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ICW Trip 2001 Leg 5 & 6 Dismal Swamp to Elizabeth City MM 51

Down the Pasquotank


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Wednesday 31 October 2001 South Mills Lock

Raft up at the Visitor's Center docks

Raft up at the Visitor's Center docks


The Canadian on VAGABOND decided not to be towed - he said they assured him that they wouldn't leave him there for the winter. DUNFLYN left early

We started the engine at 7:45 and pulled away at 7:59 because TROUBADOUR the Gozzard wanted to leave at 8. But just as we were getting ready to leave, she asked me about the current and tide indicators on The Capn, the computer charting program. I didn't have enough time to answer her. The trawler ahead of us pulled out before we did. At 8:49 we were all waiting for the South Mills bridge - there were 4 boats (DUNFLYN one of them) tied on the bridge fenders.

The lock tender/bridge tender opened the bridge, but the boats on the bridge fenders were slow getting underway, and the boats in back of us were laggardly and the lock tender had to chastise them.

South Mills Lock Gates Open

South Mills Lock Gates Open


We came into the lock - much less chatty tender - hardly talked at all.
South Mills lock tender (and our solar panel)

South Mills lock tender (and our solar panel)


We were on the starboard side behind PERSEPHONE (a sailboat), DUNFLYN, and another trawler.
South Mills Lock gates behind us

South Mills Lock gates behind us

When you lock through these locks, you put out fenders to protect the side of the boat from the side of the lock, and you also loop lines over the bollards at the top of the lock walls
Max, Lucette and Bob handling the lock lines

Max, Lucette and Bob handling the lock lines


These lines help keep the boat from being pushed around or into each other in the lock from the current generated by water coming into the lock or going out of the lock. On the port side were TROUBADOUR, SEASON TICKET, JOLIE DAME and FIREFLY.

We exited the lock at 9:43, and Bob turned the wheel over to Lucette. She learned how to steer while we were in Turner's Cut.
Starting down Turner's Cut

Starting down Turner's Cut


DUNFLYN and the other trawlers went ahead and were soon out of sight. JOLIE DAME hung back after the lock, so FIREFLY with its little Atomic 4 engine was the lead sailboat, and then us, and then the Gozzard TROUBADOUR.

Eventually, FIREFLY pulled over for lunch, and then we could only see the Gozzard behind us as the Pasquotank RIver twisted around.
Troubadour behind us on the Pasquotank

Troubadour behind us on the Pasquotank


We went through a very smokey area. There are fires because there's been a drought.
650797-Bald_Cypress_Dismal_Swamp_State_Park.jpgPasquotank River with bald cypress

Pasquotank River with bald cypress


We started to see mistletoe in the trees. We passed the A. W. Jones Lumber Company again with the "Plastic and Smoke Free" sign. It said "No plastic and no cigarettes allowed on this property. Our jobs depend on it."
Wood chip plant on the shore

Wood chip plant on the shore


We also passed fishermen.
Fishermen on the Pasquotank

Fishermen on the Pasquotank


We came down to the RR bridge before Elizabeth City. It has a very narrow opening at right angles to the river, but Lucette did fine.
Approaching the RR bridge

Approaching the RR bridge


We went through the Elizabeth City bridge
Elizabeth City bridge opening

Elizabeth City bridge opening


ahead and I took a picture of TROUBADOUR (the Gozzard), which I later gave her.
Troubadour coming through the bridge

Troubadour coming through the bridge


We were tied up at the Elizabeth City free docks (MM 51 - that is fifty one miles from Hospital Point in Norfolk) by about 12:30. We were right next to a CSY 33 named BEAU. They were having transmission problems, so they had to wait for a repair person to get to them the same as the guy we left at the Visitor's Center.
87890799650860-Docking_at_El..abeth_City.jpgTying up at the free docks - Lucette, Max, Linda, and Rob

Tying up at the free docks - Lucette, Max, Linda, and Rob


Elizabeth City has 2 nights (48 hour) free dockage at the public docks - primarily for boats going north or south on the ICW through the Dismal Swamp Canal. If the weather is bad, no one will kick you out though. We've never stayed more than 2 days. Fifteen boats can be accommodated. The number on the slip shows the width of the slip so you can pick one that you will fit in. Catamarans go over on the Waterworks side, or in some cases on the restaurant dock. Depths are about 12 feet which is plenty for anyone who's been through the Dismal Swamp. There are water connections (check the drinking fountain), but there is no power available. Bathrooms (but no showers) are available in Waterworks when it is open.

The finger piers are quite short and low, so at high tide, I have to have a milk crate or stool on the finger pier in order to get off. Some folks just climb over the bow directly onto the seawall.

S/V RosalieAnn at the Elizabeth City docks

S/V RosalieAnn at the Elizabeth City docks

We went over to Stocks (Comstock's Confectionery) where we both had milkshakes (the old fashioned kind with real ice cream) with lunch.

Bob went into town and found some appropriate long pans. He also went to the hardware store and shopped. I went onto the Gozzard to show her the Tides and Currents on her program - had to climb through the bowsprit which was pretty difficult for me.

