Christmas holiday 2001, we hit the road, bound for Virginia and Maryland to find Hambone's dream boat. He made plans to hook up with Danny on Sunday to go boat hunting thru the many boatyards and marinas in the Tidewater area. If we were unsuccessful, we would go to the Eastern Shore on Monday to continue our search. But regardless of where we had to go, we were coming back to Florida with a new, old boat.
We pulled into Norfolk on Friday night, spent Saturday visiting family, and bright and early Sunday, we started our search. As we looked and talked to many people, we were led to a marina in Hampton. Hambone explained what we wanted and was told that we could look around the docks. We didn’t find anything we really liked but gave our number to the manager, in case he heard of a boat for sale. As we got ready to leave, the manager asked if we wanted to see a boat he was working on. And, of course we did. He took us to a large boat shed and opened the doors and we stood looking at a beautiful deadrise, in the middle of renovations. She was round sterned and being fiber glassed all over, with the motor waiting to be installed. It only fueled Hambone desire to have one of his own. We eventually found ourselves in Gloucester, where we looked at a boat called the Alexandria Rose. Hambone fell in love. Talking to some watermen, we learned that the owner had just bought a new boat and they thought he might be selling the Rose. They advised us to come back to the dock on Monday afternoon (Christmas eve), around 5:00 p.m., when the boats would be coming in from working. We kept up our search but Hambone was convinced that this was the boat for him. In Poquoson, we met a gentlemen, who was also working on a deadrise boat. (He said he was 80 years old but didn’t look a day over 60. Must be the salt air.) He talked to us about several boats he knew of, one in particular, “that was over Suffolk way, just as you go over the James River bridge, around to the right somewhere. The man was selling his boat for a good price. She was in great shape, you could step in her and go.” So, off we went, on another mission. Hambone remembered some workboats he had seen around Chuckatuck Creek at one time, maybe that’s what the man meant, so we decided to go over there. We found several boats tied up to docks and, talking to some men, they thought that the Lorrie Lynn was for sell. She was owned by a guy named Mr. Monkey Diggs but they didn’t know where he lived. “But you go to this trailer and they know a man that knows Mr. Diggs. They might have his number.” So we did but they didn’t, so dead end. By this time, it was getting a little late so we decided to stop for the day, with plans to be at the docks at 4:00 pm the next afternoon, to talk to the owner of the Alexandria Rose.
All the next day, Hambone was making plans. He was so excited about this boat. We left early and headed to the dock. When we got there, we saw the man’s new boat, already tied up for the night. Either he got in early or didn’t go out on Christmas eve. What a disappointment. We left a note on the Rose, telling him to call us if he was interested in selling the boat. We waited for the call but nothing came so, on Christmas Day, Hambone and his dad go off. I stayed with his mom, being lazy. The guys were gone, for what felt like forever and of course, when they get home, I’m asking where they’ve been. Hambone has this look on his face, kind of like the cat that swallowed the mouse. “Buying a boat” he says. So he tells the story. They went back to Eclipse, asking around, looking for Mr. Monkey Diggs and finally ran down someone that could give them his real name. When Hambone called him, he agreed to meet him. “Would Friday be okay?” “No, we were planning on going back to Florida Friday.” “Well, how bout I come down now. I can be there in about 30 minutes.” Great. Well, Mr. Diggs showed up and proceeded to show Hambone everything about the boat. He pulled up deck boards and motor box covers. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t and didn’t show him. Hambone was so impressed with the boat and with the owner, that he decided then and there, that he wanted the boat. They agreed to meet Thursday at the bank to sign the papers.
We called Scott and asked if he wanted to take a trip, bringing the Lorrie Lynn to Norfolk right after we took care of the legal stuff. Anyone who knows Scott, knows what his answer was, so the only thing we had to do was find a place to dock her. Hambone went to his favorite place, Cobb's Marina and booked a slip for a month. We made plans with Scott, did some cold weather clothes shopping and started talking about what we’d do to her, once we got her home.
Everything went great Thursday, except for the weather. It was pretty nasty out and Mr. Diggs advised us to wait until Friday to move the boat. Even Friday was a little chilly and rough but things went fine, that is until I bumped the throttle with my hip as we were docking and bumped the dock with the bow. As I was frantically moving levers, Hambone took control and stopped the boat. But nothing was hurt and we got tied up OK. Then it was back to Florida and three weeks to get things ready there.
That involved one more trip to Virginia with the truck loaded with everything we could think of that we’d need for 2 weeks on the ICW. And we had to get a boat slip. Talk about a run around. We couldn’t get a slip without insurance, we couldn’t get insurance without a survey and we couldn’t get a survey without hauling the boat. We didn’t want to haul the boat in Virginia because we planned on hauling it in Florida to do some work to it. Who wants to pay twice? Finally, we got some names from Mrs. Cobb at Cobb's Marina about who might do an in-water survey and one of the names just happened to be a retired NADEP NORVA employee that Hambone knew. So, Hambone made one more trip to Norfolk, to make sure the survey was completed and the paperwork sent to the insurance company. Then we were able to nail down a slip at a new, county owned marina, with brand new docks and the best prices in town, just 15 minutes from the house, at that!!