Glenns Gone Sailing Rotating Header Image

November, 2009:

Breakdown Down Under

It was good to be with the family for Thanksgiving. We hope you had a good holiday as well.
Today we flew back to Norfolk, VA. The flight was uneventful but the taxi ride was quite exciting. In the middle of the tunnel that goes under the Elizabeth River connecting Norfolk and Portsmouth, the taxi “died”. Not the driver, thank God, the car. And it absolutely would not start, much to the driver’s dismay.
After realizing what was happening, I immediately started looking behind us to see if we were going to get rear-ended, thereby ending the life as Gary and Jean presently know it. There were no cars at all coming toward us in our lane. They were all in the other lane going around us. The cab driver didn’t have a cell phone so we let him use ours to call his dispatch to send another cab for us. Immediately, there was a wrecker to get us out of the tunnel, and immediately all the traffic was gone. I found this all to be mysterious and fascinating.
Gary says, “God watches over idiots and children.” And it seemed God was certainly watching over us, since we were still alive to tell this story. (Since our chronological years put us way beyond the “children” scenario, I guess we fall under the least desirable category of God’s favored.)
 In talking to the driver of the wrecker, I learned there are cameras in the tunnel; and people monitoring the cameras. And as soon as an emergency arises, such as our dilemma, they activate red lights in the lane where there is a problem, directing traffic to stay out of that lane. And on each end of the tunnel there is a station from which a wrecker is immediately sent to the aid of the incapacitated motorist. How amazing is that…they are God’s angels available to every child or idiot that breaks down in the tunnel….. It’s a miracle!!!
Life is always an adventure. As Gary says, “ It’s not all about the destination; it’s all about THE JOURNEY”…(In this life.)






 Today, we took the ferry across the Elizabeth River to Norfolk.  We used the city transit system for the first time; and, after we found the first station, we did okay using this free city service.  We spent the morning preparing the boat for our absence since we are going home tomorrow so we didn’t have as much time as we would have liked to tour the museum.  So, we hope to revisit it before we leave the Portsmouth/Norfolk area. We were fortunate to get to go into this museum, as today is the first day they have been open since they  experienced flooding in their basement due to IDA. 

The museum had an Egyptian exhibit borrowed from the Brooklyn Museum.  We took advantage of the opportunity to see it.  Fascinating!!! If you ever have the opportunity to see it, it’s well worth it.  We enjoyed seeing the King Tut exhibit when it was at the IMA in Indy, but this was even more spectacular.

Another point of interest to us was the blown glass exhibit.  This form of art has always amazed me.  I was so impressed with Dale Chihully’s exhibit at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and as we were walking around the Chrysler Museum’s exhibit, I kept looking for his work.  I did find some, exhibited right beside a piece from his instructor, Harvey Littleton.



Since we did not want to be in a strange area of the city after dark, we left the museum in plenty of time to find a station for the city bus.  We successfully made our way back to the ferry and our boat.  Then, guess what we did next….LAUNDRY. YEAH!!! After laundry and dinner, we packed our bags to be ready for our flight home tomorrow.  Our boat slip neighbors offered to take us to the Norfolk airport since he has a doctor’s appointment in town in the morning.  “Boaters” are such nice people; always offering to help other boaters out in any way they can. We are all “wired” the same.  Either that, or we’ve all “been hit with the same hammer”. 

Since we will be in Indy for a week for the Thanksgiving holiday, I won’t be posting anymore until after we get back to the boat.  Happy Thanksgiving to all.    FM/GS Jean and Captain Gary S. Glenn out…..

Touring Portsmouth, VA

Today we rode our bikes into Portsmouth, which is not very far from the marina.  We had our bikes adjusted by a professional at a bike shop in town.  Money well spent, as they will be our mode of transportation on this trip.  While there, we went to the Lightship museum. A lightship is a ship that is designed to function as a lighthhouse and it can be moved wherever it is needed. We also went to the Portsmouth Naval Museum which presented a lot of history from this area.  We are glad we’ve had the opportunity to tour this historic area.  Our country was settled from here and though I personally have never been a history buff, I still find it all fascinating. 

Tonight we are going to the Commodore Theatre for dinner and a show.  We will walk there and back.  I asked the young man who worked on our bikes if the area was safe to be walking around after dark, and he assured me it was. 

Tomorrow we will be doing laundry at the marina’s laundry (always fun when you live on a boat.)  I asked a lady one time at the laundromat in Annapolis if she thought there was anything worse than doing laundry and her reply was, “Yes, not being able to do laundry.”  Her comment made me stop and think, how fortunate we are and how we take such mundane tasks for granted. Yeah!!!! I get to do laundry tomorrow!!!!

 Oh Yeah, HOW ABOUT THEM COLTS!  We watched the game on the big screen TV at the restuarant in the marina. We were the only ones rooting for them, but we showed them all in the end, didn’t we?

