The Ditch

Yeah, pun intended. We ditched out. We got to Sunday am and we (W/ and I , the Dirk and I) discussed it. Even if Dirk and Silvie would have gone offshore we were leaning to not. It was ugly out! It was blowing like stink out of the wrong direction, it was spitting what felt like sleet. It wasn’t the day for us to leave. We thought we might want to wait one more day but after a heart to heart of all about 2 seconds both of us (Lison Life and Elysium) decided to head south in the ditch; formally known as the Intracoastal waterway.  This was the easy way around Hatteras. Almost.

The day before we left we were making water with our watermaker and I noticed that the by product water wasn’t being discharged. I jumped on the boat, the alternator wasn’t putting out any current, I looked in the engine room there was some sparking at the alternator post and we shut the generator down immediately.  Upon further inspection I discovered that the fitting on the alternator to the starter had broken and this shut down the power to the magnetic coil on the high pressure pump and shut down the regulator (intermittently). So the day before we left I had a repair to make. Omen? I didn’t think so but looking back, maybe. Repair made – we waited.

Sunday we motored out of Hampton Public Piers and across to Norfolk and

Great Bridge Lock

Great Bridge Lock

the beginning of the ditch. We scooted by the US fleet and avoided Homeland security as we worked our way S.  We selected to do the “fast” route (called the Virginia Cut) as we had already done the Dismal Swamp when we came N. Most of the day we motored through the drizzle clearing several bridges and one lock.

On the other side of the lock Dirk suggested that we tie to the seawall as the lockmaster had said more rain was coming from Norfolk. So we tied up to trees, and the pilons on the roadway. We were settled in, saw some friends Tamare on the other side and proceeded to dry off. An hour or so later we heard a severe grinding noise and I lept out of the boat to see what was happening. The boat rose up like it was leaving the water and began to surge forward. I noticed a huge boat that was powering up and beginning to plow through the narrow channel. Our boat began to surf towards Dirk and Silvie’s as I’m screaming for Dirk to help. He rushes out just as his boat begins to surf forward (fortunately or else we might have come awfully close to his boat) and then their boat began to surf backwards crashing into the seawall. Elysium received some damage from the boat racing through the

American Star

American Star

narrows. The American Star a boat owned by American Cruise lines was wholly negligent in how they tranversed the narrow channel with 20 boats  tied up to various locations along the sea wall.  I called the Coast Guard to report the incident and they took down all the releveant information. Boats are responsible for any damage their wake creates but I doubt American Cruise lines will be honerable and pay up. Their website doesn’t even have a contact button! Go figure. Tells me how honorable they’ll be. We’ll see and I’ll post any response I get from them. An hour later a commercial tug pushing a tow moved through the lock and bridge. Pushing the same size screws (propellors) and maybe even more under the water with the tow sitting down to her marks, not one boat surfed the tows bow wave. That captain knew what he was doing. The Coast Guard on the other hand was polite and sent the info to their investigating officer. However; Diane (the CG officer) , informed me that the CG won’t really get involved unless it is over $25,000.00!  Fortunately for us it won’t be near that amount.

So starting out with sleet like rain, then the Cruise Ship from Hell we had a rough departure heading S.

May sunshine eventually find you no matter where you hide.


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