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!

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:

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)
Last Shelter Cove Sunrise.jpg
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!

Nessie The Marina Monster


A heretofore undiscovered sea monster reminiscent of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster has been sighted in Shelter Cove Marina. The large sea creature appears intermittently, rising from the depths, then disappearing again underneath the harbor waters. A local boater was able to photograph the beast as it briefly rose to the surface.

Sightings occur in close proximity to this gnarly machine, which rumbles from 6am to 6pm, 7 days a week.

Area yachtsman say they are careful to avoid the machine as it lumbers from one slip to another on its ponderous journey through the marina. Surprisingly, they also report that the historically high pluff mud that has plagued the marina in recent years is suddenly gone after the machine, and the mysterious Nessie Marina Monster that follows behind it, leave a slip.

If you have any additional information about this rare discovery, please contact this office by using the Comment link below.