Naval Norfolk

Cruising up the Elizabeth River into Norfolk, Virginia our mouths dropped open as we gazed up in awe at the enormous Norfolk Naval Shipyard. One of the oldest and largest shipyards in the world, it specializes in repairing, overhauling and modernizing ships and subs. The Yard stretches on for miles and miles, one huge warship after another. Joy Girl felt like a pipsqueak beside them.

We had the privilege of boarding one of these military marvels as the USS Wisconsin has been retired, is open for tours, and was moored a short walk from our marina. This gigantic girl, nicknamed Wisky, is 887 feet long, 108 feet wide and was crewed by as many as 2,800 men. She had nine 16 inch guns that fired 2,700 pound shells. She fought in WW II, Korea and in Operation Desert Storm – an epic battleship.

Norfolk made us glad that these warships are on our side! Waterside Marina was smack dab in the midst of downtown, in the epicenter of everything, and surrounded by military might. It was quite the visit!

First Flight, Great Light

As Joy Girl, her feline officers, and human crew continue to make their way northward, it would only be appropriate for a man with 35 years of flying to visit Kitty Hawk, NC.  As you may well know, this is the site of the first powered, manned flight in history.  On that glorious December 17 way back in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright’s years of research, dreams, and efforts finally came to fruition in a short 12 second, 120 foot long flight along the windswept sands.DSC04861 crif

In addition to the life size recreation of the famous (and I believe only) photo of the historic event, the National Park Service Wright Memorial includes a placard at the very spot from which their aircraft first became airborne, reconstruction of their 1903 workshop, living quarters, and hangar, as well as a full scale model of the rail from which they launched their flyer.20180511_135341

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Out in the distance, 4 stones mark the landing points of each of their successively longer four flights that day.  This is picture shows Craig at the touch down spot of the famous first flight, with the landings of flights 2, 3, and 4 behind me:DSC04847 crif.jpg

Several years ago while touring the Boeing factory in Everett, WA, I recall them saying that the fuselage of a 747 is so large in both length and breadth that the Wrights could have completed their entire flight inside of the jumbo jet!  A lesser known fact is that enhanced images of that flight suggest that pilot Orville may well have been wearing a hat from the vessel Joy Girl:20180511_144256 crif.jpg

While we were out and about, we took our rental car down to Cape Hatteras to visit the iconic lighthouse.20180511_160517_001 crif.jpg  Built in 1870, 20 years ago the famous brick tower was in danger of being reclaimed by the sea.  The shore, once 1500 feet way, had eroded to within 150 feet of the lighthouse, so they moved it!  After digging down around the foundation, they actually jacked the entire structure up a bit at a time, got it onto a rail system, and moved the nearly 200 foot high lighthouse 2900 feet inland.

Climbing the light involves 258 steps, roughly the equivalent of going up a twelve story building, in a dizzying spiral around the perfectly cylindrical interior of the tower (the cylinder, inside the conical exterior, is some of what gives the lighthouse its strength).  It took some breathing to get our aging bodies up there, but the view from the top, well, it took our breath away and was definitely worth the effort.  No picture can do it justice, of course, but we’ll leave you with this shot looking out over the tip of Cape Hatteras and hope that someday you will be able to take in this view in person:DSC04884 crif.jpg

Where Is Joy Girl?

For our friends and family who wonder “Where are those crazy Kozaks now?” we’ve created a Travel Map that displays our past route and current location. You can always find it by clicking the link “Where is Joy Girl?” at the top of our blog and you can view it here now:

https://joygirladventures.travelmap.net/

We also get a lot of questions about the kitties and are happy to report that they are adjusting well and now sleep soundly through calm waters and no longer freak out in rougher seas. They are doing great!

Today we plan to harbor at Manteo, Roanoke Island then rent a car and drive over to the Outer Banks to see Kitty Hawk, the Wright Brothers Memorial, Nags Head and Cape Hatterus. We’re very excited to see those historic locations!

 

Cape Of Fears

We spent a few days on Bald Head Island, North Carolina, the home of Cape Fear. Wow, what a little piece of paradise.

Bald Head Island is only accessible by boat so there are no cars, just golf carts zooming around. Million dollar homes peek over the sand dunes and the beach is littered with lovely shells. Since it’s still early in the season the beach was basically uninhabited which allowed me mosey along to my heart’s content.

Hundreds of ships have wrecked off Cape Fear where the shallow sand shoals extend 20 miles out into the ocean. The US Coast Guard was formed here in an effort to save sailors from drowning. The “Graveyard of the Atlantic” starts here and goes up the North Carolina Outer Banks coast and includes the other two capes – Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras.

