We are finally off! The journey began with a splash and a dash just around the bend to Norfolk….Norfolk you say? We thought you were stuck in Norfolk? Yes, we were struck in Little Creek (Atlantic side) but on Tuesday we struck out for Norfolk…the western side…Waterside. Tough sledding at first, wind on the nose and 3 to 5 ft. seas left over from a small craft advisory Monday (good thing we are not a “small craft). The splash and bash lasted only 1.5 hr until we made the turn at Thimble Shoal…it was all down hill, or down wind, from there to Waterside Marina. Wednesday was a big learning experience, from learning about rail road bridges that, according to all the cruising guides are “usually open”, but can be closed for repairs for 2 hr. past the usual opening for Gilmerton bridge. From there south, to learn about uncharted, unlit, un-announced pipelines. What looked like a reflection in the water of the bridge we just passed under turned out to be a 2 ft diameter floating pipe completely blocking the canal. I realized what it was with only 2 or 3 boat lengths to spare…we learned how fast High ZZ’s can stop when needed! The contractor and captain of the tug that came to move the pipe were most apologetic. But that, and N&S RR, made us miss our first “Lock Date” by 20 min. Ah, “locking through”, another big learning experience we can discuss over a stiff drink when you have an hour or two. A very cold night at the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center guest dock…and yes, there is a very good reason it is called the Dismal Swamp, especially in winter (another hour, another stiff drink). And now we are finally tide (did you get the first one in the last blog?) I mean tied up at Pelican Marina in Elizabeth City, NC enjoying that stiff drink, the warmth in the cabin that only a 120V/30A hookup can provide feeling quite proud that we made the “big ditch” with nary a scratch on the gelcoat, all bits and pieces still attached, and still keeping the water out and the rig facing up.