N 36 50.5 W 76 18.0 We arrived in Portsmouth VA, located at ICW Mile 0, yesteday. The last 15 miles of the ICW were quite challenging - 7 bridges and a lock - all to be navigated before 4PM closing and most on an hourly schedule. We arrived at Great Bridge, the first swing bridge at just after noon so we did circles in the canal for an hour waiting for the opening. After Great Bridge we entered the Chesapeake and Albemarle Lock. After a most excellent lassoing of the bow cleat by Karen, I tried to get the stern but the current in the lock spun us all the way around before I could get it. Oops! Susurra is about 50 feet long and the lock was about 55 feet - not a lot of clearance. When the lock opened, I tried first to spin then managed to exit in reverse all the way out with the lock keeper grinning and us waving. You got to be flexible. The next bridge was a railroad crossing and usually is open, but we managed to see it going down as we were quickly shuffling to the side of the channel to avoid a giant barge barreling down on us. After waiting another hour, the railroad bridge went up and the lift bridge behind it opened up. After more bridges and more traffic avoidance, we managed to make it to Crawford Bay just off the Naval Hospital. After a day spent riding cabs and reprovisioning food and alcohol, we took the bikes for a "historical ride" through Portsmouth. After a reconnoiter by John Smith and his gang in 1608, Portsmouth was quickly seen to be a great seaport. An enterprising Scotsman by the name of Crawford in 1716 was granted the land and in 1752 started a shipyard called Gosport - later subsumed by the government and now called the Norfolk Naval Shipyard - Portsmouth. The largest Naval Hospital is also here. After viewing all the houses, churches, and parks on the historical bike ride, we went into the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. After much information about the history of Portsmouth - Revolutionary War (Benedict Arnold commanded here), the War of 1812 (the British pressed American Sailors here), and the War Between the States (the Yankees occupied the shipyard), we got a big lesson on Lightships. The Coast Guard commissioned ships to display bright lights at certain stations such as harbor entrances or shoals. Over time, buoys and towers took over to mark the hazards and the Lightships were retired. We went aboard and toured one of the lightships - the USS Portsmouth. While ashore we met several folks. One couple - Jeffrey and Kathleen - were headed south back home to St Simon's Island. Jeffrey has just started his new career ferrying pilots out and back from freighters out of Brunswick SC in St Simon Sound. Kathleen's a real estate agent there on the island. Nice folks! We also met Marty and his family on Neverland. We had seen them on the dock in Belhaven in there giant catamaran with it's dinghy Tink. That's there son hanging on the halyard in the bosun's chair. Last night a bunch of boats rafted up in the bay and had a whoopin party including singing and fireworks. We head out tomorrow to explore the Chesapeake - no more canal driving and hopefully lots of sailing!