Friday, July 19, 2019

Summer 2019 Boat Trip!!! Day 1

Baltimore to Norfolk
162 Nautical Miles
Departure from Baltimore:  5:15 a.m.
Arrived in Norfolk 1:30 p.m.
Weather:  Gorgeous day, flat seas, hot

Our annual family boat trip!!! I've waited an entire year for this, and the last few weeks were busier at work than I've been in a long time, so it's even more exciting than usual to get on the boat and set sail. This year, we've decided to go to Charleston, SC, where we've never been. Ann was not crazy about the two open water legs of the trip where it can get rough, and Benny did not want to miss too many days of his summer internship at APL, so the plan is that I'm heading down on the boat with Elana and Tamara and "uncle" Tony from New Jersey, and Ann and Benny will fly down to meet us in Charleston.
Yesterday, Elana and I spent most of the day getting the boat ready. We split the bed in the front cabin, turning the queen bed there into two single beds for the girls to use - first time we've done that. We put bedding on all the beds, and loaded up enough food for our trip, stocked up on such essential items as marine toilet paper and bought a new flag, as the old one was in tatters. Tony arrived at 7:30 pm by train from New Jersey, and we picked him up and brought him to the boat.

Ann brought Tamara down to the marina and hung out with us on the boat until around 10 pm. After she went home, I taught Tony some knots and worked on them with him and the girls so I would have a well trained crew.
We bid Ann farewell, and got ready for bed - although I knew I would have trouble sleeping in anticipation of our trip this morning.
The night before our departure - an excited captain and crew
I woke up around 4:20 a.m. and could not sleep any more. I am normally an early riser, but not this early. I was so wired and eager to get moving that I did not stay in bed long and by 5:15, I had gotten us off the dock and on our way. A groggy Tony came upstairs to the fly bridge to join me, and I had him drive while I put away the lines and fenders. Tony went back to bed, and I drove alone in the early morning calm. There really is nothing better as far as I'm concerned than boating at dusk with nobody else out there, just you and the water on a calm gorgeous morning. I was in heaven.
Pulling out of the slip just after 5:15 a.m. in Baltimore
Passing under the Key bridge as the sun rises
Everything was going smoothly, and when I got to open waters, I decided to start using the radar and encountered my first glitch of the trip. Radar did not work.
I was frustrated and tried a few different things, but to no avail. Today, I knew I wouldn't need it, but if it ever got foggy on our trip, I would not want to be without radar. After several failed attempts, I had one more idea. I ran down below and rebooted the chart plotter breaker. When it came back up, I turned on the radar and voilà, I had radar! I wish all problems could be solved this easily.

I was still the only one awake at 6:40 a.m. when I arrived at the Bay bridge. Very few boats out meant I could stay on auto pilot and just enjoy what was turning out to be a glorious day.
 When I'm on a multi-day boat trip, I am fanatical about checking the weather. I use several different apps which utilize different weather data sources, and I check and double check. Today, day 1 of our trip, as I cruised under the Bay bridge and into the more open and deeper portions of the Southern Chesapeake Bay, I checked my radar app one more time, and could not have seen a more perfect image.
When Elana woke up, she joined me up top, and I had her take over a few times so I could go down to the bathroom or get food. Glad I taught her how to drive this boat! Tamara showed up around 11:00 a.m., just in time for us to see some dolphins!

As we pulled into Norfolk, the girls taught Tony how to attach the docking lines, and we pulled into Tidewater marina to fill up on fuel.

Although it was a gorgeous ride on an idyllic day, the one thing that was nagging me all day long was our fuel consumption and whether we could make it to Norfolk in one shot without refueling. After consulting with several other Prestige 560 owners, I was convinced that we could do it. I started with two full tanks, totally 581 gallons of diesel. My calculations were that we would arrive with 111, and amazingly when we were ready to refuel at Tidewater, that was almost exactly our fuel level. After fueling, we drive across the river to Waterside, and tied up on the bulkhead. I prefer floating docks, but with my well-trained crew, we had no trouble adjusting lines and fenders for 3 feet of tide and fixed pilings.
As we got into Norfolk early, thanks to our 5:15 a.m. departure, we had time to visit the Nautica museum and the US Wisconsin battleship.

Inside we discovered that there are some height distances among us.
Especially inside the battleship. One of the few times that I had an advantage for being short. Poor Tony kept hitting his head.
Oh wait, now I'm taller!
We were able to raise and the lower the battleship's anchor (not really).

After a nice dinner in town, and of course, bubble tea, we went back to the boat. There is a band playing right in front of our slip - not the ideal spot. Tony and Tamara went to listen to the music close up, as it's not loud enough already, and Elana and I are on the boat on our computers. I think she's watching Netflix, and I'm writing this blog.

Tomorrow is our canal day. We'll go through a lock and wait for some bridges to open, and otherwise it should be a relaxing peaceful run through the Intercostal Waterway as we head to the outer banks of North Carolina. Good nigh!