ICW - Dismal Swamp
20 July 2018 | 32 46.350”N:080 03.797”W
After leaving Beaufort we headed on up the ICW to Charleston with Mark and Elaine on See Ya. We had a day of thunderstorms and ended up anchoring just off the waterway in one of the many creeks. Because Mark had left early he was a couple of hours ahead of us and we lost radio contact so we used the internet to communicate. We had actually caught up to him but he was in a different anchorage. We were swinging badly during the thunderstorms and got really close to the bank, so we decided to move out in the open and then found See Ya.
Following morning we got up to find See Ya already gone. Mark always seems to have a bee up his ass. The rain had cleared and it was a beautiful day so we headed out too. We had not gone too far when the engine oil light came on. The captain had a look and it seemed as we were leaking oil. We put more in but within minutes it was all gone. We shut the engine down and had to anchor right in the middle of the waterway. A couple of boats did stop by to see if we needed help or if they could call anyone, but a little breeze came and we decided to pop the sail. We ended up making it to a boat yard called Ross Marine, on John’s Island.
Andy went up to the office and they arranged to contact a Westerbeake dealer but it would be a few days before they could come to the boat. Ross Marine was kind enough to let us stay on the dock as long as necessary at no cost. It’s a boat yard so there are really no facilities; it is a 3 mile walk to the grocery store and the town. Mark and Elaine rented a car and did come pick us up and show us around. Mark had lived near here for several years and worked as a pilot. It was just across the bridge from Charleston and we got to hang out and have some fun. Maggie and Steve finally caught up to us and waited for us to get the repairs done. The mechanic showed up after a week and installed a new oil pan and raw water pump. The oil pan took almost a full day. It was quite costly but as you know everything on a boat usually is.
Once the work was done we then left with Blessed for Georgetown and two days of motoring up the ICW. Georgetown is a touristy place with just bars and restaurants on the main street. The following day we headed outside at 4:00am for Cape Fear to hook back up with Sea Ya. This is a hopping place but the last time we were here it was the fall so it was not busy. There is not a lot of anchorage space but we were able to get along side at one of the restaurants, The Provision Company, which offers free docks if you eat there and if it’s not the weekend, allowed us to stay overnight.
We all went out for dinner and drank our faces off. One of the six of us, not me, fell off the dock into the ocean ha ha, but was able to get back out with some help (that was a cold dunk as we were now in North Carolina). Lots to see here, everything is accessible and you can walk to Wal-Mart and ABC liquor or it’s a cheap Uber ride.
After a fun few days we headed on to one of our favorite places Oriental, NC. All three boats were here and had a great time. This is a very cruiser friendly place, some free dock space, a marine store where you can get most anything, also they have free bicycles you can you. I did use one but did a face plant on the road, few scratches nothing serious, pride was hurt as a paramedic pulled up to see if I was okay. You can also call the Piggly Wiggly and they will come in there SUV and pick you up and take you shopping at there store and bring you back to the dinghy dock. There is also a really good dollar store here very well stocked. Two ex Cruising friends stopped by to have dinner with us, Sheena and Kinsley off Almost There, which has now been sold. Tinka, Bill and Cora off, Proud Mary, we met them all on our way to Grenada and spent hurricane season with them there.
From Oriental we went to Elizabeth City with an overnight stop in the Alligator River. Elizabeth City had the Potato Fest on this time around, which was really fun with some great live bands and cheap food. It’s always free docks here, nice walk to the grocery store and second hand places.
Left here with Blessed and headed to the Dismal swamp, you must do a lock but this is a must do if you have not done it, it’s a very narrow channel with tall trees on both sides lots of wildlife to be seen. It takes two days to get through, we were going to stop at the welcome center but it was full, about 6 miles further you will come to a dock alongside the highway rest stop that you can tie up too. You have to be very careful doing the swamp as there are some dead heads, with some shallow spots. I was driving at one point and intent on looking out at the water and forgot to look up and took out a few large overhanging branches with the mast. The captain was not impressed with me but oh well shit happens. We stopped for the night and he had to go up the mast and retrieve the mess of trees, fortunately nothing was broken. The next morning we all left and headed to hospital point in Norfolk, VA which is the end of the swamp.