Push comes to Shove

START: Fishing Bay, Virginia, 12 Nov.

Pushing south by boat requires a lot of pieces to fall into place…or to be shoved there. Usually, it is nature that does the shoving. In this case when we crawled out of bed at 0530, it was 32 degrees out. For the first time in our lives we slept through the night in watch caps!

The wind dropped through the night, but it backed into the southwest…the direction we needed to go. Rather than dropping to the usual post frontal 5-10, it built to 15-20 through the day.

We started the day with clean dodger windows, but the sunrise picture was taken through the spray that greeted us as we rounded Cherry Point. The first shove.

The second shove came when we were greeted by a foul tide augmented by water blown south (while we were holed up) returning and urged on by the SW’ly. We dropped below 6 knots (our “happy” number).

When we reached Wolftrap light which sits at the end of a large bar that narrows the Bay hydrologically, the accelerated current dropped our speed to 2.9 knots for a bit…not happy!

We started experimenting with headings that would improve our VMG (speed toward the destination), luckily those were also headings that got us out of the steep chop that jolted us and through in a shower of spray for free. …many shoves.

As we approached Norfolk, the Bay water was essentially seawater, and we started picking up a coating of salt crystals that had to come off.

At “the” Hampton Roads the current picture improved until we hit the James River ebb…another shove…and our speed dropped to 3.0 for quite a distance. More spray made for more visibility issues.

Finally into the Elizabeth River, we saw our speed improve as we approached our Hospital Point anchorage, first in low brilliant sun and then in low twilight.

We had managed to push south at 5.0 kts average against a variety of natural shoves. By 2000hrs, we were fading and with another 0530 alarm set, we slept like ingots.

FINISH: Hospital Point, Portsmouth, Virginia, 12 Nov.

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