Although we skipped the Rendezvous, that didn’t prevent us from taking the ferry over to hobnob with some Loopers. Charlie tried to lure us into Bushwhackers but we held firm. Bushwhackers or no Bushwhackers, we were happy to see Charlie and Robin and sad to think we might not catch up to them for a good while unless peer pressure works and they join the cool-people club and do the Down East. But at least Charlie was wearing a shirt.
Saturday we headed down to Elizabeth City to pick up the parts we shipped there before we decided to dodge the Dismal Swamp. Since we were passing by anyway, we stopped to see what we missed. Yup, pretty cool. And pretty narrow, although the park ranger as much as called us weenies.
We got back, did some boat stuff, and watched some Justified.
Roughly thirty minutes after sunrise, the aptly named Carnival Sunrise pulled up across the river. This ship apparently is a big deal for Norfolk and the Carnival cruise line. Roughly thirty-one minutes after sunrise, however, the Carnival Sunrise started annoying us and everyone else who enjoys some semblance of peace and quiet. We recognize that every single man, woman, and child on the 2,754-passenger manifest might enjoy the exact same music—and clearly they all need to hear the important announcements that come rapid-fire every few seconds—but this is a ship worth half a billion dollars. How about sprinkling more small speakers around and dialing back the volume by a few hundred decibels? We feel confident that the rest of Virginia really doesn’t care about what’s going on over there.
Fortunately, they left late in the afternoon. Even more fortunately, we were there to watch. This sucker is as long and wide as a football field, yet started off down the river towards the Swamp. If we barely can fit in there, no way this thing can. Should we fire up the radio and warn the Captain he was heading the wrong way? Apparently, however, six maneuvering thrusters come in handy.
This morning we headed out, past rows of navy ships that don’t seem to be partially dismantled. Very cool. It’s a beautiful day. Nothing can slow us down now baby.
Okay, maybe one thing can slow us down. “Misty Pearl, Misty Pearl. This is Warship 61. Over.” Well that’s new. Dude said he was “headed out to sea” and asked if we could slow down and let him out of his slip. That’s like when Dana asks Doug to pick up his clothes and take out the trash. Even though the words superficially are polite, they carry certain grave implications. We let him out of his slip.
“Warship 61” is the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage. We figured what the hell, a destroyer that escorts battleships is good enough to escort Misty Pearl, so we slid in behind at a distance way too close for Dana but not nearly close enough for Doug.
Plus, we need to get up to Mobjack Bay at high-tide-ish. We can’t be poking along at six knots when we need to go eight. Let’s pass him. One of us reluctantly took the wheel—shuddering with what she claimed was embarrassment—while the other one of us tried to videotape the bold move. It’s not every day we zip by a huge gunboat underway on a real life mission. Unfortunately the sun was in the wrong spot and efforts to change the iPhone settings to account for it yielded either a large naked woman or a hippopotamus, depending on how one interprets the resulting Rorshoch-esque blot of dark smudges. So no video. About then the Navy advised us to stay in our lane, bro, because the Ramage was about to speed up. We figured it was the nautical equivalent of road rage, but we took the prudent course since at that point we were exactly a minute and twenty-two seconds away from a newspaper headline that truly would’ve embarrassed Dana if we’d survived the collision.
Fort Monroe—off to the port there—is the largest fort the U.S. ever constructed. It also served as Jeff Davis’ prison after the War of Northern Aggression. Ironically, however, nobody from the fort raised a single finger to defend Brent and Karen that time someone the Justified screenwriters would call a “gun thug” shot at them while they were minding their own business aboard Second Wave. (Of course, it’s just an historical site now so maybe fighting gang-bangers is a bit much to expect.)
As the Ramage faded into the horizon, we cruised on into the Chesapeake Bay. We last saw these waters at the entrance to the C & D Canal last May.
Ahh yes. That means those Chesapeake crab traps are back. Like a case of herpes.
We pulled in to Zimmerman’s boat yard close enough to high tide to make it uneventful. This means Misty Pearl has completed the Loop.* We haven’t finished ourselves, of course, but this is where we had the Survey, Sea Trial, and Bombing back in October of 2017. Damn that was a long time ago. Back then we barely knew our aft from a hole in the ground. Now we’re darn near to being borderline competent.
Max (the key man at the boat yard) and Jani (the key woman at Waterway Guide) in completely different ways both have been a huge help to us along the way. We had a super fun dinner with them at the delicious Thai restaurant in Gloucester.
No blog posts for a while because we’ll be off the boat for a while. Hopefully she’ll be back in the water ready to go on June 7.
* We don’t count the trip up to Colonial Beach since someone else moved the boat for us. We’ll officially cross our wake at the mouth of the Potomac River, and celebrate at Solomons.