Portsmouth, VA to Coinjock, NC
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 15
Leaving from Portsmouth we had two choices due to the opening restrictions on the Gilmerton Bridge 5 miles south of where we were docked... it was opening the last time at 0630 hours and would not open again until 0930 hours... we opted to sleep in and go through at 0930 hours. We departed from the city dock in Portsmouth, VA at 0830 hours giving us plenty of time to make it to the Gilmerton Bridge by 0930 hours.
I think I will label today as "Bridge Day" as we had several to pass today. The Belt Line RR Bridge (normally open), the Jordan Lift Bridge (removed no longer there), the Old Virginia RR Bridge (normally open), the Gilmerton Bridge (restricted opening), #7 RR Bridge directly adjacent to the Gilmerton, the Steel Bridge, the Great Bridge Lock and Bridge, Norfolk Southern RR Bridge (normally open), the Centerville Turnpike Bridge, and the North Landing Bridge. Nine bridges and one lock... :(
Belt Line the first bridge was open and not a problem... as we approached it the Old Virginia RR Bridge broadcast over the VHF that it was closing... not enough time for us to make it through... so we waited along with several other vessels... I believe there were 8 other boats waiting with us. Waited about 10 minutes and the train crossed and the bridge lifted... we still had plenty of time to make it to the Gilmerton Bridge by 0930 opening.
We rounded the last bend before the Gilmerton Bridge and I saw a lot of boats already there and waiting for the 0930 opening. We all piled up close to the bridge and the bridge tender asked if we could transit the bridge in tandem... two boats side-by-side... the span has a 125 foot wide opening so this was no problem... after we passed I heard the bridge tender contact the next bridge... "Steel Bridge... 10 motors and 13 sails coming your way"... 23 boats were waiting and had gone under the bridge... WOW!
After the Gilmerton Bridge I saw two boats break off the ICW and head toward the Dismal Swamp... so we were down to 21 boats heading towards the Steel Bridge. All 21 boats made the Steel Bridge's 1000 opening and we were headed toward the Great Bridge Lock... I did not mention that two of these 21 boats were mega yachts... 100+ foot... so I bumped ahead as fast I could passing as many boats as I could... I knew space in the lock would be tight and I did not think all 21 boats were going to fit... needed to be toward the top of the pack...
Arrived at the lock at approximately 1030 hours and was maybe number 6 in the pack at this point... I made it in port side to behind the two mega yachts... and there were five other boats behind me on the port side... and there were 11 boats were on the starboard side of the lock with one boat rafting up to another boat... 19 boats got in the lock... the last two boats arriving had to wait for the next locking through.
We left the lock and passed under the Great Bridge Bridge at it's 1100 opening and headed to our next bridge... Norfolk Southern RR Bridge... which was open... no sweat... next came the Centerville Turnpike Bridge that opens every half hour so making it was no problem... passed under it at it's 1130 opening.
Next bridge was the North Landing Bridge... opens every 30 minutes also... but it is 5 miles past the Centerville Bridge... you just can't make it in 30 minutes at 7 knots... but with so much boat traffic still in front of us I thought maybe we might just make it as it would take some time for the boats in front of us to pass through... NOPE... arrived just a little bit too late and the bridge tender was not going to hold it for us... :( so we waited at the bridge till the 1230 opening along with 13 other boats of the original 19 boats that had left the lock together... the two mega yachts and 4 other faster motor boats made the 1200 opening.
After the bridges the boat pack started to spread out with everyone gong slightly different speeds... but I knew the next stop for all of these boats would be the Coinjock area... exactly, the same place we planned to stop... Susan called ahead to Midway Marina located in Coinjock and made a reservation for us so we were sure to have a spot of dock... :)
Eventually, 11 of the 13 boats that we had left with at the North Landing Bridge passed us... we are running at a lower rpm to conserve fuel... so unless we get a boost from current we are moving at 6.5 knots... a knot slower than normal cruising speed but it takes our fuel consumption rate way down... between 1.2 and 1.5 gallons per hours compared to 2 gallons per hour. We arrived to the Midway Marina in Coinjock, NC and were securely docked at 1630 hours.
We traveled today for 8 hours covering 41.6 nautical miles and averaging 5.21 knots.
Trip totals to date:
Distance: 633.56 nautical miles
Hours: 103 hours 21 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.13 knots
Days not moving: 3