Today’s destination is Willoughby Bay in Norfolk, VA, a relatively short distance of 44 miles from our Jackson Creek anchorage in Deltaville, VA. The wind today is less than 10 knots from the east, which permits us to motorsail south to Thimble Shoal, the line of demarcation between the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads.
Hampton Roads refers generally to the body of water that connects the communities of Hamton, Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth. The transition from the wide open bucolic waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the military/industrial character of Hampton Roads is dramatic. We sail above the Interstate 64 tunnel and past historic Fort Wool to enter Willoughby Bay.
Willoughby Bay is a convenient harbor of refuge for pleasure boats transiting Hampton Roads. The southern shore of the Bay is dominated by the Norfolk Naval Air Station. There is a steady stream of helicopters and AWACS aircraft landing and taking off at this base. To the north is Interstate 64 and its steady stream of traffic. Willoughby Bay is not a destination to enjoy peace, quiet and solitude.
This afternoon, we enjoy visitors aboard Cutter Loose. My high school best friend, Jim and his wife Chris drive to Willoughby Bay from their home in nearby Virginia Beach. To their credit, Jim and Chris responded to a last minute opportunity to meet. Later on, we are joined by Hayden and Radeen aboard Island Spirit who are sailing south in tandem with Cutter Loose.
During the night, the wind shifts to the northwest and intensifies to 15 knots. The anchor chain creaks and groans for the better part of the night as Cutter Loose responds to the gusts. The noise from the anchor rode taken together with the highway noise makes for a restless night…all part of the cruising experience.