Thursday, January 12, 2012


We take the dogs off the boat first thing in the morning to go potty.  We're now at Waterside Marina in Norfolk.  This marina has floating docks, which is great, but they're of the tapering not-long-enough variety.  I know the marina saves money when they build docks like this, but they're an incredibly lousy platform for getting on and off the boat, especially for dogs.

This is what they look like.

See how low the dock is compared to the deck of the boat?  Luckily, we have steps.  See how narrow the dock is compared to the steps?  Now, picture this.  We opened the helm station door to take the dogs off the boat.  As usual, Chevy (the big dumb male) scrambles out of the door, pushing us and Ruby aside in his haste to get off the boat as quickly as possible (you can see this coming, can't you?).

"Chevy wait.  CHEVY WAIT!   WAIT!!!"

Chevy hopped over the gunwale, onto the top step, down to the middle step, down to the bottom step.... oh, he tried to make the left hand turn onto the dock, but 80 pounds of pit bull has a lot of momentum...  SPLASH!!

I bounded down the steps just as Chevy swam under the dock.  Thankfully, he popped up on the other side.  See how narrow the gap is between the dock and the boat?  I was able to push the boat away from the dock, grab Chevy by his choke chain and turn him towards the dock (he was trying to climb up the hull of the boat) and get his front paws up on the dock and then hoist his backside up. 

We decided to turn the steps 90 degrees so once the dogs get on the top step, they'd have time to turn and go down to the dock.  Not that we needed to.  Neither dog will hop off the boat and onto the steps now.  They have to be lifted off and set on the docks.  And neither dog will let me do it.   They know I'm a moron.   They will only allow Pam to lift them off.

Besides the dog dunking, Pam and I had a very nice day doing touristy things in Norfolk yesterday.  We ate at a nice little greasy spoon downtown and then went to Nauticus and the naval museum, which is right next to the marina.  The museum is home to the battleship USS Wisconsin.   Here's the pics.

Where else but in Norfolk are you faced with a battleship while walking down the street?

Look at how skinny a battleship is.   It has a top speed of 33 knots.

These big guns can toss a 2,700 pound shell 23 miles.

Look at the size of these two anchor windlasses! 

And the anchor chain!

The Wisconsin served in Operation Desert Storm.

This luxurious stateroom is an officer's quarters.  The regular seamen didn't have it anywhere near this nice.

We couldn't go into the really cool parts of the ship, such as the bridge.  The ship is sealed off and climate controlled to preserve it and prevent rust as it may be reactivated at some point in the future.

Probably the coolest part of the tour was meeting a 90 year old man who served on the Wisconsin as a corpsman in 1947.  He was a pleasure to meet and gave us an insight to what life was like aboard.

We also toured the naval museum which has ship models and artifacts of our navy from the American Revolution to modern times.  A guide asked us if we'd like a private tour since it was very quiet and he had no one else to talk to.  He was a fascinating guy and really knows his history, and his ships.

Another thing of interest in downtown Norfolk is their mermaids.  You've all probably seen similar exhibits in other cities, as have I.  Businesses and community minded folks sponsor fiberglass models that are decorated by local artists and put on display.   Norfolk did mermaids.  Here are a few.

The last one is used to scare little children and to get them to eat their vegetables.


  1. You're seriously over-dogged Dave!

    I remember docking there for a few days. We used our folding bikes to haul groceries, it was a good distance away then.

    Nice read, keep it coming. It must be getting warm enough for upstate NYers, to slow to a crawl and just enjoy where you are.

  2. A couple of things,
    1. I had to set my steps like you ended up doing also.
    2. The battleship North Carolina is in Wilmington, NC and I understand you can see a lot more of it including the engine rooms. I have not made it down there yet but hope to. :))

    Bill Kelleher