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Monday, June 24, 2013

Deltaville – Ward’s Dock

Sunday started off quite special when the lock tender stopped by and asked us to join him for coffee while he dealt with the southbound traffic.  He had donuts and OJ for Tyler, coffee and fruit for us, and lots and lots of stories.  His name is Robert, and his dog’s name is “U-Turn.”  He has tended that lock for 18 years and has the least tenure of all the tenders!  The story that had us laughing pretty hard was when he was trying to tell the skipper on a sailboat, who refused to use the radio, that he would take the stern line first due to the wind direction.  The guy kept saying “what?” so Robert yelled “stern line first.”  This happened so repeatedly that Robert shortened it to “stern first.”  Robert resumed chatting with other boaters until he saw many of them gawking at something, he turned to see the guy backing his sailboat into the lock…”stern first!!” 
There were five small sailboats and a trawler that had to proceed southbound through the lock before the northbound traffic could enter.  The five small sailboats were scout boats.  I am glad Tyler got to experience a lock with us before he saw the mess those guys made of it.  In summary, two of the boats hit each other before even making it to the lock, they lined up on the wrong side, did not have lines ready, and one engine kept dying so the boat could not enter the lock.  Robert was pretty patient, but at one point he did yell at the cluster of boats going in all directions,” if you are not coming into the lock, tie up outside and wait for the next one.”   They really put the lock behind schedule.  We knew we would not make the 9:30 am Gilmerton Bridge opening, but now making the 10:30 am opening was coming into question.   Once Robert got all those folks through, we readied Hold Fast to enter the lock northbound.  It was much more efficient and, better yet, Robert asked for some help.  Myron donned his life jacket, stepped off the boat and got instructions to go to the control booth and open the valves to release the water.  Myron was like a kid on Christmas – he got help operate the lock!  Robert said he needed Myron to do that while he did something else and it saved us 15 minutes on getting out of the lock.  We really needed that time and ultimately did make the 10:30 opening of the Gilmerton Bridge – plus Robert called to tell them we were coming!  What a fun start of the day.
We considered tying up to a wall in Portsmouth to do the Norfolk tourist thing.  Unfortunately, I was still too under the weather to handle much walking – therefore we pressed on and anchored at Old Point Comfort.  I think I slept for four hours before rising to make dinner.
Today the winds were light and we were probably only on sails alone for 20% of the time, the rest was motor assist.  What wind there was, was behind us, which can be a blessing.  Myron worked Hold Fast into the tight entrance at Jackson Creek – we saw 7 feet at high tide.  We are now tied up to the Ward’s dock.  We have already visited with them, had dinner, and hope to see Floyd Jean (Jr) tonight.  Please pray for him and his family as he continues the battle with cancer he was fighting when we visited two years ago. 
Love to all,

Dena

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