Issue: June 2008
MARINA HOPPING: Golden Oldie

Mobjack Bay Marina may be much the same as it always has been, but that's a great good fortune for cruisers.

by Jody Argo Schroath

Mobjack Bay Marina owner Darlene Talbot pushed her chair back from the table and walked over to take the framed article off the wall. "No, not much as changed," she said, scanning the magazine story, "although we do have a twenty-ton lift now, besides the seven-ton." The article Talbot was studying was a Marina Hopping piece from this magazine, written 15 years ago--which just goes to show how slowly life moves around here.

Talbot and I were seated at a cozy kitchen table in the office/ship's store, chatting about the marina and watching the marina dog at our feet, a wee mite of a thing with more hair than substance, chewing persistently on a stray boat part. Outside, a raw April wind and a persistent drizzle made the kitchen table and the warm office all the more inviting.

There were, of course, a few other things that have changed since 1993. Most particularly, perhaps, was that back then Talbot's husband Michael was the marina's proprietor, while she continued her career in a dermatologist's office. "I would come over to the marina and spruce things up from time to time," she said, "but otherwise I spent no time here at all." In fact, she rather resented their move in 1987 to this remote area of Virginia's Middle Peninsula. "I just didn't see the point of it."

But when Michael died in 2003, she jumped into the marina business with both feet and never looked back. "And now I love it as much as he did." In large part, Talbot credits the success of the transition to J.W. Boone who has leased the boatyard since the Talbots purchased it in 1987. It is Boone that sees to day-to-day details of the marina and supervises its extensive repair facilities. "He's the glue. Without him it wouldn't have been possible," she said.

Mobjack Bay Marina sits away from the rush of the world near the top of one of the loveliest bays on the Bay--up Mobjack Bay's North River on Greenmansion Cove. You'll never hear the hum of traffic while dozing peacefully at one of the marina's 106 slips. While not exactly at the end of 40 miles of bad road, it's definitely at the tail end of about three miles of severely pitted, hard-packed dirt, which makes relaxing easy, but shopping difficult. There is no restaurant or tiki bar with weekend karaoke. Instead, boaters spend their summer Saturday evenings gathered around picnic tables sheltered by fine old pines and listening to . . . well, nothing, really. If you need a hot shower, you'll find one here. If you need a swimming pool, you'll be out of luck. If your boat needs some work done before you get under way again, you're really in luck. Boone is the man to do it. The marina may be short on amenities, but it's long on hospitality. So cruise on in and set a spell. I'm sure glad I did.

Here's how to get to there: Follow the Mobjack Bay markers to flashing green "1" at the entrance to North River. Once in the river, follow the right split around Chapel Neck into Blackwater Creek at flashing red "2". Look for local daymarker red "2" about half-a-mile to the north at the entrance to Greenmansion Cove---named for the imposing (as in very big) brick (though not green brick) home known by that name that sits at the head of the bay. Just ahead, you'll see local green "3" and just east of that, Mobjack Bay Marina. The total distance from the Bay to the marina is about 10 miles.