|Schooner Spirit of Independence getting underway. Photo by Alison Elder.|
This year, the SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE crew is composed of Captain J.C. Waters and daughter/first mate Joy Waters, crew members Peter Youngblood, Anita Seidler, Allen Graves and myself Joe Elder, Walter Staniszewski, Joshua Harvey and Juliet Horan. After stowing away personal gear and the remainder of the groceries, and a review of on board details by the captain, we said our goodbyes to those that had come to see us off including my wife Alison who has graciously supported my opportunity to crew and for her to stay behind and solely manage our business- Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery.
We pulled away from the docks at approximately 9:30 a.m. and headed up the Elizabeth River, passing by the familiar sites of the numerous blue-colored cranes that tower above the shipping terminals that border both the Portsmouth and Norfolk sides of the river. The Elizabeth River feeds into the James River and Hampton River that make up the waters known as Hampton Roads to we passed by Fort Wool and Fort Monroe, two historic monuments that guard the confluence of rivers inside and into the wider spans of the Chesapeake Bay.
Plans of raising sails as we rounded the corner were delayed with only a slight breeze out of the northwest that was so light that raising the sails would only make them slat and swing back and forth with each movement of the vessel, so we pushed on under the power of the Spirit's diesel engines.
|A container ship in front of us on the Elizabeth River. Photo by Allen B. Graves.|
|Passing by a buoy in lake-still water. Photo by Allen B. Graves.|
|"Red sky at night, sailors delight" Photo by Allen B. Graves.|
An interesting note- at approximately 9 p.m., Allen noticed what appeared to be distant fireworks off the starboard side of the schooner. Way off in the distance, somewhere along the eastern shore side of the bay, a display of fireworks was underway. Miniature explosions of bright lights in red, green, gold and white was barely visible and continued until we were completely out of viewing range.
|Sunrise silhouettes the Spirit's ships bell. Photo by Allen B. Graves.|