Watch out for snakes
06/13/2008, Deep Creek, VA
June 9th.... Goat Island to Deep Creek Lock (The Dismal Swamp)
Our trip to the Dismal Swamp took us to the upper end of the Pasquotank river and then into Turner's Cut to the Lock at South Mills where the old canal really began. We ran the "Swamp" last fall and were reassured by the Deep Creek lockmaster Robert that it was in better condition now than is was at that time. We did ride over a couple of submerged logs in the upper Pasquotank but didn't touch bottom in the Dismal Swamp at all.
As we were leaving the South Mills lock in the morning a nice sized water moccasin floated in on a hunk of wood but we were too slow to get a photo. We yelled at "Solitaire" behind us and Nancy was able to get quick shot as they cruised out of the lock.
It was another 100+ degree day with no wind. Since the Dismal Swamp Canal is mostly tree covered we did have some shade....and we certainly didn't do anything that resembled work. When we arrived at the Deep Creek Lock on the north end of the canal we were disappointed that Robert was had the day off but George, his stand-in, did a fine job of making us feel welcome.
After tying up our boats at the dock, I got out the hose and connected it to the water supply to soak ourselves down. Throughout the afternoon whenever I was too hot I just walked down to the hose and soaked myself.
Later we walked about ½ mile...keeping to the shade, back to town to a Mexican Restaurant that we had seen from the boat. It was air conditioned and the food was passable. After stalling as long as possible it was across the street to the Food Lion for more air. We picked up some salad stuff, butter and snacks before the journey back to the boats.
George told us that one of the bridges on the way in to Norfolk was having problems and that he was going to recommend that we stay in Deep Creek ... if we had planned on continuing north.
Hot and still
06/13/2008, Goat Island, NC
June 8th.. Elizabeth City to Goat Island
We spent most of the day on Sunday watching the races but when they were finished in the afternoon we shoved off for a short trip north and anchored on the back side of Goat Island. On the 8 mile trip we found lots and lots of folks playing in the river. Some were skiing and tubing while many groups were just floating in the water next to their boats.
Our anchorage was quiet and secluded and made for an easy trip in the morning up the South Mills lock for the 8:30 opening.
The air was still and the waters so calm that we got some great "reflection" photos of both boats. Nancy and I both spent some time swimming. The top 10 inches of the water was hot... quite a bit warmer than body temperature. Three feet down it was much cooler and felt good. I washed some oily soot from our water line but didn't do much damage to the brown ICW waterline.
06/13/2008, Elizabeth City, NC
June 6th... Little Alligator River to Elizabeth City.
Happy Birthday Annie!
The Albemarle Sound and Pasquotank River were both like glass today. It was foggy with visibility at about a mile and nothing in sight except crab pots. The 30 miles to Elizabeth were uneventful. The heat however was noteworthy. It was the hottest day that we have had in almost a year on the water. Arriving at Elizabeth City which has been known for years for their hospitality toward cruisers, we found that we were in the midst of the Carolina Cup Regatta.
After docking, the crews of Sapphire and Solitaire headed for the nearest air conditioning which was a restaurant adjacent to the wharf. It was so hot that we were exhausted after simply getting six lines on the boat. We had a late lunch and talked with some other cruisers spending as much time inside as we could.
The waterfront where we were staying held a carnival atmosphere... with food vendors, and parent organizations selling all kinds of things that we didn't need. We did all go for a walk to a market and purchased a few groceries. On the way back to the boats we found a seafood store and stocked up on shrimp and scallops. After a short deliberation that afternoon the decision was made to stay and watch the hydroplane races instead of moving north tomorrow.
June 7th... Elizabeth City
In the morning we walked over a block the see all the race boats lined up on the streets. The crews had erected tents over most of them and were getting everything tuned up for the days racing. There were at least four different classes and some vintage race boats from the 50's and 60's that were there to put on an exhibition.
The races started about noon and continued to about five in the afternoon. It was loud. The race course was a little more that a mile in diameter and stopped traffic on the river. Every three or four heats they stopped action and let boat traffic pass.
There was just a slight ripple on the water and some of the faster boats were hitting speeds in excess of 140 mph. Like car races, there were many blown engines, breakdowns, and other mechanical problems. One of the boats caught on fire in front and the driver had to jump in the water to avoid serious injury.
The more we watched the more we appreciated the better drivers. Track position was critical because on the rooster tails on the corners. If a boat was caught behind and just outside another, they were blinded and had to slow.
We had a nice day in the heat and had snacks on "Solitaire" in the day. Nancy invited the boat next to them which was owned and crewed by a young couple ages 18 and 19. Somehow we stayed up until midnight.