I want to announce the berth of our new little girl.
Length: 56 feet
Weight: 56,000 pounds
Name: Magic Carpet
First meal: 100 gallons of diesel fuel
I met my captain-for-a-day early this morning, and after several minor and not-so-minor snafus, mostly having to do with paperwork, we finally were handed the keys to the boat, I was given a pat on the back and a friendly “Get outta here.”
We had it planned so that working with the bridge and lock opening schedules, we should arrive at the yard where we’ll have some work done by around 2:00 to 2:15.
First, we didn’t get the go-ahead to leave until nearly 12:30, almost 2 hours later than planned.
The first unplanned stop was about 100 yards from the marina where we sat in the middle of the channel for almost 30 minutes waiting for the next hourly opening of the “Great Bridge”. So named, I’m told, because in days long past, there was a bridge in the area that was sizeable for the day and therefore carried the moniker “The Great Bridge”. Now the whole area is called Great Bridge, and the current bridge, while certainly interesting and rather large, isn’t what I’d call “Great”.
Anyway, since this is the first structure I encountered on my newly purchased vessel, I’ve attached a photo of it for your viewing pleasure. This was taken as it opened to allow us to pass under, and into the nearly-adjacent Great Bridge Lock.
The whole trip was through speed-restricted water, so what I thought would take about two hours took more like four and a half.
As we got close to one bridge that we should have been able to pass under, we saw some police boats milling around under the bridge and when we were about 200 yards away, one of them peeled away and came at us with blue lights on.
My first thought was “CRAP!!! I haven’t had this thing for three hours and already I’m attracting the fuzz!!” Turns out, he had no interest in me. He hailed us on the radio and asked us to hold our position for a few minutes because they had divers down under the bridge. Maybe 10 minutes later, we could see the divers come up and move out of the channel. He called us back and said we could proceed slowly and be on our way. Never did find out what the divers were looking for.
As we neared Portsmouth, the area became decidedly more industrial, and we began to see workyards filled with US Navy ships being repaired.
We finally made it to our destination around 5:00 and got tied up to the face dock. She’ll have to wait until tomorrow to come out of the water, so I took this as my last view until we come back in a few weeks to pick her up and start south.
It was an uneventful trip overall, and I think Janet and I are going to have a lot of fun with our new little girl. I think the boatyard is going to have a lot of fun with our checkbook. Oh well, you can’t take it with you, so you may as well leave it at the boatyard.
To be continued…