As we dropped the anchor in Portsmouth, Virginia at Hospital Point (Mile marker zero of the ICW), I looked over to see the Norfolk Visitor Center with a big mermaid on the front of the building. I quickly grabbed my phone to get a picture and a video.
My daughter, Sierra, has always been obsessed with mermaids. As a child she wanted everything that had a mermaid on it. Mermaid clothes, toothbrush, toys, movies and a bathing suit that she never wanted to take off. Now, as a young adult, she still has an obsession with mermaids. Her only request on this journey was that I bring her back a mermaid. I have since been on the lookout for hers.After we got settled in, we took the dinghy over to the U.S.S Wisconsin, or “Whisky”, which is now part of Nauticus, The National Maritime Center. USS Wisconsin served in World War II, Korean War and the Gulf War. It also had a hull speed of 33 knots! This is fast compared to our recommended max hull speed of 6.5 knots. (We have maxed the speed at 8.7 knots). Nauticus allow tours of the decommissioned ship, so we decided to take a waterside tour. While driving around and underneath the ship (which I’m still uncertain was allowed) we spotted another mermaid! This one was a huge statue beside the Nauticus building. Luckily, I brought my phone to grab another picture. We tied up the dinghy to Nauticus and went inside to take a tour of our Naval history at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. The place was well worth the visit. There were exhibits and models of ships and a theater to watch the history of the USS Wisconsin after the tour. We grabbed several photos of the models while touring.
Once we left Nauticus, we found a few more mermaids as we were out walking around. They seemed to be everywhere in Norfolk! We decided to take a walking tour of the city in hopes of finding more.We also happened to be in town for the 4th Annual ETC Festival, so decided to check it out while we were out touring the city on our mermaid quest. There were three stages set up for artists. We were also able to listen to some great music as we came back through a few times throughout the evening. I am glad we decided to take a few days break from sailing to enjoy this great city. Norfolk has a 400 year history as a major port city and is home to the largest Naval base in the world! While I have yet to find my daughter a real mermaid, she was quite happy with the Norfolk Mermaids until I find her a real one.
“Always be yourself. Unless you can be a mermaid. Then always be a mermaid”. ~Author Unknown