All for now… First Mate & Galley Slave Jean    aka FMGS Jean




We went to this theatre the evening of November 17th to see the animated movie with Jim Carey as Scrooge.  They used the new type of animation for this movie where the characters almost look real. (Freaks me out…soon we won’t need real people as actors because the animation is so realistic.) This theatre opened in 1945.  It has been restored and is beautiful inside, with crystal chandeliers and murals on the walls. The seating is not theatre style; instead there are rounded-back cushioned chairs at round tables seating two to four people at each table.  To order from the lite-fare menu, telehones at each table are used.  We enjoyed the evening as it was something different for us to experience.

Our Stay In Portsmouth

Before I begin with our personal update, I want to take the opportunity to thank a very dear friend, Glen Becker, who designed this new website for us.  His gift to us is going to make all our lives easier in trying to communicate with each other as we continue our journey down the ICW. You can read our blogs, e-mail us, and follow Spot,  all on the same webpage.  THANK YOU, GLEN! You are an angel who has come to the techno-ignorant’s rescue.

Sunset over Portsmouth, VA 11/15/09     SUNSET OVER PORTSMOUTH 11/15


Update 11/16/09:  The storm has brought a lot of issues to the Norfolk/Portsmouth area; many affecting the recreational boaters headed down the ICW. Not only did the intense winds and rain stop our journeys temporarily, but now there is a lot of debris washed into the rivers, etc. by the flood waters; shoaling is occuring in some of the deep waters making them more shallow and thereby non-navigable; one of the locks is closed that is needed to go further south, and the list goes on….So, for all the aforementioned reasons, we have extended our slip rental to a month.

 This decision also gives us the liberty to fly home for Thanksgiving out of Norfolk.  We’ll be home for a week and then fly back here to hopefully continue our journey.  We are not upset in the least about this delay.  Our motto is “sailing is all about the journey, not the destination.”  We also often tell each other, “When you’re there, that’s where you are.”  And, we are here. And loving it.

  The delay has given us opportunity to tour the area.  Yesterday, we took the ferry to Norfolk and went to the Norfolk Naval Museum and also went aboard the battleship Wisconsin. While there, we were treated to a concert by the Hampton Roads Metro Band.  After our time at the museum, we walked the waterfront area of Norfolk.  We found that part of the city to be very clean and the people friendly and accommodating to visitors. We didn’t have time to go to the Chrysler Art Museum, so we would like to go back to see it.  The photo shown above was taken from the ferry as we returned to Portsmouth.

 Today we rode our bikes in Portsmouth, touring the old historic area which offered interesting architecture.  Tomorrow evening we are going to go back to that same area to have dinner and see a movie at the Commodore Theatre.  We’re having a blast. 

 Now that Glen has taught me how to download pictures, later  I’ll make a gallary to share with all of you, so you can see some of the spectacular things we are seeing.

 Captain Gary and First Mate/Galley Slave Jean

Our Journey Begins

Portsmouth, VA

We started from Annapolis, Maryland where we purchased our boat, White Swan four years ago. We have sailed her on the Chesapeake Bay for the last four years, getting to know her. She’s a comfortable boat, 33.5 feet by 14 wide and is usually not too much for the two of us to handle. Since retirement, we are extending our cruising territory to include the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) and the Bahamas.

We left Annapolis on November the fourth, my grandson Caleb’s birthday. (He’s 10 years old now.) We spent a couple of nights in Solomons, MD as we headed south. While there, we had to have the GPS sensor replaced. Solomons is a lovely town and is one of our favorite ports to visit as we cruise the Chesapeake. We enjoyed our stay there. We used our marine folding 6 speed bicycles for the first time and had lots of fun.

After Solomons, we started cruising in less familiar territory of the Bay. That was when it seemed like the adventure really began for us. Last Monday, we were surrounded by fog, but decided to leave our anchorage to resume our trip. We took turns on the bow of the boat directing the other one as to which way to go, using headsets (technology is wonderful) and GPS to help wind our way through a serpentine shaped channel. Gary could see crabs crawling on the bottom of the creek at times, indicating we were in water that was too shallow. Obviously, we made it out of the anchorage and to the Bay, only to find the fog was not just up the creek where we spent the night, but also on the Bay. We eventually had to go close to shore, drop anchor, and wait out the fog. Time for a good nap. Heh, we’re retired….we are in no hurry.

Tuesday, we made it to the end of the Chesapeake Bay which is the Norfolk, Portsmouth area. We went in to get fuel and in listening to the “locals”, realized we’d better rent a slip and stay while a storm went through the area. Three days later, we’re are still in Portsmouth awaiting the storm from Hurricane Ida to make it’s way past us. All is well, though. We are safe and dry, as long as we stay in the boat….

More later.

First Mate Jean