Life Aboard at the Atlantic Yacht Basin

We wake each morning to the horn blasts signifying the Great Bridge is about to open. It's not an unpleasant sound; it's a muffled nautical sound and we wait for it before we rouse ourselves out of bed to start another day. The kettle is on first thing … a cuppa before our morning walk. We've been walking every day even when it rains. Sometimes we explore the area around the boatyard, but more often we head to the little park on the north side of the river via the Great Bridge. The park itself has historical markers that describe the illustrious role played by Great Bridge in the Revolutionary War. This is also an historic battle area for the Civil War and there are lots of info signs and monuments to check out. I'll tell you about the history in a later blog.

the little park

There's a 1.5 mile loop route through the woods along the banks of the ICW and when it's not too wet, we enjoy this walk. It smells fresh and piney. The birds and squirrels are very active and we spotted a bald eagle standing sentry one morning. Native trees have name markers and there's a wooden boardwalk with views over the marshland. Plans for expansion of this park include a Visitor's Center and more trails. A wharf alongside the river provided us with a free night's tie-up when we first arrived back in June.

boardwalk in chesapeake virginia

On the west side of the bridge, we can walk along the Elizabeth River towards the Great Bridge Locks and watch boats transit both the bridge and locks. In the early morning, casual fishermen and crabbers line the waterway.

crabber along the atlantic yacht basin

The Great Bridge Locks Park provides lots of historical information about the building of the canal and the locks. There are picnic areas and playgrounds and wonderful views of the river. Herons hang out here, trying to get their share of the river's fish for breakfast.

heron on elizabeth river chesapeake virginia

We trek to the local supermarket, Farm & Fresh, everyday … whether we need to or not. It's only a ½ mile walk … a reasonable round-trip, but not nearly enough to reach my 10,000 steps goal (yup, still doing that), so we walk a bit further or longer or more frequently. Some days it's 2-3 trips to the grocery or the hardware store or Radio Shack or Walgreens ... in between projects.

The usual boat chores need doing, of course. While David is immersed in his projects, I write for awhile and then tend to the daily tasks. The deck and cockpit need cleaning almost daily to remove pine needles and tree debris, especially with the rain and wind we've been experiencing. I made new curtains for the aft cabin and installed them and subsequently decided matching pillows might be nice … they're on my to-do list. Cooking, cleaning, laundry and all the regular “pink” chores get done during the course of the day.

The cockpit mat was growing moss (on its north side) which probably indicates it's been wet and in the shade for way too long. I scrubbed it with a product called “Spore No-More” that David acquired a century or so ago and it seems to be working. Just in case it doesn't work, there's more old line where that came from and I know a good ocean plait mat maker.

mossy mat on nine of cups

By 6 pm, we're usually ready to call it quits for the day. We take evening showers in the marina facilities, then return to Cups for a beer or glass of wine. Though there are several restaurants quite nearby, we rarely eat out. It just seems easier (and cheaper) to eat aboard most evenings and save the infrequent dinner out for a special occasion. The meals are simple … grilled chicken breast and salad or white chili or sometimes just a salad or sandwich.

We either read or watch a movie on the computer till 10 pm or so and then head to bed and read a bit more before falling asleep. That's a day in the life here at AYB. Not so different than any other marina we've stayed at in other parts of the world. Not all that exciting. Needless to say, the days are flying by all too quickly, and even though we haven't left Atlantic Boat Basin yet, it's very pleasant just being aboard again. It's easy to get into a routine.