Norfolk, Virginia


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Norfolk is home to the world’s largest naval base with ships ranging from aircraft carriers to destroyers to nuclear submarines. Navy ships are moored on both sides of the the channel into Norfolk, with security patrol craft in the air. The city also has a large and busy shipping port. As a fitting envoy, we passed a nuclear submarine heading to sea in the channel leading towards the city.

From St. Michael’s Maryland we continued south through Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk Virginia. There we toured the USS Wisconsin, an Iowa-class battleship, visited the Virginia Air and Space Museum and took in a Norfolk Admirals ice hockey game, along with enjoying several excellent restaurants.

Trip highlights from Dec. 13th through 18th, 2016 in Chesapeake Bay and Norfolk, Virgina follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps

12/13/2016
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LNG Terminal

The Dominion Cove Point LNG Terminal imports and stores liquefied natural gas (LNG). Dominion currently is constructing facilities for exporting LNG as well.
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NAVAIR

A forest of antennas at the Naval Air Systems Command headquarters at the Patuxent River mouth. Established in 1966 as the successor to the Navy’s Bureau of Naval Weapons, NAVAIR’s mission is to provide full life-cycle support of naval aviation aircraft, weapons and systems operated by Sailors and Marines.
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Smith Point Light

The current caisson structure, completed in 1897, is the fifth lightouse built at Smith Point at the mouth of the Potomac River. The first three were stone towers built in 1802, 1807 and 1828 that that were abandoned due to erosion. The fourth was a screw-pile lighthouse that ice carried away in 1895. In between, three lightships also have been stationed at the point. The light was automated in 1971, among the last on the Chesapeake, and still is active.
Sandy Point

We stopped for the night behind Sandy Point and had this calm and peaceful anchorage all to ourselves.
12/14/2016
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Eye of Sauron

In Baltimore we replaced our 8,500-10,000 lumens forward-facing light with one that is 15,000 lumens. This was our first test of the light in the dark at sea and wow, does it shed some light. It casts an incredibly bright beam that lights up the waterway in front of us without illuminating the foredeck. We were reminded of the “Eye of Sauron” from the J.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
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Submarine

Norfolk is home to the world’s largest naval base with ships ranging from aircraft carriers to destroyers to nuclear submarines. As a fitting envoy, we passed a nuclear submarine heading to sea in the channel leading towards the city. A video of our arrival into Norfolk is at https://youtu.be/r4dfD1e95n8.
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Waterside Marina

Moored at the Waterside Marina in Norfolk, Virginia. The marina is nearly empty this late in the year—we’re the only transient boat here. The background three large navy ships are out of the water at the General Dynamics drydocks.
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Norfolk Tap Room

We had an excellent lunch with craft beer at the nearby Norfolk Tap Room
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USS Wisconsin

The USS Wisconsin is a Iowa-class battleship on permanent display here in Norfolk. We’ll be touring it tomorrow.
12/15/2016
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General Dynamics

The pre-dawn view to the General Dynamics drydocks from our slip.
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Sunrise

A fabulous sunrise over the Berkley Bridge that crosses the Elizabeth River.
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Museum

At the Hampton Roads Naval Museum to tour the battleship USS Wisconsin.
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Port Display

In addition to the USS Wisconsin, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum has a number of excellent naval and maritime displays including a detailed treatment of the Port of Norfolk. This display compares the ship sizes that various east coast ports can accommodate.
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Shell

The nine 16-in (406 mm)/50 cal Mark 7 guns in Wisconsin‘s main battery can project a 2,700 lb (1,200 kg) armor-piercing shell roughly 20 mi (32 km). This display shows compares one of those shells to a Volkswagen Beetle. The Beetle is a little bulkier and wouldn’t project as well, but weighs the same.
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Guns

Looking down the bow to six of the the Wisconsin‘s 16-in (406 mm)/50 cal Mark 7 guns.
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Boilers

Starting this year, engine room tours of the Wisconsin are available, taking visitors through previously inaccessible areas of the ship. This is one of the eight steam boilers that power the Wisconsin.
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Broadway

The view down “Broadway”, nicknamed so because it is the the longest corridor on the ship at 340ft and is full of lit panels.
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Machine Shop

The Wisconsin has an impressive machine shop.
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CEC

We took a second “Command & Control Tour” tour through Captain’s cabin, Admiral’s cabin, Combat Engagement Center, Flag Bridge, navigation Bridge and Quartermaster’s space. In the Combat Engagement Center (CEC) the tour included an audio and light re-enactment of a battle scenario that was quite effective.
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Temperature

It’s been cold all day, but the evening temperature has dropped to 28.3°F (-2.2°C).
12/16/2016
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Naval Station Norfolk

Before attending a tour of Naval Station Norfolk, we asked if we could bring a camera. We didn’t consider asking if could actually use the camera though. It turned out they wouldn’t let us take any pictures of the ships except from a distant parking lot where only a portion of a resupply vessel was visible. What a disappointment—we had a better view on our way into Norfolk.
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VA-34

Ob the Naval Station Norfolk tour we were allowed to take pictures of some decommissioned navy planes that included an A-6E Intruder.
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If you can’t beat them

We had a super-fun evening watching the Norfolk Admirals play the South Carolina Stingrays. The Admirals are the bottom of the league and the localy commentary was “If you can’t beat them, beat them” so were expecting a rather rough game. The Admirals lost 3-6, but the level of play was quite good with, surprisingly, not a single fight.
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Mascot

Jennifer with the Norfolk Admirals mascot.
12/17/2016
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Venture

We took an Uber over to Hampton and had a good lunch at Venture Bar and Grill before heading over to the Virginia Air and Space Center.
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Virginia Air & Space Center

The Virginia Air & Space Center is the visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center and Langley Air Force Base and features exhibits spanning 100 years of flight.
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Exhibit Hall

Displays at the Virginia Air & Space Center include more than 30 historic aircraft, the Apollo 12 Command Module and the Orion PA-1 Test Vehicle. The majority of the exhibits are hung in this multi-floor gallery that can be viewed from a variety of angles. We spent ages exploring the displays.
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Steering

Jennifer at the controls of a DC-9 in the Virginia Air & Space Center. The exhibit included an entire actual DC-9, not just the cockpit.
12/18/2016
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General Dynamics

We took the ferry across the Elizabeth River to Portsmouth today. This is a close-up view of the General Dynamics drydocks we can see from the marina.
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Fresnel Lens

A beautiful first order Fresnel Lens from the Hog Island lighthouse is on display along the Portsmouth Waterfront.
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Guads

An exceptional lunch at Guads Mexican restaurant in Portsmouth. This was probably the best Mexican food we’ve had in over a year.
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Lightship Portsmouth

The Lightship Portsmouth was built in 1915 and served for 48 years off the coasts of Virginia, Delaware and Massachusetts. The ship was retired to Portsmouth in 1964 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. The ship was closed for renovations, so we couldn’t look inside.
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Olde Town

The Olde Town district of Portsmouth has the largest collection of period homes between Charleston, South Carolina and Alexandria, Virginia.
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Temperature Swing

The temperature soared from below freezing a couple of days ago to 76°F (24.4°C) this afternoon. We were almost too warm in just T-shirts. It’s falling back down again though.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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