If there are more than 4 new boats at the docks, the Rose Buddies will hold a wine and cheese party on the river side of Waterworks in a tent. Fred, a former USPS employee and a friend now deceased started the Rose Buddys in Elizabeth City. Fred instigated the free docks, and the custom of a wine and cheese party. In the afternoon, Fred comes by in his golf cart and takes note of how many cruisers there are and invites them to the party. In the summer and early fall, each lady from the boats gets a rose (thus the Rose Buddy name). The Rose Buddies have rose bushes at the dock, and also have some at the Welcome Center on the Dismal Swamp Canal.

Location for Rose Buddy party (taken 2002)

Location for Rose Buddy party (taken 2002)

The idea is to get people off their boats and talking to each other and sharing experiences. Because otherwise, we tend to be a bit isolated, especially those who are saving money by anchoring out instead of coming into marinas. Willard Scott when he heard about the pair, gave Fred a Rose Buddy golf cart. Fred gives a speech at the party, and asks the cruisers to sign a book. Unfortunately, sometimes the cruiser's book disappears, so he no longer brings the book to the party. He doesn't like you to be late, so pay attention to the time. (He was annoyed because we were late for the party.)

We ate dinner at the Colonial Restaurant that night. This is a low key place, with a lot of local patrons - some of them very senior citizens. Very much a local place, and not fancy - no tablecloths, just paper placemats. But very nice people, good service and the food was good. There is a smoking section and our friends didn't appreciate the smoke from the smoking section in the non-smoking section.There is a big mural on the wall of a stern wheeler and the words to the song "Way Down Yonder on the Pasquotank". I don't know the tune, but it obviously isn't "Swanee River" Our bill for the two of us was $17.42 including tip.

Thursday 1 November 2001

It was VERY foggy this morning. I woke up at 6 and could see across the river. But by 7, you couldn't even see the last marker. They told us it was smoke from the forest or peat fires, - one of the guys at Stocks (where we were having breakfast) said at one point he couldn't see past the hood of his car. {Stocks has been closed} Locals used to gather here at Stocks in the morning for breakfast. You could read the paper if you put it back. Food was cooked the old fashioned way - individually on a grille. I had a country ham and egg biscuit for $2.20. We decided to stay another day so Max and Lucette would have time with Rob and Linda of BEAU.
large_00309532298720110308184610837.jpg
Max and Lucette and Rob and Linda went to the Colonial for breakfast, and then walked to the athletic club for showers. Bob went and bought bread at the bakery. I walked around town some. The new Albemarle Museum is almost finished. The Chamber of Commerce will let you bring in your laptop to do email, but crossing the street is an adventure in itself, and if you can wait until you get to the Alligator Marina, it is easier there. We considered going down to Edenton, but when I did the routing, it was 57 miles, and would be a long day down and a long day back.

Most of the boats at the docks are Canadian. The Canadian boats are TOURNE BRISE, ELVIRE, PANAMA JACK, JAZZZ I, IGUAZU, SHEENA II (a trawler with a sick dog), and HUMA (who was with us in Norfolk). TOBIN JAMES, the trawler next to us was from the US, and earned Bob's disapprobation by running their genset most of the night. VENUS has a home post of Anguilla, plus there was a bright yellow catamaran from Sydney Australia named MARA. They've already gone halfway around the world - they went through the Suez and through the Med, down to the Caribbean, up to Maine, and are heading for Panama. We met them at the second Rose Buddy party. It was too late for roses, so we got cotton boles to become a "cotton pickin' Carolinian"

We ate at the Cypress Creek Grill (Recommended by Claiborne Young) for dinner. Very good and very popular. I had barbecue.

Friday 2 November 2001

We were going to wait to leave until late if it was foggy, but it wasn't. The sky WAS red in the morning, and I was afraid that there would be waves in Albemarle Sound (2 feet were predicted), so we left the slip at 6:40, and motored down toward the sound.
Leaving Elizabeth CIty

Leaving Elizabeth CIty


We saw the big CG station (there was a C130 buzzing us) and the blimp manufacturing building with a blimp moored next to it.
Blimp manufacturing building

Blimp manufacturing building


There was very little wind, and the river was flat calm.

Next Alligator River

Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:53 Archived in USA

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Comments

Great that you are reconstructing this trip report from VT. I've never been to North Carolina, but I just looked up Elizabeth City on the map and found that the closest I have ever been to there was Williamsburg, Virgina. One of my cousins was working there, taking care of horses, which was the ideal job for her at the time.

by Nemorino

Elizabeth CIty is just over the border - it isn't really a tourist town. The museum that I mentioned ran out of money and never opened.

It's more interesting (in my opinion) to drive down US 17 along the Dismal Swamp Canal in the early fall (October) and stop at the Visitor's Center between the highway and the canal.

by greatgrandmaR

Rose Buddies cheese and wine party is a great idea! Nice way to meet new people :)

by hennaonthetrek

Yes - as I said - people on boats are kind of isolated. It is also a good marketing ploy for Elizabeth City - building the docks so that people stop there.

by greatgrandmaR

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