Things that go bump...in the Dismal Swamp
30 May 2016
Saturday May 28
We left the anchorage on the Pasquotank River at 8:05 a.m.
The sun was out and the skies were clear. We were at the South Mills Bridge and Lock for the 11:00 opening. We were first in the lock with two boats behind us. Going up! We're out of the lock and on our way in no time. We bumped along up the Dismal. It is very shallow and there are lots of logs on the bottom. Most of the time there is two feet or less under the keel. There was one boat on the dock when we arrived at the N.C. Welcome Center. We tied up a little after noon. After a bite to eat for lunch, we stayed busy sharing stories and helping other boats raft up. By the end of the day, we had nine boats rafted three wide. We talked about having a dock party, but everyone was too tired. We turned in early not sure yet of when we would leave.
Sunday May 29
The forecast was for rain to start over night. There was some fog this morning that burned off quickly but no rain yet. We decided to keep moving. Four other boats decided to go too. We left the dock at 8 a.m. in order to reach the next lock by 11:00. The shade from the tree canopy and the clouds made for a cool day on the water. We crossed the Virginia State line. A beautiful butterfly joined us, fluttering around on the bow for miles, periodically hiding behind the mast to get out of the wind, and then flying in and out of the cockpit. The birds were singing and the honeysuckle perfumed the air. The depth alarm kept sounding and we bumped lots of things on the bottom. As we approached the bridge before the Deep Creek Lock, it started to drizzle. We waited for a single south bound boat to come through the lock first. After going through the bridge we waited at the lock where the tender finally invited us in one by one starting at 11:20. There were six boats in the lock. We were going down 10 1/2 feet this time. The rain picked up. We all exit the lock one by one. The Norfolk Southern RR bridge and the Gilmerton bridge are side by side. As we approached the bridges, the railroad bridge started to close. Now we have to wait for the train. not one but two. It takes an hour before we get through both bridges. We wind our way through the commercial vessel docks and the Naval ship docks. We saw the American Rover and the Spirit of Norfolk at Mile 0, the end of ICW for us. We were still traveling with one of the boats from the Welcome Center, S/V Paperbird. Together we decided to bypass the Portsmouth town dock for an anchorage at Old Point Comfort. We crossed over the tunnel. It was 4p.m. when we arrived and the rain started coming down harder. Carl had to go out in the rain to drop the anchor. After dinner the sun came out! More rain is forcasted for tomorrow. 57 more miles to Urbanna!