Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rock the Dismal

Met a nice couple our last evening in Portsmouth, VA who "talked" us into taking the Dismal Swamp route. We were hesitate after hearing stories about boats hitting sunken logs and having to watch your mast does not hit any over hanging tree branches. But...they gave us tons of useful information and we felt much better about rocking the dismal.

Luckily, we hit nothing but saw lots of logs and rocks piled with turtles drying out after all the rain we'd just had. It was a perfect year to head down the Dismal because of all the rain, water levels were high. Normally, it's about 6 foot depth or slightly higher but we saw mostly teens and twenties. Due to the fact that I saw many rocks, I couldn't stop singing Rock the Casbah. It became our first day down's song. Unfortuntely, I only know one verse so it started to annoy me that I couldn't stop singing it.

1st day - made the 8:30 lock despite being slowed down by numerous bridges/railroad cars leaving Portsmouth, stopped at 28 mile marker in NC - the only visitor's center in the country that serves both cars and boats. Met some more people we're sure to run into again heading south. Gathered more books for our boat library.

2nd day - stopped at 51 mile marker still in NC - town welcomes boaters with evening wine/beer/crackers/cheese and even help you tie off upon arrival.

Things to note about Dismal Swamp

  • brown water due to tannic acid from decaying vegetation of root systems belonging to cypress and juniper trees
  • saw deer swimming across
  • spider webs spanning large areas of water attaching to our mast as we made our way through
  • dogs didn't sleep like usual - noses in air entire time
  • black bear (didn't get to see any)
  • stunning - the colors, smells, and changes from morning to afternoon (steamy, foggy water opens up to crisp, sunshine this time of year
  • 2 locks and several bridges (Deep Creek, South Mills - Skipper Bob was wrong about 9am opening - it was 8:30am so we missed it!
  • definite do it again