Into The Dismal
29 October 2018
It was sunny, 50* and the winds were calm when we left Waterside marina at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday morning. We had to do a little dance, like we've done in the past, waiting for the Gilmerton bridge to open. Two other sailboats were traveling with us as we turned into the Dismal Swamp canal. There were just the four of us in the Deep Creek lock. Our favorite lock tender has a new puppy. He is 9 months old and his name is Bull. So cute! There was some duck weed in the canal. We knew from our experience last year that we needed to keep a close eye on the temperature gauge, along with watching the depth and looking up to watch for branches that we might hit with our mast. Sure enough, just as we reached the visitors center our temperature gauge started to rise. We were able to get tied up at the dock and shut the engine off before the alarm went off. We met our fellow boaters and then quickly slipped below deck to check the engine sea water strainer. It was packed with duck weed. I cleaned it out and Carl put it back in. After Judy and I registered our boats at the visitor's center, we walk to the Dismal Swamp State Park across the bridge. We only had 30 minutes to hurry through the exhibits. When we got back to the boats we welcomed another sailboat to our group and later a trawler. We were all rafted with six boats all together. As the sun began to set, we all retreated to our boats for the evening.
It was a cold (44*) night with no power on the dock. We were up at 6:30 a.m. and ready to move at 7:30. We untied one by one, with the outside boats leaving first. Bay Breezin' started to overheat again just before we reached the South Mills lock. We shut the engine down and I kept the boat in the middle of the canal while Carl went below to clean the strainer. We started back up in time to enter the lock. One of the boats in front of us got turned sideways in the lock somehow. He finally got straightened out and the rest of us entered and tied up to the walls. Just after we exited the lock, our engine overheated again! We shut the engine down and let the other boats go by. This time the strainer was clean. Carl checked some other things to no avail. Nemo offered to tow us out of the Dismal....and all the way down the Posquatank River to Elizabeth City. I called tow boat. He was coming from Coinjock and it took him nearly two hours to get to E. C. Nemo dropped anchor and we drifted to raft up and wait for tow boat to take us through the bridge and into Pelican marina. The tow boat driver asked who towed us. "A Good Samaritan?" "No" I said " just really Good Friends!" Lucky for us there was an old (90 years) yanmar diesel mechanic who lived aboard his boat there. He met us at the dock and started trouble shooting. After a while he decided that it might be the sea water intake. Sure enough, that was it! Carl flushed it out good and we are all set to go! We all walked to the Italian restaurant next door for dinner. We enjoyed a fabulous meal while watching a beautiful sunset with really great friends!!