Back in Virginia

After several very long days, and predicted strong thunderstorms we decided to make it a short day and stop at a marina in Portsmouth.  We left the dock at 0600 to be sure we made it through the plethora of drawbridges between Coinjock and Norfolk.  They open on fixed schedules and are routinely closed for 3 hours around morning and evening rush hours, so there is motivation to finish this stretch before the last bridge closes from 3:30 to 6:30 pm.  We made it easily through the last bridge, the Gilmerton Bridge, by 1:30.  They even opened a few minutes early for us, something that rarely, if ever, happens.  Docking at the Tidewater Yacht Marina in a 20 knot crosswind was a challenge.  We ended up in a different slip than originally suggested, but other than that there was little drama.  Having more time than expected, we went out to grab a bite for lunch and explore Portsmouth.  The town is trying hard to rejuvenate itself and is holding its own and maybe improving a bit from the last time we were here 5 years ago. There are a few storefronts and restaurants that have closed, but the ones that are open are very nice.  We had a good lunch and great beers at the Bier Garden, with 350 beers to choose from.  Then it was off the the Kitchen Koop on High Street for a coffee maker to replace the French press that broke two days ago in the sink.  We ended up buying a Bialetti Moka Express, which it turns out brews a fine pot of coffee.  Almost espresso, and tastier than the French press.  It is also all metal, so it should survive the rigors of living on a sailboat.  There was a tornado watch, and severe thunderstorm watch here last night, but the worst of it passed just south of us with a couple of tornados in Elizabeth City, NC and lots of lightning in the distance.  Lots of wind and rain, but no damage where we were.  We slept in and left the slip around 8:30 and started the final sprint up the bay.  We tried to sail as we came out of Norfolk with gusts to 20 knots on a close reach, but the wind has died and we are motoring once again.  The wind is predicted to go West this afternoon, so maybe we will be able to sail a little more.

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