We left Norfolk this morning as early as we could pay our marina bill and left the Chesapeake Bay with a good following wind.
The southern reaches of the bay and the nearby ocean are always a challenge. In addition to a large number of large commercial cargo vessels there are navy warships of all sizes and shapes who are very particular about approach distances. In addition the navy ships are usually not broadcasting their position beacon, so you have to keep track of them by radio report, visual sighting, and radar. Other harbors are busier, but this one is very high stress with a number of pinch points where everybody—large and small—has to squeeze through the same narrow spots.
Our favorable wind did not last too long, and by noon we were motoring. We expect another 24 to 36 hours of light winds before the next weather system catches up with us.
It’s quite crowded out here with at least another 10 sailboats that headed out of the Chesapeake this morning, the usual shipping and fishing traffic, and a Navy warship are all moving south along the coast.
The warship is constantly on the radio directing traffic away from his 5 mile diameter “security zone”. It makes for quite the dance as he pushes vessels to one side or the other which causes them to jump out in front of other boats with a cascade of course changes and radio chatter. It’s all much more complicated than normal traffic interactions where boats adjust course quietly and as a matter of course to keep safe distances.