Our stay was made more wonderful by a visit from our dear friends Steve and Judy Bullard, who drove down from Raleigh-Durham, NC to see us. We boated, ate seafood, drank Nixie Lemonade, walked the beach, and had a great time catching up. Thanks for visiting, it was so great to see you!

OMG… Charleston!

They say a war for supremacy burns between Savannah and Charleston. These southern cities have a mostly good-natured rivalry to be considered the most beautiful and charming and therefore, the best bang for your tourist dollars. Really? There’s a contest? We don’t see it…

Charleston is the epitome of southern style, grace, and timeless beauty. From the waterfront to the French Quarter to the City Market, I was enchanted by her. She is an intoxicating mix of English elegance, French joue de vivre, a breath of Italian architecture and strong dose of American independence. She’s a jewel.

Now, for all you Savannah lovers, that party girl did give me a lasting gift and what is more suited to her than a drink recipe! At Belford’s restaurant in the City Market I had a delicious cocktail called Dixie Lemonade. Not too sweet, not too sour, and for some reason, it packs a punch. I promptly created a low cal version for the upcoming summer. The recipe below is for one drink but you can increase the dosage for more people or make a big batch in advance. I usually tweak as I go but this is pretty close:

Nixie Lemonade Recipe

  • 1 shot vodka
  • Dash of Couintreu or Triple Sec
  • Juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • 4 slices of muddled cucumbers
  • Chrystal Light lemonade powder to taste to sweeten the deal
  • Splash of lemon lime soda
  • Lots of ice

Y’all come back now, ya hear? We’re headed to Bald Head Island near Southport, North Carolina…

We’re Off!

Today we started our Great Loop adventure! We left Shelter Cove Marina early this morning and were treated to a beautiful sunrise as we bid our winter home a fond farewell. We were excited, nervous, and a little sad to leave the wonderful people we met on Hilton Head, including the marina staff, our new boating friends, and my cousin Shari and her mom Nancy, who were so wonderful to us during our stay.

Wonderful Shelter Cove Marina (Photo courtesy of Joe Brasfield)
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Today’s sunrise

As the sun came up we re-read a prayer that was shared at Providence Presbyterian Church when we were coping (sometimes badly!) with frustrating boat repairs. It touched our hearts then and is a wonderful prayer for today, too.

God, who is with us in every transition, with us through every time of change, as we begin this new chapter with excitement and maybe even anxiety we remember your compassion, your holy presence, and your abounding love that always has been and will always be forever with us. We thank you for the gifts and talents that you have blessed us with and for the experiences that have brought us to this moment. Lord, be with us as we go forward rejoicing and singing our praises in your Holy Name. Amen!

We plan to arrive at the The Harborage at Ashley Marina in Charleston tomorrow!

The Cure for Dock Itch

We’ve now been docked here at Shelter Cove Marina on Hilton Head for three full months, and it’s about time for a change of scenery.  Don’t get me wrong. We love it here.  The marina, the people of Hilton Head, the fellow boaters, are all admirable.  And there’s nothing quite like the sight of a trio of dolphins playing joyfully in your bow wave:Dolphin trio crif.jpg

But it’s definitely time to get underway on our big adventure, the primary reason for which we purchased this boat.

To be sure, we’ve had our share of events and circumstances that have slowed us down.  But at long last, we now have a tender and outboard engine that are fully functional:Tender ready to go

We have some very groovy new hats with the boat’s name and hailing port embroidered on them:Joy Girl hats red stone

Everything that we can think of to work on (for now…) has been done.  We’re presently the proud owners of six brand new house batteries (to run most all things electrical on the boat when we’re not in a marina), a functional and legal anchor light for peaceful nights on the hook, and a growing and eclectic collection of spare parts and supplies, none of which will I waste your time with pictures of.

Yes, the itch to get going is getting stronger by the day.  Last night, just for the halibut, we slipped our dock lines and headed out for an impromptu sunset cruise.  It was mostly just an excuse to get out of the marina, but I guess God approved of our decision, as our efforts were rewarded with this glorious view which Niki captured from the pilothouse of Joy Girl:Sunset flare 04-24-2018.jpg

Ashore, the urge to get out and go somewhere or do something is often referred to as “cabin fever”.   But on a boat, many terms are a bit different, and I felt this one needed a nautical translation as well.  Like this Anhinga sitting on our dock, spreading his wings and running his final preflight checklist before takeoff, I believe we are finally ready to go!Diving bird ready to fly off pier after drying wings

So I came up with a new term to describe the irresistible urge to leave the docks and friends of Shelter Cove Marina and be on our way.  I call it…Dock Itch!

And now, it’s about time to go scratch that itch!