Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Today is the Navy’s Birthday.  It celebrates the Act of Congress that gave General Washington, who was busy fighting the Revolutionary War – in particular in the area of Boston MA, the ability to commission ships to fight for the United States.  So raise your glass and toast the US Navy!  (West Marine carries a great book George Washington’s Navy.  I am sure Trevor could send you a copy.)


I received my West Marine “care package” today.  Thank you Dan for getting it shipped to me.  I was looking for a couple of boxes but Dan put all the little parts inside the big housing that I had ordered.

I left JEB Little Creek Fort Story at about 1:30 this afternoon and headed for Navy Operating Base Norfolk.  I had been in Little Creek for almost two weeks and other transients were in need of the pier head where I had been docked.   Rain is forecast for the next couple of days, it was a gorgeous afternoon of light winds and calm seas, so I headed over to Norfolk Naval Base, a trip of about 7 nautical miles.  It is in the Elizabeth River which is at the lower left hand corner of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Elizabeth River is also the start of the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) aka “The Ditch.”


Why do I love the Navy?

  1. When I arrived three gentlemen were waiting on the dock to help me tie up.
  2. When I checked in I was offered a free bicycle and helmet to get around the base
  3. I was also offered rides to the Commissary and Post Exchange (PX) or anywhere else on base I needed to go.
  4. When I returned from checking in one of my dock makes struck up the typical where are you coming from, where are you going to, is there anything I can do to help conversation.  I mentioned that I did need to get to the Commissary sometime in the next couple of days to purchase food.  He pulled out the keys to his truck, said “why don’t you borrow my truck”, then walked me out and showed me on the base map how to get there and back.
  5. Since the Commissary is off base I had to go out and then back in one of the base gates.  I needed a shower, my hair was long and greasy, and I was dressed in torn shorts and a West Marine (there it is again) T-Shirt.  The very squared away sailor at the gate took one look at my ID Card, snapped a salute, and said in the most sincere voice “Have a great rest of the day Captain.”
  6. As I was putting the covers on Reboot the gentleman in the slip next to mine returned from a days sailing.  I of course stopped what I was doing and did the line handling thing for him.  And of course once we got him tied up and both boats bedded down he asked: “Is there anything you need?  Can I give you a ride anywhere?”


Now it is true that cruising sailors are a very helpful, warm and friendly group.  I am sure as I continue my travels I will have many similar experiences with non-Navy people.  But my 30 years in the Navy are about the only constant in my life, many jobs, many cities, and many ….  Well, some of you know what I mean by the last comment.  So I have a very warm part of my heart reserved for Sailors and Marines.  It appears they have a warm spot for us old retired salts too!

For the hardware types: This is the biggest Navy base on the East Coast.  We have every kind of military ship that is not in the amphibious fleet (except the LHA’s are here too.  They are too big to dock at Little Creek.)  There are two aircraft carriers not ½ mile from my dock and a very active Marine Helicopter base right across the way.  I have posted some pictures on the Reboot Racing pages of Facebook.

I am hoping to hear from Ace that the autopilot control head has arrived so that I can reinstall it and head up the Chesapeake Bay when the weather clears but as the pilots say “no joy.”


A toast to the Navy’s Birthday

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