Sunday, April 24, 2022

Elizabeth City to Dismal Swamp to Chesapeake, slip

Day 1.
Two days of travel in one blog, but that's because we were on the Dismal Swamp for 2 days.

Since we'd done this section of waterways a couple of times now we knew how to pace it. It's not long mile-wise, but it is best to do slow. It's one of the prettiest sections you see, so no reason to go fast. But mainly it's both narrow and thin; We saw depts below the keel of 2 feet in sections. Going fast can pull up some logs and make issues. Add some old fashioned locks on top of that (one to get you onto the canal and one off), and there's no reason to hustle.

It's just not that dismal!
The locks are a bit of a thing. The section between the locks are called pools. This pool does not have a lot of water in it. Moreover, it only gets replenished with rain water -- it doesn't get flow from the bays or ocean around it. So when the locks open they are adding or removing a million gallons of water from the pool. As a result the Coast Guard will only allow the lock to operate 4 times a day, and they must do so together to keep the pool level. 8:30, 11, 1:30, and 3:30. That's it. Come early, you wait. Come late, you wait.

Getting The Perch docked behind us.
We left Elizabeth City around 8:30 am to be at the lock at 11. We were joined by Long Recess and the two of us headed to the Visitor Center for the night.

The crew of Long Recess were some folks we met last year on the rivers and a docktails in Marietta. They are doing the loop this year. We're hoping to bump into them a couple of times as we head up to New York before we turn off to head to Maine.

While at the Visitor Center we were told 2 more boats were coming, one of which was The Perch. This is a bit of a celebrity vessel as the AGLCA's very own Kim Russo is aboard doing the loop. We all got together in the evening for a wonderful docktails.

Day 2

Left to right: Karen, Tony, me, Michael,
Margo (the Cockatoo), Kim and Russ.
Next day, engines on, and we all continued up the creek to the northernmost lock. We got there about an hour early, so we all rafted on the wall. Russ made us a second breakfast. Our 11 am lock-through got held up a bit since they locked up 3 boats first. Everyone sat out and chatted, so we enjoyed the extra time.

From there we all went our separate ways. We headed for Top Rack to fuel up and dine at the restaurant there, The Amber Lantern.

All rafted at the wall below the Deep Creek Lock.

Officially the ICW had come to an end. Onto the Chesapeake!

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