Arriving in Norfolk on May 3 was a culture shock after spending three days in the “wilds” of the Dismal Swamp. Norfolk is the biggest city we’ve been to since we left Jacksonville. The channel is lined with large naval ships in various stages of readiness or repair. The deep, well-marked harbor was easy to traverse and we made our way to the Waterside Marina where we would be docked for a week We are in Norfolk to attend the Rendezvous, a semi-annual event sponsored by the American Great Loop Association.
Arriving a day early gave us a chance to explore the city to a small degree. We took a walk through the historic district and had a pleasant brunch in a quaint restaurant in a neighborhood of cobblestoned streets and red brick townhouses.
From Monday through Thursday, we attended the Rendezvous and participated in an array of workshops on all aspects of traveling the Great Loop. Workshops included Cruising the Chesapeake (which we are doing next), Cruising the Potomac River (also on our list), Personal Safety, Handling Locks, Government Red Tape and even separate workshops for men and women. Comparing notes afterwards, we not unexpectedly discovered a huge difference in the topics of the latter two workshops with the men focusing exclusively on engine repair and maintenance issues while the women discussed their favorite on-board “gizmos,” must see’s, lessons learned and boat sex (you’ll have to ask me about that one)!
Each afternoon, there was a looper’s crawl, in which those who wished could open their boats for visitors. Of course, Jonny was one of the first to sign up our boat so he could show it off! It was great fun going aboard other boats, getting ideas and meeting other cruisers. Although we saw some beautiful boats, we came away remaining perfectly satisfied with our own Zendo.
The conference was a wonderful opportunity to meet many warm and friendly people who we’ll be likely to encounter throughout the next several months. Many of them are currently in progress on the loop and several have completed it one or more times and had lots to share. And there were several couples who are in the planning stages and were even asking us for advice! All in all, it was a great experience!
We’re leaving Norfolk and renting a car to visit Stephanie for the weekend. Lynn will help her with apartment hunting in Philadelphia while Jonny visits his Aunt Pearl who is quite ill in Connecticut. When we return, we’ll be heading up the Chesapeake and the Potomac to visit Washington, D.C. and our friends there.