We’re still at Waterside Marina in Norfolk, Virginia attending a Great Loop Rendezvous (explanation in previous post) and having a good time. This event doesn’t lend itself to lots of photos, so we’re throwing in a few from our walks in a couple of nearby neighborhoods.
During the past two days, we’ve had fun catching up with Curtis and Gill Stokes, our boat broker from Florida who helped us buy “Next To Me” last December. We’ve also seen Chris and Alyse Caldwell of Captain Chris Yacht Services, the folks who trained us for 3 days in January. They’re all great people, and we highly recommend others consider using their valuable, and very professional services.
We’ve enjoyed time with new friends Tom and Barbara from Louisiana, who have an offer on a boat here in Virginia and hope to begin their Loop soon; Craig and Barbara from Cincinnati, parked next to us on Blue Heron, their gorgeous Sabre 43, and others we’ve met, too numerous to list.
Bob and Tom enjoy rather divergent politics: Tom calls Bob his “commie friend”, and Bob calls Tom “Attila”.
Yesterday we participated in an event called “Looper Crawl”. That’s a 2 1/2 hour period in the late afternoon during which current Loopers hold Open House for future Loopers to tour their boats. There are 35-40 Looper boats here in the marina, and they vary from 34 – 58 feet, both monohull and catamaran, all power boats, no sailboats.
So, we opened our boat yesterday and had about 40 people aboard during the 2 1/2 hours. They all had lots of questions about the boat, which Bob had anticipated and suggested we prepare a “spec sheet” so we wouldn’t have to answer the same questions 25 times.
It was very busy, went smoothly, and we got lots of compliments on the boat, which is what you’d expect when people are talking to you. But everyone has different requirements and budgets, and that’s what makes the Looper fleet such an eclectic mix. One way in which we’re a little bit unusual is that a good percentage of Loopers travel with at least one pet aboard, some with two or three. We’ve seen many dogs and several cats, including one boat with 3 cats.
Yesterday we also attended two seminar sessions. About 80 people attended the briefing on the Chesapeake Bay, which was informative and useful. Approximately the same group, all current Loopers, attended the session on the Delaware Bay and New Jersey coastline up to New York City, and uniformly, that briefing scared the crap out of us! The guy giving the briefing is extremely knowledgeable and gave us great information, but it also let us know that traveling the enormous Delaware Bay, then figuring out when and how to travel up the New Jersey coast (out in the ocean, not the ICW which is too shallow for most boats at most times, and a high percentage run hard aground if they choose that route), may be the biggest challenge of this journey. We’re really glad our daughter Mackenzie and her husband Matt decided to join us in the Chesapeake Bay later this month, rather than on the Delaware Bay/Jersey shore stretch, as it’s apparently very common for people to get held up for 4 days, a week or more, waiting for a suitable weather window to do this segment.
Meanwhile, we remain happy and well and have begun planning our next segment of the journey after we leave here Friday morning.