Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 Portsmouth, VA

What a day this turns out to be! 

It’s suppose to be nasty today.  Rain.  Thunderstorms. High winds.  So we are planning on staying put at this free , High Street Landing, in Portsmouth for 3 nights….that’s suppose to be the limit a boat can stay.   We haven’t seen another boat come in, so I’m sure if we need to stay longer no one’s going to say a thing!

Portsmouth Light Ship
Once we got up and moving, we grabbed our foul weather jackets and decided we needed to walk.  We stopped at the Visitors’ Center, saw the Portsmouth Light Ship, walked around the North Street Landing, and continued over to the Tidewater Marina.   Tidewater is a large marina with a nice marine store.  We've discovered that many of these marinas order their merchandise from West Marine.  When lunch time came, we headed back to the boat…and the rains came…hard…on and off all day!  Yuck!!
North Street Landing-free bulkhead
Rita invited us over to eat this evening.  She and David had met a couple yesterday afternoon while they were admiring Whisper.   The four of them ended up doing lunch together at Roger Brown’s and Kathy and Dan bought them their lunch!   Do you believe it?  They were complete strangers!!  So many of the people we have met along our journeys have been so nice and hospitable.  So, Rita wanted to reciprocate by cooking dinner for them.  Not only were the four of us going to Whisper  but a mechanic from Kubota was suppose to show up to check the transmission.   What craziness…Mike the Mechanic  showed up late, about 5:00 and our dinner party starts at 6:00.  Talk about close calls!! I actually encouraged Rita to cancel her party but she wouldn't listen.  At least her cooking kept her mind off of the mechanical problems their boat was having.
Happy Hours II & Whisper at High Street Landing
Dan and Kathy live in Elizabeth City right on the Pasquotank River next to the free college docks.  They keep their 32 foot sailboat in front of their house.  The story gets unbelievable.  When Whisper motored by their dock a few days ago up toward the Dismal Swamp, David had his binoculars checking out Dan’s boat.  Dan in turn was checking out Whisper as it went by.  Their two 32 ft sailboats are very similar in design…so yesterday, when Dan and Kathy were in Portsmouth they noticed Whisper at the bulkhead and walked over to talk to them….a friendship in the making!!  How real is that?

Rita out-did herself again with the meal.  She started with wine, then a beautiful salad, and finally a pot of porkloin with potatoes, onions, and peppers.  I gave Rita my piece of porkloin to add to the pot so we had plenty of food for 6 people.  What a wonderful night and what great people Kathy and Dan are!!  After dinner, Rita offered everyone a cup of expresso…not for me… and served my brownies.  Perfect! 

When we were  ready to leave, David opened his slider and hatch boards, looked out, and said “I don’t think anybody is going anywhere”!  What’s this all about?  It was an hour before high tide and the 70 mph winds blew even more water up the Elizabeth River and into this landing where we were docked.  The water covered our dock and it was 2 feet above the surrounding cement sidewalk.  Holy Cow!!  David put his wooden ladder over the side of Whisper and the four of us waded across the dock and up onto the cement.  The water was freezing cold, plus the temperature had dropped 30 degrees from the time we were sitting in the cockpit to the time we came out of the cabin….over a 3 hour time!  After Chuck adjusted Happy Hours’ lines,  I looked at our step and knew I couldn't get up into our boat!!!!  Chuck’s like a monkey and climbed up using our fenders…no way could I do that!  I went back into David and Rita’s boat.  We sat watching television for 1.5 hours.  Then, I started thinking... the tide won’t be low enough for me to climb aboard our boat until 2 or 3 am and the temps are still dropping.  Tonight’s low is 35 degrees!!!!!David and Chuck came up with an easy solution.  I don’t know why nobody thought of it sooner.  Chuck put on his full foul weather gear as well as his boots, lowered our dinghy and rowed back to Whisper.  David moved his ladder to the port side and I climbed down into the dinghy and we rowed back to an easy few steps up into the transom of our boat. Needless to say, Chuck wasn't very happy that he had to leave the comfy-dry interior of Happy Hours II to get me, but hey, I wasn't a happy camper that I was wet and cold too!  The down comforter is definitely going to be used tonight and possibly for the rest of the week.  Virginia is unseasonably cold this spring.  What a night!  Once the water receded enough, we had to go out in the rain again and readjust the lines.  We should have stayed in the Bahamas longer….

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