Way back while we we were in Great Kills Harbour on Staten Island, Donna (from Mighty Fine) told us about a cool get together in Hampton, Virginia called the Hampton Snowbird Rendezvous. They hold seminars and provide resources to those headed south down the ICW to Florida and points beyond. The crew of Mighty Fine has been to the event two years running and was going back for a third, pretty good recommendation. Donna thought because of the bad weather (otherwise known as hurricane Joaquin), the event might have had a cancelation and we should check it out to see if we could get in.
The cost for the three-day rendezvous (Oct 16-18, 2015) was $35/person. There were two days of seminars, four meals, a wine & cheese reception and a shuttle to take you to grocery stores, propane refills, West Marine and much more all included in the $35 price tag! It’s a wicked deal and a great place to meet other boaters headed south either for the first time or veterans who’ve done it before.
Downtown Hampton Public Piers offers some pretty great deals for transients as well. If you stay for three nights, you get the fourth free. In addition to this good deal, for the Snowbird event, dockage only cost $1/foot, an excellent price for sure! And the cherry on top for us was the fact that we picked up a free night coupon at the boat show when we dropped by the Hampton Public Piers booth! We ended up staying 5 nights and paying for 3 at a discounted price.
We would highly recommend this event, especially if it’s your first time travelling down the ICW. There was tons of information regarding how to navigate, where trouble spots were and how to get updated information regarding current conditions along the way. The early October storms caused major flooding in the Carolinas and other parts of the ICW, there were many discussions between participants and from presenters about shoaling issues, bridge heights (not all have a clearance of 65 feet this year) and water depths. A one stop shopping opportunity to heads a good picture of what was to come. While the internet is a great resource for this kind of information, there is a lot to be said about face to face interaction with real people.