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Friday, September 25, 2020

The Dismal Swamp

While crossing the Dismal Swamp can be done in 1 day there's a wonderful visitor center about mid-way. When we did this route last year on the loop there were 6 or 7 boats here. Today there are 2 of us -- I had originally written "just us" when a sail catamaran pulled up minutes ago.

The Dismal Swamp Canal is the product of an idea started by George Washington. You may have heard of him. It's not the way most boats like to go because it is narrow and very thin. We noted depths consistently between 7 and 3 feet (below our keel, which is about 3 1/2 feet). That makes trawlers with exposed props or 5 foot drafts nervous. 

The lockmaster's house, but I don't think he lives
there anymore. He collects conch shells. If you
come by, bring him one!
But it is one of the best waterways on the ICW. Peaceful, calm (as you can only travel around 5 knots), and lush. We love the Dismal.

It is a man-made canal, so there are 2 locks that bound it. Going southward, the first lock is Deep Creek. It's run by lockmaster Robert. Robert has been the lockmaster there for over 25 years. He loves his job.

Perfectly still waters makes for a mirror-like
reflection on the water. Kinda eerie.

He's chatty, helpful, and informative. Out of the blue he mentioned that just passed his bridge there's a dock, and from there you can walk to a Waffle House, an autoparts store, and a Food Lion grocery. Interestingly, we needed a grocery, Russ needed to unload some used engine oil, and we're always up for a 2nd breakfast. So we did just that -- pulled over just passed the bridge. Russ took his oil to the auto parts place, I went grocery shopping, then we had waffles. After, we slowly headed out down the quiet swamp, just as the rain hit in earnest.

It was a lovely day.

Early signs of fall are in the leaves.
Yep, good time to head south.

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