Thursday, 24 November 2011
I can't decide what's worse, getting pounded on the nose or slapped around from behind. Head winds and opposing seas deliver a punishment that repeatedly jolts the boat up and down and back to front, as it crashes into the waves. Following seas, on the other hand, create a roller coaster-like effect inside the cabin, with a centrical movement that tugs the body in all sorts of directions. Each motion induces a different kind of ill. The former is more tiring on the body. Hard blows of the hull against rising waves are more difficult to brace against, and the noise produced in the process makes it hard to relax anyway. With wind at the back, however, the boat is propelled into a nauseating tango with the seas that in the beginning rendered me dysfunctional, at best. My tolerance for the abuse is growing, however, and I'm beginning to weather it quite well. Maybe the masochist in me is waking up.
Actually, I can see how sailing, despite its demands and challenges, becomes an addiction for some. It's thrilling, rewarding and very liberating. But I'm not addicted yet. We've just entered the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), and we won't have to contend with the elements in the same way we did out in the open waters. And for now I'm relieved. For us the ICW began in Norfolk, VA, a Navy town that Gabe calls Halifax on steroids.
It really is. The shores of Chesapeake Bay and Elizabeth River, which runs through the city, are flanked by Navy and commercial shipyards. We didn't get to explore any of the city the short time we were there. We came in from a 36h run from Atlantic City, exhausted, hungry and in desperate need of a proper shower. This time we knew better than to be sneaky. We arranged for a slip at the Waterside Marina in the downtown area. There we had access to power, showers, laundry and a shuttle to the grocery store in the morning. We took full advantage. That night we also treated ourselves to all you can eat wings at Hooters, which we spotted just at the edge of the waterfront. As we entered we were greeted by a 14 year old hostess and were promptly seated opposite the bar/open kitchen, amidst a kindergarden, it seemed. At what point did Hooters become a family restaurant? The atmosphere in there carried non of the provocative, subversive ora I was expecting. It was disappointing. But the grub was good, so a pitcher of Sam Adams later, when we had our fill of wings, we cheerfully made our way back to Rodeo, for a full night of warm and comfortable sleep.