We had lots of questions and the folks at Atlantic Yacht Basin (AYB) had all the right answers.
Yes, they had room for Nine of Cups now until early September and they would make accommodation for her to stay a few months in late autumn till after Christmas as well. Their rates? About half of what we had anticipated paying in the lower Chesapeake or Baltimore area. Because this is a boatyard and not a marina, we wouldn't be paying for all those classy amenities we didn't need and wouldn't be using. This would be so much better for the budget.
What about getting the transmission repaired? We spoke to James, Vice President of AYB and a 40-year veteran at the yard. He has a mechanical background and stopped by the boat the very day we arrived to confirm David's suspicions of a rear seal leak. David removed the gear reduction case and it's currently in the hands of a mechanic for rebuild. Couldn't have been easier.
We were concerned that Cups would be safe on the off-chance that a hurricane came through. In fact, AYB is considered a hurricane hole. Being inland and before the Great Bridge Locks, this area is well-protected from tides, surge and wind. Boats come here when a hurricane threatens. We were feeling better and better about leaving Cups here. The decision was easy … we're staying.
So what's it like here? It's a boatyard and it's pretty rural actually. The area is heavily treed and we feel like we're docked in the middle of the woods. We are on a linear dock right on the Abermarle to Great Bridge Canal. There are mostly big motor yachts on the dock and Cups is definitely feeling a bit under-dressed. This is definitely not the usual crowd she hangs out with.
During the day, we hear the hourly horn sound for the opening of the Great Bridge bascule bridge. There's a lot of boat traffic that goes by, but it's very, very slow because they're all waiting to transit the bridge and are nearly at a standstill. Hence, very little wake or wave action. We hear the low rumble and sometimes feel the vibration of the tugs as they pass by pushing massive barges and equipment along the river.
AYB is quite large and pretty much surrounded by water. In fact, though it's really a peninsula, the employees call it “the island”. There are huge sheds with high, high ceilings for covered boat storage ... not masted sailboats though, mostly power boats. There's one outside linear dock in the back of the boatyard called “sailboat alley” where most of our kindred spirit boats are parked for long term stays.
Other sheds are dedicated to carpentry, painting, refinishing and a variety of other trades and services offered here. It's a busy place, but on the docks, it's very quiet and peaceful. We can easily walk to the grocery, a hardware store and several restaurants. I even spotted a thrift shop not too far away, but I haven't checked it out yet.
As for the rural nature of the boatyard, Queen Anne's lace and other wildflowers (weeds) have sprouted up in lots of places and attract butterflies and dragonflies.
There are groves of Virginia pine and native shrubs surrounding us. We spotted a big fat water snake sunning himself on the rocks.
I noticed a couple of blackberry bushes during my amblings that looked loaded with ripe blackberries. Blackberry crumble in our future!
In general, we think Cups will be safe and happy here for a couple of months until we return in September. Before we leave, there's lots to do, but at the moment, we're content to have found a place to stay for awhile.