26-Jul-2003 -- I, Joseph Kerski, Geographer from Colorado USA, along with fellow confluence hunters Lilia, Emily, and Janell Kerski, attempted Latitude 37 degrees North, Longitude 76 degrees West in eastern Virginia USA. We drove north from Virginia Beach toward Cape Henry along US 60 to where it curves to the west and to Gate 2 of the Fort Story Military Reservation. The guard pointed us back to Gate 1 on the Atlantic coast. Fort Story is now a substation of Fort Eustis in Newport News. It is home to battalions of the Army, but the Marines and Navy have small tenant commands here. The Coast Guard also maintains a presence at the new Cape Henry Lighthouse. After receiving a vehicle permit, we proceeded west to the Old Fort Story lighthouse. The railing at the lighthouse visitor center was adorned with ribbons from friends and family of military personnel, praying for the safe return of their loved ones.
The area is rich in history. It is here where the first English voyagers to North America made landfall in 1607, naming it Cape Henry. The lighthouse is strategically situated at the mouth of the enormous Chesapeake Bay, and was the first construction project authorized by the very first United States Congress in 1791. After climbing up and down the lighthouse stairs, we hiked to the shore and to the de Grasse memorial. Here, a British fleet commanded by Admiral Graves engaged the French fleet of Admiral Comte de Grasse in a sea battle know as the Battle of the Capes. The French victory helped Washington defeat British admiral Cornwallis up the Chesapeake Bay at Yorktown. We spotted several boats, including sailboats, motorboats, an aircraft carrier, and a container ship, but none were willing or able to take us to the confluence. From both the lighthouse and the shore, we could see the
confluence, just east of the Chesapeake Bay bridge-tunnel. The bridge and tunnel measures 28.4 km long and is considered the world's largest bridge-tunnel complex. Obviously, it would be much easier to secure a boat in nearby Norfolk or Hampton, rather than on a military reservation.
We backtracked to the point where Longitude 76 West runs north into Chesapeake Bay. This point, near military housing, is a large field of grass pproximately 500 meters east of the old Fort Story Lighthouse. It was a fine, clear July Saturday afternoon, temperature around 30 degrees C. We took photographs and a movie. Still finding nobody able to take us offshore, we departed, setting our sights on 37 North 77 West, and leaving the exact point of this confluence to the seafaring.