out there midday, but when I drove over the bridge this morning on the way to work there were probably two dozen boats anchored in the bay.
The Elizabeth River, where it passes between the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, and where I sail just about every weekend from April through November, is the site of Mile Marker 1 for the ICW. A lot of boats, from Chesapeake Bay, New York, New England and Canada pass through here every fall. And of course they pass through here again in spring, on their way back north.
When the cruisers leave Crawford Bay they wind their way on the southern branch of the Elizabeth River through a very industrial/military area. Shipyards, fuel depots, salvage business that cut huge ships into little pieces of metal line the river. I wrote about some work being done on the industrial section a couple of weeks ago. I think the cruisers pass through the cranes and all in just an hour or so.
And then they'll be in a pretty section of the Elizabeth River, pass down the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal (right by my neighborhood) and eventually cross the state line to North Carolina.
I always enjoy seeing those cruisers anchored in Crawford Bay. I hope to get out sailing with them this weekend (the forecast is good for Saturday). I like to tack my way through the fleet, enjoy the boats big and small, and maybe say hello to a cruiser or two, ask where they came from and where they are going. In a day or two they'll be in Carolina, in a few weeks they could be in Florida, Bahamas or the Caribbean.
I don't think I'll ever sail that far away, but it is nice to talk with the sailors, have the chance to wish them well on their journey south.