Downtown Norfolk, and Pandora in the heart of it all.

It’s Thursday morning and the sun is not quite up yet.  Well, it’s coming up now that I am finishing up on editing this post.  So, how about the sunrise over the city? We are anchored in downtown Norfolk, just across the river from a mass of office buildings and a mall.  On the other shore, close to us, there is a large city hospital and huge ships are coming and going constantly.  Interestingly, as the ships, some over 1,ooo feet long, pass by they leave barely a ripple as they are going so slowly, usually accompanied by the ever so attentive tugs.  Did I say that I just love tugs?  If you haven’t heard that you need to read more of my posts.  I love tugs. 

This huge, 1,050’container ship (I know that because of AIS) came into the harbor just as we did.  I did my best to stay out of his way.   Anything this big can’t be “her”.  This is an alarming angle to see such a big ship from.This fishing boat gave way too and steamed right by us.It’s hard to believe that there was a time when this fort was the major defense for the city.   It’s funny to think that the officer’s quarters were outside of the walls of the fort.  I guess when the enemy approached they would sound the alarm and say “quick, run away, behind the walls, quick”.   What a guy will do for a view.  Hard to see the water from behind an earthen wall.  Today’s navy could level this with in a single shot.  That’s progress, I think…As we entered the harbor yesterday evening we decided to head down here bypassing Hampton for a few days.  Unfortunately, I underestimated the distance that we would be backtracking as we still plan on going back to Hampton for the cruiser’s weekend and to pick up a few items that we have ordered.   I guess we will catch the tide on Friday and head back up the harbor, TEN MILES, that’s a few hours at Pandora speed, to Hampton.   However, it will be fun to be there.  We also have a few friends coming down from Williamsburg to visit us while we are there.  Another plus for Hampton.

Remember the neglected foul weather gear and sandals that we left, by accident, with our son Rob in Baltimore?  The’ll be in Hampton so going there is a must. Ditto for the new voltage regulator I ordered for the engine as the charging system is acting up.  So much for the work done at the marina in Deep River.  They didn’t pick up on that problem even though the mechanic spent 3.5 hours messing with it.  Hopefully, the supplier, Hamilton Ferris, is right and the problem is a regulator one and not something bigger.  The guy I spoke with on the phone seemed pretty confident about his diagnosis.  And, he recommended a “smart regulator” with all sorts of flashing lights and glowing numbers.  That just has to be what I need.  So much for cost control and fiscal responsibility.  Of course, there is a version that was 1/3 the cost but it doesn’t have flashing lights and glowing numbers.  Flashing lights and glowing number have to be better.  I need one of those.  Let’s hope it’s smart enough.  Fingers crossed.

The problem is that the batteries aren’t charging properly as the sensor thinks that they are charged one moment and not the next.  That means that the supply of power to charge the batteries is all over the place, charging 60 amps one second and nothing the next, literally.  And that process goes on constantly.  Not a lot of charging being done.   Fingers crossed that the folks at Hamilton are right.  If so, that doesn’t do much to give me confidence in the mechanics in Deep River where I spent a ton having the boat worked on.

Speaking of the engine, after all of that work they did, because I didn’t think I would do it right, I am now the proud owner of a few slow (fortunately) oil and fuel leaks.  That seems absurd to me as there weren’t any leaks prior to the engine being worked on.   Now I get to hunt them down, the very thing I was trying to avoid by paying someone else to do the work.   Enough complaining for now.  Something to keep me occupied for a few hours today.  What fun.

Anyway, more to the point, Norfolk is a happening place if you like big ships.  It’s home to a huge Naval presence and there is a massive amount of commercial shipping coming and going all of the time.  Add to that, the lights of a big city and a waterfront mall, and I can see why so many cruisers stop here on their way south.

Here’s a sample, and only a small one, of some of the ships we saw as we came in.

Of course, I should start with this 1,050’ monster being docked.  This is the one that came into the harbor as we did.  We followed them down the harbor as did two tugs.  The tugs did an impressive job of turning the huge ship 180 degrees and pushing her against the dock.  The amount of water that was coming out from behind both tugs was quite a sight and to see them turn the ship in it’s own length, against the tide, wow.One pushed as the other pulled.  They turned her in her own length.  Smoke billowing.  “Beware, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.”  That applies here too. They were really close. 

Tons of big grey navy ships, one more massive than the next.

This one is supposed to be less visible on radar.  Not so sure I buy that.  No wait, we all “bought that” and lots more like her.  Your tax dollars at work.  Perhaps I’ll turn on my radar when I next pass by in a few days and see if I can see her on the screen.  Big target?  I’m thinking yes…I”ll bet that this baby will show up just fine on radar.  HUGE!!!  Oops, they forgot to get all the planes off of this one. 
I guess that it takes a lot of fuel to run a navy.  This supply ship certainly has lots of hoses to push fuel through.  Oh yeah, and we saw pelicans.  I guess that they are happy to co-habitate with the US Navy.The coast guard gets to ignore the “no wake zone” signs, it seems.  Pretty neat though.  And, they don’t have to worry about the cost of fuel.Perhaps the neatest thing of all was the AWACS surveillance plane that flew overhead.  Pretty good view.  I wonder if they “surveilled” me.  Enough pictures of the things Congress spends money on to help us.  

Let’s go shopping too!!!

Today we will go ashore for a tour of the waterfront.  There are a number of museums on the water including one that houses the Battle Ship Missouri.  Hard to believe that something that big can be obsolete.    I’ll have to learn more.  

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