After rounding Cape Hateras in perfect conditions, with dolphins playing at the bow, we arrived in Hampton, which is opposite Norfolk, just up from Portsmouth!! We certainly have left our stamp on this part of the coast, but with a completely different geography!

This is home to the biggest US fleet and all the support services it needs. We had to stay 100m from any naval ships and patrol boats were out enforcing the rule.

Just a few of the fleet harboured here.

Just a few of the fleet harboured here.

We stayed one night at anchor and then went 12 miles down the Intra Coastal Waterway to meet up with White Gold and Blew Beyond, in Portsmouth for Jim’s 50th birthday.

The day started with James cooking us all breakfast on Blew Beyond.

Birthday breakfast buffet aboard Blew Beyond.

Birthday breakfast buffet aboard Blew Beyond

We then went shopping for seafood for Jim’s birthday dinner in the local street market and then on to a large supermarket, that had a bar!! Needless to say we blocked the isle with our trolleys whilst we sampled their fare!

Birthday drinks in a supermarket bar!!?

Birthday drinks in a supermarket bar!!?

Come the evening, we all went aboard White Gold for a seafood feast of soft shell crabs, prawns in garlic butter, scallops, lobster tails, smoked salmon and spider crab legs. Mmmmmmmm……….

A veritable fish frenzy birthday dinner.

A veritable fish frenzy birthday dinner.

It’s amazing what truly good friends Jim and Paula are. After only knowing them for what is actually a very short time, they put us up for what turned out to be a week, while our boat was lifted and the bottom scrubbed and painted and new anodes fitted. They made us very welcome and were great company.

During the week we explored the area on foot and by bike, making the occasional refreshment stop en route.

Gershwin's Bar staircase.

Gershwin’s Bar staircase.

This was a first…….a bike maintenance station!

What a great idea.....hope they don't introduce these people n Birmingham, Dan!!

What a great idea…..hope they don’t introduce these people in Birmingham, Dan!!

The echoes of the British occupancy linger……..’though I think the pillar box came in well after independence!

A little bit of Britain!

A little bit of Britain!

New experiences are what we are travelling for and the cinema in Portsmouth was an unexpected one…….. Dining in the stalls……what a great idea for old cinemas!

A night out at a he pictures.

A night out at the pictures.

With six of us, hiring a car was affordable and warm!!. We took a trip down to Virginia Beach and on down the outer banks towards Cape Hateras

Virrrrrrrginia bbbbbbbeach!

Virrrrrrrginia bbbbbbbeach!

Some of the sights along the way……..

Shiny Diner....... Classic!

Shiny Diner……. Classic!

Cape Hateras, by land this time.

Cape Hateras, by land this time.

Quirky lunch stop, Cape Hateras.

Quirky lunch stop, Cape Hateras.

Socialising has taken up quite a lot of our stay with the two other British boats! The second Sunday brunch here was delightful and very reasonable………the first, the week before at the Brick Anchor was memorable for all the wrong reasons!!

Sunday Brunch at Freemasons Abbey, Norfolk.

Sunday Brunch at Freemasons Abbey, Norfolk.

Tipping over here is de rigeur. Waiting staff are paid just $3 an hour so they make a living wage through tips. 20% is the norm, as out of that the waiter has to pay 8% of the bill’s total to the management. If we don’t tip, they still have to pay the 8%!! No wonder the service is good over here.

As you can tell from the photos, we had some pretty chilly and damp days here, but the company was always sunny!

Bike tour of Norfolk discovers a Japanese garden.

Bike tour of Norfolk discovers a Japanese garden.

Just testing it out!

Just testing it out!

We are all now back on our own boats, IK having been put back in and moving through the water like a hot knife through butter.

Our next trip was up to Cape May. Blew Beyond scouted the way and White Gold and IK followed on, after a quick repair to our fuel pipes.

To be continued……….

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