ICW: Norfolk-Great Bridge

The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) spans 3,000 miles along the Atlantic coast of the United States, running from Massachusetts to Florida and extending into the Gulf of Mexico to Texas. It incorporates natural inlets, rivers, bays, and sounds, as well as artificial canals, providing a navigable route with fewer open-sea hazards. Our journey along the waterway began in Norfolk, where it forms part of the Elizabeth River.

Passing through an industrial landscape adorned with a variety of bridges, we reached the Great Bridge Lock. Drawing on our experiences with locks on the St. Lawrence River, we navigated through safely. Beyond the lock, we encountered the Great Bridge Bridge, narrowly missing the opening, with the next scheduled for an hour later. Opting to stay, we moored at the free dock near the Battle of Great Bridge Museum. Though the museum was closed, informative boards surrounding it recounted the events of the 1775 battle during the American Revolutionary Wars, resulting in a rebel victory and the loss of British control in the Dominion of Virginia.

This location also provided a delightful opportunity to explore the adjacent pine forest along the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, which commences here. After conducting CTD cast at the dock the next morning, we continued our journey along this scenic channel.

North Railroad Bridge
Jordan Bridge
Norfolk Southern Railway Bridge
Passing the bridge
Two more passed!
Entering wilderness area
Arriving at the Great Bridge Lock
Tied in the lock
Ready to cast off
Leaving the Great Bridge Lock
Docked in a waiting area near the twin bascule span Great Bridge Bridge
Passing the Great Bridge Bridge
Docked near Museum of the Great Bridge Battle
The Battle of Great Bridge Monument
Structure of a causeway, very common in this boggy area
Loblolly pine Iryna’s hairdress
Museum of the Battle of Great Bridge (unfortunately, was closed)
Walking pine trees path
Look up!
Leaving the Great Bridge dock
Plot of CTD cast data – brackish waters with low transperency and high concentrations of Chlorophyll and organic matter