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Published: October 27th 2009
Oct 25,09 Dismal Swamp Visitors Centre
We left Norfolk/Portsmouth just before 11 am. Headed down the Dismal Swamp. There is a Cypress Swamp here, although so far I have not noticed any cypress trees. Still its an interesting although narrow canal. The lowest reading on our depth sounder was 7.6 ft very briefly, most of the time it was between 8 to 10 feet. One has to watch for logs, and other things sticking up out of the water, it also pays to look up as there is the occasional overhanging branch to dodge.
There are a couple of spots along the way, that one could possibly tie up on, we did not try it since we had concern regarding the depth close to the banks.
The lock master at the Deep Creek lock was a very nice fellow, he let us in the lock early, rather than us tying up on the piles outside the lock. It's nice they take your lines loop them around the bollards and pass them back for you. There was quite a bit of turbulence in the lock once the water started in but not too difficult to manage.
view along dismal swamp canal
along there was a very decrepit house , with a sign announcing it was the supervisors house. I hope they have given him a new one, because that one needed to be condemned. We passed various kayakers, and I have to say this would be a great place to canoe or kayak, with its calm waters.
At one point I looked behind us and the reflections of the trees in the water was bending due to our passing, it reminded me of the Salvadore Dahlie painting, Bending Time. I wish I had been able to capture this on a photo.
At mile 25 on the canal a sign welcomes you to North Carolina. The temperature was distinctly chilly today, not what one expects in N.C.
The welcome centre is a lovely spot. Too bad to arrive so late and not get to explore a little. There are 11 boats rafted up here tonight, so its an early morning for us, since the folks we rafted up to, are leaving at 7:15 am, that means we and the boat rafted to us must leave then as well.
After dropping 8 feet at the next lock one enters the Pasquotank River. This is winding scenic river with sharp bends every little while. The flotilla of 9 sailboats that all left together from the visitor centre spread out quite a bit and most were soon lost from view.
The real gem along the way is Elizabeth City. The people here take hospitality to visiting boats to a fine art. One gentleman directed us to a free tie up, inviting us to a wine and cheese party later in the day. These events are put on anytime more than four boats arrive! The welcome centre is happy to provide you with all sorts of information and direction to various services in the area.
The local merchants and residents are also very friendly and helpful, one boater was given a lift back from the laundromat, another was picked up with his diesel jugs, taken to the gas station,returned to his boat. That driver also noticed a woman bringing home provisions, turned around found her and brought her back to her boat as well. Additionally the local grocery will pick you up, return you to your boat when you are ready, no cost, no minimum purchase required!
Since there are no washrooms or power along the walls here, one of the local businesses offers, showers, pool,saunas and fitness club to visiting boaters for 5.00. I consider this a pretty good deal with free dockage, water and wifi available.
All the ladies received a rose clipped from the bushes growing in the plantings at the Visitor and Convention Centre. All in all a lovely spot I would highly recommend to anyone who asked. It was a full house today when we arrived, but they found us a spot. Elizabeth City truly welcomes the transient boater.
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