Taste of the Dismal
03 June 2019
Jeff & Wendy
After crossing the Albemarle Sound in a brisk north component wind last week we pushed on, passing through Elizebeth City. That evening we anchored at Goat Island which put us in a great position for the 1100 locking into the Dismal Swamp, at South Mills, NC.
Cruisers we talk to about this “Alternate Route” of the ICW, either love or hate it. This was our 14th trip trough the Swamp, so you can imagine what category we fall into.
Although we’ve bumped submerged logs, dodged floating stumps & branches, and even had a tree fall across the canal, in our wake, meer feet from Calypso’s stern, this is a very special place for us.
It’s history dates back hundreds of years. George Washington expressed interest in the Great Dismal Swamp, in 1763. He along with five others formed a company with the desire to drain the Great Dismal Swamp for farmland. Construction of the Dismal Swamp Canal began in 1793 and was completed in 1805 but the constant flow of water from Lake Drummond never stopped.
Over the years, The Dismal Swamp has been a secluded location for duels, a key component for The Underground Railroad, and an inspiration for story tellers and several prominent poets. After his visit here Edgar Allen Poe wrote his, “very dark”, poem titled “The Lake” based on a Native American legend about a young couple who disappeared after searching for each other in the swamp.
Today, the Dismal Swamp Canal is “the oldest operating man made waterway in the United States”. It is the eastern boundary of the 14,000 acre Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
We stopped for the night at a small dock about six miles from the northern lock at Deep Creek, VA. It was less eventful than our last trip when we were visited by an armed, “City of Chesapeake” Park Ranger. He made it quite clear that we were not to overstay our welcome, as he pointed to the 24 Hour Dockage sign. This time no 24-hour sign & no ranger...;)
The next day we were underway to make the 1330 locking out of the swamp. It was nice to take a few minutes to chat with Robert, as you know, the worlds friendliest Lock Master. On to the Chesapeake Bay!
Hope you enjoy the YouTube!
Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages
Jeff & Wendy