Intracoastal waterway MM 0.0

I am currently living in Norfolk, Virginia, a place I used to consider the armpit of Virginia but I’ve grown to love over the past year. Its residents are passionate and deeply care about Hampton Roads and their love for their home is incredibly contagious. I recently moved into an apartment with an incredible view overlooking the Elizabeth River and truly consider it my home. For someone who really likes being settled, the past few years have been a little disorienting for me. I’ve moved a lot, lived out of my car for several months, and been temporarily without a home several times. So it’s really nice to have a place to call my own and get settled in.

Intracoastal Waterway Portsmouth, Virginia

I wanted to share on one of the most fascinating things about my new location and a new hobby I’ve picked up in the last couple weeks. A fun little factoid is that the Elizabeth River which divides Norfolk and Portsmouth is mile marker 0.0 of the official Intracoastal Waterway. Additionally, Norfolk has several massive shipyards so the view out my back porch sees hundreds of huge ships and barges pass by daily. I’ve setup a small table looking out where I can study and watch recorded lectures and when I see the bow of a boat slip into view, I can search their name and find more information about the vessel than I ever imagined.

Shipspotting Norfolk Virginia
Each little diamond is a ship. It could be a small personal sailboat all the way up to a massive tanker vessel.

With a simple google search I can find out little facts about the ship like when and where it was made and see pictures of it from all over the world. And for all my joy at finally being settled for a time, I love vicariously travelling the world through the men in orange vests running around on the decks of these huge ships. It gives me a momentary escape to realize tomorrow that same massive boat is going to be hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic on it’s way across to Europe or maybe down to South America. Container ships bring in cargo all the way from East Asia and it fascinates me to consider how many of the items I have in my home came through this exact port.

As I type this I’m watching them unload the Cap Hudson from Liberia. It’s last port was New York and it’s not headed far down to Charleston tomorrow. But I’m absolutely in awe watching the massive cranes lift off its cargo.

I don’t think I ever grew out of the childish amazement at massive tractors, trains, and ships. And my little view of this world of transportation outside my window helps me realize this globe of ours that to me seems so infinitely huge, has been traversed by these massive steel hulls more times than I ever could imagine.

With this cool map you can get a glimpse into the traffic going on in the harbor outside my window and if you live in Norfolk and are interested in checking out my view, you are certainly welcome to come stop by.

Sunset on the Elizabeth River

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