The overnight journey from Ocean City to Norfolk unfolded exceptionally smoothly, with calm winds and waves—though we wouldn’t have minded a bit of sailing breeze. The tunnels beneath the entrance to Chesapeake Bay added an interesting dimension to the trip. Riding the current on the motor, we arrived ahead of schedule and, in the darkness, opted to dock at Rebel Marina instead of heading to Norfolk Harbor. The warm, homely atmosphere at Rebel Marina was welcoming, though the distant proximity to Norfolk posed a challenge for city exploration via taxi. The next day, we relocated to the splendid Waterside Marina in Downtown Norfolk, where the dockmaster, James, greeted us with care and attention.
En route to the marina, we witnessed Norfolk’s claim to fame—the world’s largest naval base, teeming with naval ships, including six aircraft carriers. Coming from Sevastopol, a city with the Black Sea and Ukrainian fleets, the openness of the naval base here was remarkable. Passing close to an aircraft carrier was an awe-inspiring experience, and military boats promptly escorted us away from the navigation channel with flashing lights. The sheer size of the aircraft carrier, as well as a passing container ship, left a lasting impression.
Our two-day stay in Norfolk involved weathering a storm and exploring the city. The Nauticus Museum, accompanied by the real battle cruiser Wisconsin moored nearby, provided fascinating insights into ship life. During a bike ride around the city, Irina had a memorable encounter with the water—caught on the step while taxiing close to the pier, she and her bicycle took an unexpected plunge. With the help of a good samaritan, Iryna was swiftly rescued, but the bike met a watery fate. A determined effort with a dinghy anchor, in waters about 5 meters deep, successfully retrieved the sunken bicycle.
In the marina, we reunited with old travel companions Topher and Arianna, along with their wonderful children Bishop and Harrison. They, too, were en route to the Bahamas on their 58-foot powerboat, Roaming Dreams. Arianna’s Ukrainian roots led to a pleasant language exchange. Interestingly, they had also lived in Ottawa at one point, stationed at the Chrysler Marina alongside us. It’s a small world!
Once the storm subsided and Iryna dried off, we set sail along the Intracoastal Waterway, ready for new adventures and challenges.