Our trip south into Norfolk went much smoother than for this ship HONG DAI. Somehow, they went hard aground outside of this major, wide, deep & well marked channel into Norfolk (they should have been on the other side of that green buoy). We later heard that it was pulled off after a few days by 8 tugs (4 on each side) on a high tide.
Prior to arriving in Norfolk, we enjoyed a nice week in the Chesapeake making a few stops, including Annapolis. Normally at this time, Annapolis would have been crazy preparing for the 51st annual Sailboat Show, one of the largest on the east coast which pretty much takes over the town & harbor (they build a huge marina for hundreds of boats from scratch every year, then remove it weeks later), but cancelled due to COVID. We have attended many times since 2006 when we began getting serious planning our crazy dream of taking off cruising, so it was strange to see town semi-deserted.
Back in Norfolk, after passing the aground ship, there are several miles of the Elizabeth River lined with shipyards, container ports, railroad depots & the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Here is the USNS Comfort hospital ship which had sailed into NYC earlier this year for the COVID effort.
Magically, about 15 miles past the industrial areas of Norfolk & Portsmouth, several railroad bridges & a lock (The Great Bridge Lock), you enter a more serene portion of the ICW, which continues in various forms all the way to Miami. We were all by ourselves on this free park dock, but in a week or two it will be full with some of the hundreds of boats coming down behind us.
You never know what you’ll see along the way – a few days later traveling the Alligator Pungo Canal in North Carolina I slowed down to avoid hitting something crossing the canal in front of me – ducks? I was more than surprised when these “ducks” got to the edge & became deer, as only their ears & mouths had been above the water!