Leaving the Chesapeake Bay for a Challenging Entrance into Norfolk, Virginia

Timing the weather in the Chesapeake Bay is vitally important to the enjoyment of the cruise, however, there is always a balance in boating between wanting to get to your next destination and staying to wait out the weather. We choose to cruise south although we would be cruising on the cusp of some rough weather passing through. But like most things in life, we make choices and choose how we respond. As we left the protected anchorage and entered back into the open Chesapeake Bay, we began to feel the wind pick up for what would be over the next few days, a decent sized front. 

Hampton, VA | Elliot took Ollie out for a quick walk before our cruise.

The weather began to get more windy, a bit colder, and the conditions on the Chesapeake were more rough than the day prior. Ollie stayed inside to take in the warmth as I cooked us lunch and worked on editing a video.

Chesapeake Bay | Ollie hanging out inside the cabin on this chilly day.

We were glad to have sunny conditions for this cruise as our cruise in this same section going north was gray and overcast. We passed by downtown Hampton and added another spot to our list of places we’d like to visit going north. (If you have any recommendations for stops along our Great Loop journey, we’d love to hear them! We’re collecting recommendations here.) 

By the time we went through the point where the Elizabeth River, James River, and Chesapeake Bay converge, we would experience some significant decline in our speed going from a cruising speed of about 6 knots to 3 knots thanks to a strong current going against us, and unknown to us (at this time) barnacles on our rudder and prop causing us to go very, very slow. 

Elizabeth River, VA | Passing Hampton Virginia as we enter into the Elizabeth River.

After cruising to a quintessential small town on the Chesapeake Bay and a quiet anchorage on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay, we welcomed the new sights of the industrial port city of Norfolk and Portsmouth. We really enjoyed the many sights on the Elizabeth River including the Norfolk Southern Coal Pier 6, the US Coast Guard Boats, the large industrial shipping equipment, and the multitude of ships at the US Navy Base. It’s aways a great reminder of the larger world we live in and the various people who make our day-to-day easy and smooth.

Elizabeth River, VA | Passing the multitude of Navy ships at the Norfolk Naval Station
Elizabeth River, VA | We passed a large US Coast Guard boat on our cruise.
Elizabeth River, VA | The Norfolk Southern Coal Pier 6 has special significance to Elliot during his time working for the railroad at Norfolk Southern.
Elizabeth River, VA | This area is a major shipping port and gives us insight to the global economy we all play in it.

We anchored in Hospital Point anchorage for the first time. It was a large anchorage just off the Elizabeth River, so we had a few pretty significant wakes during the few days we stayed there. On our way north we stayed at the free Portsmouth docks and loved it, however, we wanted to test out this anchorage for several reasons. One, we wanted to stay in the Norfolk/Portsmouth area longer than the allotted 36 hours we could stay at the Portsmouth docks. Two, we wanted to test out the anchorage for comfort given it was right off the Elizabeth River (turns out most boats go slow and leave only a minimal wake, however there were a few boats that went speeding by, causing a big toss and tumble inside PIVOT). Three, we wanted to be pointed into the wind for the upcoming weather so we could get the brunt of the weather on or bow instead of being tided to a dock where we might be thrashing agains the dock depending up the wind/dock direction.

Hospital Point Anchorage, VA | There were many boats passing by the anchorage alongside the Elizabeth River.

After a long day cruising, we took Ollie to shore for an evening walk. We thoroughly enjoy this time to get off the boat and stretch our legs. It helps us to get off our computers, get outside, and see the places we’re visiting. We tend to be workaholics, so we deeply value this time as it help us stay grounded.

Elizabeth River, VA | Ollie on her evening dinghy ride and walk.
Elizabeth River, VA | Elliot steering our dinghy to shore as we cross the busy Elizabeth River.
Norfolk, VA | Jenn and Ollie walking around Norfolk on our evening walk.

We made our way back to the boat by the time the sun was setting and the moon was rising. Grateful for a safe cruise to our protected anchorage for the next few days while we wait out a weather system passing through. We hankered down for the next few days at anchor before continuing south to warmer waters. 

Portsmouth, VA | PIVOT at anchor at Hospital Point Anchorage.
Norfolk, VA | Moonrise over Norfolk.
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