Monday, May 30, 2011

Voyage to Virgina

Passage sailed out of Ocracoke at six a.m. on Friday, May 27th.  Our hopes of sailing Pamlico Sound were dashed by weak winds on the stern, so we motored and motor sailed the 58.4 nautical miles to Manteo on Roanoke Island.  On the way we passed the Bodie Island lighthouse.

We spent two nights at the Manteo Waterfront Marina.  Manteo is a beautiful village steeped in history and maritime tradition.  One block from the marina is the Maritime Museum, which celebrates the boat building tradition of the island.

The museum includes this beautiful replica of a lighthouse that once lit the southern tip of Roanoke Island.  A long boardwalk along the harbor allows everyone to soak in the nautical life and tradition of the island.  Across the street from the marina sits the Blue Moon Cafe, home of the best hamburger Sue and I have every eaten.

Across the water from the marina, a working replica of a sixteenth century English sailing ship, the Queen Elizabeth II, sits moored at a fabulous museum celebrating the life of the Indians and the settlement of the area by the English. 

Two crew members in period costume explained the workings of the ship, always staying "in character" even when talking about unrelated things such as Sue's hat clip.
The tiller of the ship is in the second cabin down, and it is controlled by a vertical rod on the deck above.

The galley is modern and spacious.

Paths in the park let to various displays, such as the early English settlement.  There reenactors demonstrated the skills used to build a life in the wilderness.

The working blacksmith building was constructed of beams squared off by axes.

Other paths led to exhibits showing how the Indians constructed their longhouses.

A completed long house could be inspected inside and out.  We also saw a 50 minute movie about the first encounters between whites and Indians in this area.  We spent a full afternoon here, and could have come back again to spend more time at the impressive indoor museum that is also on the grounds.

We learned that even the marina manager's boat fit the historic atmosphere of Manteo.  He has a meticulously restored 1969 Columbia 21 daysailer.  She really was quite beautiful.

After our fabulous visit to Manteo, we were eager to get underway on Sunday, May 29th.  We left the dock at 6:40 and motorsailed 68.1 nautical miles in a little over 11 hours, arriving at Great Bridge, Virginia at 5:45 p.m.  They do have a great looking bridge in Great Bridge.

We had hoped to tie up at the free wall on the other side of the draw bridge, but it was full.  We spent the night at the Atlantic Yacht Basin, and were rewarded with another glimpse of history.

This impressive old Trumpy yacht was being refitted in the yard.  Recognize her?

The name on the smokestack says it all.  I was really excited.  After all, US Presidents from Herbert Hoover through Ronald Reagan had conducted official business on this presidential yacht.  The 104 foot 1925 Trumpy still resides in Washington, DC, though now she is available to charter for what, I am sure, is slightly more than a modest fee.

Today is Memorial Day, Monday May 30th.  We traveled only 10.7 miles today.  Limited openings by bridges and the Great Bridge lock lengthened our journey to 2.5 hours.  We arrived at Waterside Marina in Norfolk, where we were able to pick up our mail.  We will begin our voyage up the Chesapeake Bay tomorrow, but first we will eat at Joe's.

That is, unless we decide to try one of the other restaurants right here at the marina.  We are enjoying a little bit of a heat wave, as the high for the next three days is to be about 91.  Hope that you are enjoying good weather too.

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