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Entries about dismal swamp

2001 ICW Leg 4-York River to Dismal Swamp 33 nm + MM 28

Including Norfolk and the Dismal Swamp Visitor's Center


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

Monday 29 October 2001

Today we left the marina and had motored out into the York River by 8:40. We motored down to Norfolk and were passing Fort Monroe by 1300
Ft Monroe and Old Point Comfort Lighthouse

Ft Monroe and Old Point Comfort Lighthouse

Norfolk shoreline

Norfolk shoreline


There were all kinds of restrictions about being within 100 yards of any Navy ship (which Norfolk is full of)
Tug_going_past_Navy_docks

Tug_going_past_Navy_docks


but there was no particular problem with getting past the Norfolk Navy yards - heard people being chastised for their wakes - a lot of barge traffic and little boats patrolling around the navy ships. We went to Waterside again.

This is where the Mileage of the Intercoastal Waterway begins - MM 0 is at Hospital Point right across the River from us. The mileage is in statute miles and not nautical miles which are a little longer. From here on, the final mileage marker will be the distance we have gone from Norfolk Mile Marker Zero.

Bob forgot to pack more than one pair long pants, so when we went to dinner in Norfolk, instead of eating right at Waterside, we walked to the mall. He looked in Nordstroms but didn't think the pants there were good enough quality or cheap enough. We ate there at Max & Erma's which is a chain that our friends were familiar with. It is a dark wood /steakhouse/bar kind of place. Food was good, but I don't remember much else about it. They have burgers, steak and BBQ.
Max and Erma's sign

Max and Erma's sign


They had a 'gluten free' menu, and kids eat free on Tuesday.I think I might have had something like:ERMA'S MEATLOAFA thick slice of homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes smothered in our rich gravy. Served with buttered corn. $9.29 The total bill for the two of us was $30.22 including the tip.

We walked back past the McArthur Memorial which I remembered from when Bob was stationed in Norfolk in 1963 - I didn't realize that was so far downtown.

I downloaded email in the dockmaster's office and talked to folks on the dock. It was much quieter than the last time we were there. We found out from talking to folks that the Dismal Swamp Canal WAS still open, but only for the first and last locking of the day - 9 and 3:30. To get to the first lock by 9 and through all the bridges in Norfolk with restricted hours, we will have to be on our toes and leave early. Lucette made a bunch of phone calls, but everyone had gone home for the day.

Tuesday 30 October 2001

We cast off from Waterside at 6:49 - we wanted to get to the Jordan Lift Bridge as soon as the hours were unrestricted at 7:30.
Jordan Lift Bridge

Jordan Lift Bridge

Going under the Jordan Lift Bridge

Going under the Jordan Lift Bridge

Looking up at the bridge tender's cabin

Looking up at the bridge tender's cabin

Looking back

Looking back


By the time we got to the bridge there were 12 other monohull sailboats, a catamaran, 2 tugs and a number of power boats waiting. He opened the bridge at 7:25. We went on down and through the second lift bridge which was a railroad bridge. This bridge is open most of the time.
Railroad lift bridge

Railroad lift bridge

Boats waiting

Boats waiting


Then we went on down to the Gilmerton Bridge, which was restricted until 8:00. Oops - there's a train going across the railroad bridge just behind the Gilmerton Bridge so there is no point in his opening yet.
Gilmerton Railroad bridge

Gilmerton Railroad bridge


He finally opened the bridge at 8:05, and we were through by 8:11
Going through the Gilmerton bridge

Going through the Gilmerton bridge


Highway bridge (tall enough not to need to be lifted and if you do need a lift you have to give them 24 hours notice)

Highway bridge (tall enough not to need to be lifted and if you do need a lift you have to give them 24 hours notice)


We turned into Deep Creek at 8:26.
Following a boat to the lock

Following a boat to the lock


Most of the boats went on to the VA cut. It was very peaceful and still in the creek.
Deep_Creek

Deep_Creek


We arrived at the lock before 9, and there were 8 boats waiting. to lock through
Approaching Lock

Approaching Lock


We had a very chatty lock tender, not the lady we had before. We were the 6th boat, and the first one on the port side with a trawler named WHIPLASH and a little sailboat named FIREFLY behind us.
Deep_Creek_Lock_starboard_side

Deep_Creek_Lock_starboard_side


We locked through
Lock_tender and water coming into the lock

Lock_tender and water coming into the lock


and got down to the bridge at about 10:30. There was a sailboat and three trawlers at the free dock on the other side of the lock, and they went through the bridge first. There was a big floating island of debris in the middle of the bridge - grass growing on it which made people a little skittish.

We motored down the canal to the Visitor's Center. Lucette told me to re-enact Kate Winslet on the bow of the Titanic but I hadn't seen the movie (still haven't).
Re-enacting the Titanic on our boat

Re-enacting the Titanic on our boat


The canal was beautiful although there were a large number of logs (or maybe dead bodies - we couldn't see them), which raised up from the bottom to hit the hull. Many of the old cedar pilings have ferns, grass and other plants growing out of them.
large_c2c831b0-0357-11eb-9b3d-777fed1c14f9.jpg650235-Stump_in_canal_Norfolk.jpgStump

Stump

Portable bridge

Portable bridge

Looking down the Dismal Swamp Canal

Looking down the Dismal Swamp Canal

Fence stumps

Fence stumps

Side of the canal

Side of the canal

Looking down the canal

Looking down the canal


We got to the Visitor's Center by 1:30. There were two sailboats and two power boats there already - all but one sailboat had been with us at the Deep Creek Lock.

The one who wasn't with us was VAGABOND a Canadian boat and when he went to leave the dock this morning, he completely lost his transmission so he couldn't go anywhere.We rafted on a Gozzard 46 named TROUBADOUR. Ahead of us were two trawlers and JOLIE DAME. Later, FIREFLY came in and rafted on JOLIE DAME. When we started to raft up, Bob said to wait and not to try to jump to the Gozzard, but Max tried to jump anyway, and missed his footing and almost fell in. He landed very heavily on his rib cage and was very badly bruised- now both of our guests have been injured.
Rafted boats at the Visitor's Center

Rafted boats at the Visitor's Center


Some of the folks went down to the South Mills lock and went through at the 3:30 locking. Since Elizabeth City was 19 miles past the South Mills lock, we saw no point in pushing it because we didn't want to run the upper Pasquotank River after sunset at 5.

This is the only visitor's center that can be accessed both by road (US Rt. #17) and by boat (the Dismal Swamp Canal). The mileage is marked in statute miles (not nautical miles) from Hospital Point in Norfolk to Key West FL. The Visitor's Center is 28 miles from Norfolk by water. and 22 miles from the Deep Creek Lock

After dark, we saw a spotlight up the canal, and some folks that went through on the 3:30 locking had come down the canal in the dark. We heard someone call "Hey RosalieAnn from Leonardtown, can we raft on you? We're from Leonardtown too." It was a trawler named DUNFLYN. Bob offered to tow VAGABOND to the lock, since he couldn't seem to get anyone to come help him with his transmission. They are closing the canal completely on Friday.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:11 Archived in USA Tagged norfolk dismal_swamp Comments (3)

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