Today is yet another beautiful day for cruising. The anchor is up in Willoughby Bay at 7:40 AM for the short hop to Portsmouth, VA on the Elizabeth River, a distance of 12 miles.
Our course takes us parallel to the Norfolk Naval Air Station, where a series of older warships including two carriers are dry docked for extensive repairs. We steer Cutter Loose alongside the shipping channel in an effort to grant maneuvering room in the deep water to the large navy vessels, cargo ships and tugs. There is constant ship-to-ship communication on the VHF radio. By 9:45 AM, we are docked at the City of Portsmouth’s municipal boat basin located at the edge of the City’s Old Towne neighborhood and within easy walking distance of downtown amenities. Portsmouth is located at mile zero of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. From here, it is 1,250 statute miles along the waterway to Key West, FL.
We convince our friends Hayden and Radeen to join us in an excursion to downtown Norfolk. For $1.50 per person one way, we are whisked via water taxi across the Elizabeth River to Norfolk. We enjoy lunch at a Cuban restaurant on Granby Street, then visit the Main Library and a huge downtown shopping mall.
In the evening, we attend the 7 PM performance of the movie Footloose at a restored theater a few blocks from our slip at the South Boat Basin. Instead of stadium seating, this theater features tables and swivel chairs. A telephone on the table enables patrons to phone their food and beverage order to the kitchen.
Our day ashore provides a refreshing alternative to the cruising regimen. After a chart discussion on tomorrow’s itinerary, it is lights out to rest for our early start in the morning.