Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dismal Swamp Welcome Center - at a free dock

Passing by our fleet
This morning we got up bright and early to say good bye to Hampton. It was really cold this morning so I snuggled up and took a nap. We went though some bridges and saw some really big boats for the navy. Then we went to the Dismal Swamp, but we went though this boat elevator to get there. See the water level is different from the Dismal Swamp and behind us. So there is this high wall and you hand a rope to the person and he loops it around  a poll. Then you hold on tight to the end of the rope, then they close the back walls and let the water in. After that they opened the gates in front of you and you go though. It is very long down the dismal and it feels like it goes on forever. We saw turtles along the way two of then on a log. Then we came up to this tiny dock it fit only four boats really. Then a fifth came and tied onto us. The dock is connected to land so they connected to us like a chain. After that we took Hoolie for a walk and then went to the museum about the Dismal. That was history for today and I did some of my other work along the slow swamp. At the museum we saw animals and lots of buttons that made sounds. Now we are here and having chicken for dinner with beans yum. I also saw fire ant hills, there huge buckets of dirt, I was scared when I went by then. I was thinking about what I should make with my clay, but right now I am just playing with it, I like to make ocean waves with it. It's really cool stuff because it not like other clay. Well got to go test out my clay bye, Sarah.

It's difficult to appreciate how huge these things are
It was up at 6:00 and off the dock by 6:45 to be sure to make the 11:00 am dock but we had plenty of time. We wound up having to kill about an hour waiting in front of the lock. On the way we passed by Norfolk with all the Navy ships. A couple of aircraft carriers were being outfitted and other ships I couldn't identify. They all had patrol boats buzzing around between us and the ships so we took to extreme side of the channel away from the activity. 

Sarah holding the aft line in the lock with Hoolie's help
The famous Gilmerton bridge which took forever to complete is finally completed! They open on request between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm which is convenient for boaters going south. They don't open during rush hour before and after those times. 

Only 1239 miles to go!
Good news, Robert is back on station at the first lock! He's very friendly and considerate. He even played a conch for us to announce the opening of the lock! On the way from the first lock to the welcome center we found the canal to be in excellent shape, no overhanging trees and no debris. We only had one bump (we usually have about 1/2 dozen along the way). They've done an outstanding job getting the canal ready for the fall migration. 

Our free dock, one more boat came in later that hight
On Wednesday we are aiming for the Alligator River Marina, about 45 miles south, skipping Elizabeth City, we need to make some time south.