Norfolk per Photo – by The Mom & Sophia

We managed to see a little of Norfolk during our stay at Rebel Marina. One extremely cold Saturday morning we visited the Nauticus Museum in town. We had the opening times wrong, so we had a good look at the outside scenery.

 This is the USS Wisconsin Battleship stationed at the Nauticus Museum in Norfolk. The ship looks a little puckered from this angle. We think that it was to go faster. 🙂


Sophia is doing her Battleship imitation.


Mermaids are everywhere in Norfolk. We are still not quite sure why. We added some of our own to this scene.


These metal plates are made to look like papers being blown by the wind.

They are symbolic of the people whose lifes were destroyed by war.(This photo was actually taken on another, warmer day).

On each ‘paper’ there is a letter written by a real person in a war situation. At the end of each letter, it gives the date on which the author died.


It was freeeezing cold and we found a Starbucks to hide in until the museum opened. Notice the red ribbons on the streetlamp for the Christmas season. We have no photo of the inside of the Starbucks, but we had to mention this event as the warm, cosy interior is a big part of what we all remember about the day.


In the Nauticus museum there are many hands-on activities. This makes it a very good museum (Sophia). All the girls enjoyed trying to pick up objects with these claws working with the remote hand-controls. This is Sophia taking her turn. It is much more difficult than it looks.


Horseshoe crabs are really interesting – especially if you get to touch them!


We had so much fun with this activity. The idea is to change the little ‘walls’ so that the water is channelled in the optimum way and the little boats can float safely. Too much damming causes water to overflow the channel. Our greatest challenge was to keep other family members from interfering with individual member’s plans.


Just a neat way to show that the mortars weigh the same as a Volkswagen Beetle.


They have a model of the Wisconsin in the Nauticus museum that we could look at before going to see the real one outside.


The Wisconsin is HUGE!! It would not have been possible for Sophia and Marike to be right where they are if the guns were really fired, due to the deafening sound, shockwave and intense heat.

Here, it is possible to see the flexible material around each turret that helps to absorb the shock. They are known as elephant ears. The material does look a bit like elephant hide.


Karin Joan is a compulsive coin collector. This means that she is always trying to spot any loose change that is laying around. Places like these, freak her out. This is a “donation point” on the deck of the Wisconsin. It is one of the hatchways that allow sailors to reach all the decks of the ship. The challenge is to throw your coin into the receptacle right at the bottom on the lowest deck. The visible coins in the photo bear testimony to how difficult it is to succeed. We didn’t either. And no, we didn’t allow Karin J to help herself.


We have always thought of Shang Du as a heavy boat with a heavy anchor chain. Not anymore!


This is one of the winches on the Wisconsin. The winch-handle will have to be the size of Marike and Sophia combined. Not a one-man (or rather a one-woman) winching job.


Frans is getting ready to duck into the entrance of one of the Firing Turrets.


They are serious about keeping the men out of the Ladies’ restrooms.


Living on a boat, we can appreciate the seating arrangements in the big Mess Hall. The chairs cannot fall over and neither the table nor the chairs can slide around.



These posters amused Karin J very much. They were used to remind the sailors what their attitude towards their food should be.


Sophia is trying to lift one of the insides of the “bullets” that the Battleship fires.


Yes, we are exactly as blue as we look. It was still freezing cold, but no reason not to take a family pic. And so we say goodbye to the Nauticus and the Wisconsin.


On another day, the Norfolk Aquarium and its surrounding walkways turned up some amazing sights.

We caught two Ospreys on their nest…

And a Moose nearly attacked us!


We found out where marshmallows come from…


And Franci and Sophia used their super powers to create a force field to protect them from the dangerous Comodo dragon.


Karin J and Marike definitely differ in their attitudes toward Great White Sharks.


Norfolk revolves around the Navy. This was our sunset view when we were anchored out. Who knew that aircraft carriers could be so scenic?


This photo is just to show what happens when the stove goes in for repairs. One has to bend over much further and it doesn’t gimble at all when the boat rocks. fortunately we were in the Marina with no swells.


The Marina is just like one big family with a huge heart for outsiders. Pam, on the left, brought an “activity” for us to do after the Thanksgiving meal. It came in a box that contained Jersey shaped cookies and do-dads to decorate them with. It was called the “Ugly Christmas Sweater” set. Jamie and her Mom Joan joined in too, but otherwise it really was the Van Zyl girls who had the most fun.

All the Ugly Christmas Sweaters.


Rob and Jaimy Van Pelt are part of the family at Rebel Marina. Jaimy and her Mom Jane did all the Thanksgiving cooking. Rob was the one to show us all the awesome discount shopping places around. He knows exactly where cruisers can stock up for very reasonable prices. Rob, we just loooong for those cheap Norfolk stores.

We do not have a nice pic of the Marina owner David Briggs, but he sure knows how to win a cruiser’s heart with all the Marina has to offer. We still miss the ‘courtesy car’ especially.

Howdy Bailey is the man who did some welding for us. We went to visit his workshop and found out that he worked as a boat builder for most of his life. His workshop is covered with the most amazing collection of ‘things’. Anything and everything he was able to collect, he did. We were thrilled to find out that he did some boat repairs for Jacques Cousteau, when he visited America. We are posing here in front of his Cousteau memorabilia.

The Crouse family from Canada. They were a real encouragement to us. It is always a blessing to meet other sailors that share our Christian faith.


And finally,

Only in America!!!!

The Christmas tree that GROWS! The kids loved that the remote control was handy and that they were allowed to try it out.

This is the height that the tree started at. (What a pity, Franci, that we can’t make you grow some more by remote control).







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.