Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dismal Swamp Visitor Center - At the face dock

Mile after mile of "Swamp People" scenery
The face dock we chose at Elizabeth City proved calm during the night but noisy. Off in the morning, we enter the Dismal Swamp. I like this part of the route, there's a thousand shades of green along the sides of the creek as we approach the Dismal Swamp locks. The ever present turtles are present in abundance and I'm sure there were snakes around but then we've had our quota of snakes this trip!

Humm, where the ICW here? Kinda narrow
There were eight of us in the locks, always exciting. Everything was proceeding as in the past until the lockmaster tried to open the locks for us to leave. The locks would not open! After 15 minutes of trying, the big hammer came out (actually a mallet) and he disappeared, leaving into a large metal box by the locks. Still nothing happened. Next came out a rather large crowbar and he again visited the large metal box - much banging ensued. He emerged and didn't look happy, said he had to call for help. He proceeded to the lockmaster's station to "try one more time" and we heard a groan and gradually one of the two swinging doors on the lock slowly opened. We were in front so we carefully glided through the narrow opening (thought for while we were going to spend the night in the locks).

"Fixing the locks" You can't see the crowbar
Motoring ahead we found the water to be even more shallow than usual with many 5.5 ft spots (they are supposed to guarantee 6 ft) and I started hitting logs, not really hard but some pretty good thuds nevertheless. When I got up to 12, I stopped counting - and this was only for the 5 miles to the visitor center, we have 15 more to go on Wednesday. I reported the bad news on the logs to the visitor center who routinely notifies the Corps of Engineers about problems. Hopefully they will clean it up.

We're on the dock side at the Vistors Center in the Dismal Swamp
Wednesday we will head north to Hampton, VA to the city docks for three days to provision and do weekly chores. Then it's up the Chesapeake!