25 April 2019 Comfort Point to Norfolk, Virginia
We were up at 07:00 and motored 11 miles into the centre of Norfolk, where we pulled into a private dock owned by Gary and Greta, who are the Ocean Cruising Club officers for the area. They live in a condominium right on the water front, which has a dock for each apartment, but many apartments don’t have boats, so Gary and Greta are able to make the docks available for OCC members at no cost.
In the morning, Gary took us out on the hunt for parts for the water pump. We went to Norfolk Bearings, who didn’t have the parts I wanted, but are able to get them sent by overnight delivery, so I ordered the parts and hope that they will arrive tomorrow morning. If all goes according to plan, I should be able to repair both pumps tomorrow and we can head up to Annapolis on the 27th – the weather looks good with 15-20 knot west winds, which will be perfect.
After lunch, Greta took Glenys out to the supermarket, while I removed the water pump from the engine and stripped it down, ready to fit the new parts tomorrow. In the evening, we had a few drinks with Gary and Greta on their patio.
26 April 2019 Norfolk, Virginia
Gary drove me to pick up the spare parts, which cost $120. Unfortunately, the cost of shipping the parts overnight was a staggering $200! The parts had come from two separate locations and each delivery cost $100. If kicking myself for asking for morning delivery without asking how much it would cost. To make matters worse, tomorrow’s weather window has gone away and we can’t leave for a few days, so I could have had a cheaper, normal delivery.
Back at the boat, I fitted Speedi Sleeves onto both of the shafts. Both shafts have grooves worn in by the lip seals and the Speedi Sleeves covered the grooves very well. They were also surprisingly easy to fit – I just had to tap them on using a tool provided with the kit. I rebuilt the older pump and then fitted it onto the engine, running it for 15 minutes to test that it worked without leaking.
I then rebuilt the newer pump and fitted that onto the engine. I washed the older pump with freshwater to prevent any corrosion and it’s gone away into my spares cupboard. Spending $320 on spare parts was a bit of a shock, but I now have two working pumps for half the cost of a new pump.
A cold front came through in the afternoon, bringing 45 knot winds, lightning and lashing rain. We hunkered down below all day.
27 April 2019 Norfolk, Virginia
The cold front moved east overnight and has left us with strong westerly winds – we have blue skies, but it’s very cold. I ran our cabin heater this morning to take off the chill – it’s the first time that it’s been used for three years. There’s a nasty looking low pressure system forming to the west of us and it’s going to get here tomorrow night, so we’re going to wait for that to pass over before heading up to Annapolis on the 29th or 30th.
After breakfast, we walked down to the Waterfront Park to watch a parade celebrating NATO. There were floats from every country in NATO as well as high school marching bands and the odd Bagpipe band. It was an interesting American event with the State Police riding past on their Harley Davidson motorbikes and cheer-leaders in the high school band, twirling flags.
We persevered until the Portugal float and then went for a walk around town. It’s a surprisingly nice city, with parks and fountains. We had lunch at a sandwich joint and I couldn’t resist having a Philly Cheese Steak. I haven’t had one for six years and really enjoyed it although it exceeded my weekly meat and fat allowance.
In the afternoon, we went to another event, which was a bag-pipe band contest. We watched one band dressed in Scottish kilts, who were good, but we have a low threshold for bagpipe music, so we moved on after they’d finished. Glenys had read that the Neon area of town has lots of street art, so we had a look – lots of huge paintings on the sides of buildings, but not as interesting as the street art in Penang in Malaysia.
We had a brief stop in a gun shop, where there were racks and racks of pistols and meaner weapons. I didn’t have a clue what I was looking at, but you can buy a 9mm semi-automatic pistol for $500 and a machine gun for $1500. I read that 40% of all the guns in the world are owned by American citizens and that there are 1.2 guns per person.
After scaring ourselves looking at guns, we went for a walk through the residential district of Ghent and then returned to our boat via the Elizabeth River Trail. It was interesting to walk through the tree lined suburbs with some fabulous houses.
28 April 2019 Norfolk, Virginia
It looks like the weather is going to stay against us until Tuesday 30th, so we had a lazy day messing about on the internet doing some forward planning for when we go home to the UK in June. In the afternoon, we walked into town with the idea of going to watch a movie, but being a Sunday, the movie theatre was heaving, so we decided to wait until tomorrow.
Sven and Kiki arrived on “Balance” a Swedish HR39. In the evening, Greta and Gary invited us all to their apartment for dinner of pizza –we had a good time discovering which other cruisers we all knew – it’s a small world.
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