welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

reality check

What was truly surprising about our trip through the Great Dismal Swamp was how much it brought our Panama Canal transit to mind. Much like Panama, we spent today motoring through an almos-pristine, moist, thick, seemingly impermeable jungle in a thousand shades of green. We kept our eyes on the branches overhead and the shores and were rewarded with fleeting glimpses of wildlife: muskrats, turtles, tanagers, and....get this....a baby BLACK BEAR right next to the boat! (so cool). At some point we entered a marvel of engineered, not natural, beauty: a lock. much smaller than the ones in Panama, but same concept. We loved it. And after about forty miles of motoring, lo and behold, it was back to salty open water as we emerged into one of the planet's busiest shipping lanes, surrounded by buoys, warnings, warships, giant wharves, cranes, the whole nine yards. It's both lovely and a little jarring to have a swampy heaven all to yourself, only to be sworn at in Russian by a cranky tugboat driver two hours afterwards. Thanks, Panama, for preparing us for all of this....!

So now we're tied up in Norfolk, surrounded by hustle and bustle and tourist traps aplenty. Our brief foray into town today revealed Virginians to be among the friendliest bunch of any along the way. We'll spend a day or two here, then it's back on the road for some more northing!

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