October 19, 2008.
We’ve been exposed to a bit of a phenomenon that I had never really considered before. You see, we’re docked just south of the only lock on the Virginia Cut. The locks purpose is to raise you up or lower you down to the proper level depending on which direction you’re traveling. Without the lock the Cut would be ravaged by tidal flow and would not be navigable.
For the last few days there have been very strong winds from the north. The winds have been between 15 and 25 knots with frequent gusts up to 35 knots. That has meant that the waterway north of the lock was very high with a windblown tide. While meanwhile the water on the south side of the lock has been blown away and the tide is down much further than normal. This greater than usual disparity of water height on either side of the lock is causing a problem.
The lock has a computer controlled safety that won’t allow the lock to operate if the water depths are too divergent. So the lock was closed for a good portion of the day today. Once it did open, several of the south bound boats that came through decided to stop here for a few days as now the river in front of them is dangerously shallow in spots. Today is also the first day since we’ve been here that we haven’t seen tugs & barges passing by. They must all be sitting somewhere waiting for the water to come back. When we got here we had to step down to the dock from the boat, now we need a ladder to get up to the dock.
Other than this observation, we spent the day doing laundry and watching a little football. Speaking of which, after the laundry was done we walked down to the local “sports pub” which we had seen the other day while we were walking around. This is a pretty rural area so I was surprised at the scope of this place. It was huge inside and they had projection screens with a half dozen different games on. There were tables set up so fans of any particular game could root their team on in their own little areas. It was actually kind of bizarre how many fans were there representing each team that was playing.
Back in Jersey a place like that would be ninety percent fans of the New York teams. Maybe with a few Eagles fans, perhaps a Steelers fan and maybe the random loser Cowboy fan. Here it was completely different, every group of tables had at least a half dozen team jersey wearing fans rooting for every team playing. It was definitely a good people watching place but we only had a quick drink while we watched the Giants finish off the Niners. Then we had to leave because in the state of Virginia’s infinite wisdom they still allow smoking in bars and the place just smelled like ass. It’s funny how spoiled we are after having been in state after state that doesn’t allow smoking in restaurants.
After we got back to the boat I disconnected the rest of the hoses, wires and crapola that inhibits access to the transmission. We’re ready for tomorrow….