Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Chesapeake Free docks - at a dock

A house in the swamp

The night spent at Jennette's free docks was calm but noisy if you mind the noise of traffic going over the bridge. We didn't mind so we were fine. Getting off around 8:30 we headed for the Dismal Swamp canal. You have to go through two locks that lift you to the water level of the canal and on the exit, let you back down. The water level maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers is supposed to be 6 ft along the length of the canal. However, that's very optimistic from my experience. There are invariably logs lying on the bottom that get stirred up by passing boats and in my case I was following a 47 ft boat that must have had a draft deeper than my 4 ft, 9 inches and I hit three times! However, that's par for the course for the Dismal Swamp Canal, it just isn't very deep.
A turtle says Hi
We had intended staying overnight at the visitors' center but we were making such good time that we thought we'd soldier on and we transited the second dock and tied up to a free dock just before the Rt 17 bridge. We'll get up to Hampton in good time as we planned but from there on it's a crap shoot for the weather. It looks like strong north winds will prevail through Tuesday with the first break in the bad weather on Wednesday. We had planned going north on Sunday but that doesn't look likely now, Wednesday is more probable. So that burns three more of our cushion days and puts the Anchors Aweigh Party at PYC in great jeopardy. We only have two more days of cushion and we haven't even reached Chesapeake City with the Delaware River passage, Cape May and Atlantic City to Atlantic Highlands to come. 

The Dismal Swamp Experience - Straight Ahead!
John Kwak is now in motion northward and he made it to Barefoot Landing today. Mike Quick is with him and he brought along a Spot transmitter so you can follow Kwak if you desire by accessing the spot website at with the password hydepark. 

Meanwhile, our next stop is at Downtown Hampton Public Piers until we get a window for more northing, probably not for a few days so we took advantage of an Enterprise offer of $10/day for a car over the weekend so we can provision and perhaps see the sights. Don and Liz Bunch are due to join us there in their own boat by Saturday. They were delayed by bad weather (what else is new this year?)