Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Great Bridge Free Dock - tied up for the night

Some strange looking ships along the way
The forecast was not good with thunderstorms predicted all day long. However, we looked at the radar and although storms were coming they appeared to move more to the north of us and they were at least several hours off. So we finally got our act together and left around 11:00. 

In the Great Lock, one side has rubber fenders
We had intended going down the Dismal Swamp but it was still closed due to high water from all the recent rain, up to 17 inches we heard. So we passed by the turn off and pointed south. What a difference in depth! There were no worries about hitting something on the bottom. 

The free docks by Great Bridge, what a great place to overnight!
We had intended picking up a dock at Atlantic Yacht Basin but when we arrived they had no room left on the face dock but offered an internal dock without electricity. Then we looked across the canal to the opposite shore and saw what looked like a new dock for a park that allowed overnight docking. Why pay for a dock when you can get one free at the same place? We're starting to like this route. On Thursday we'll head for Coinjock and maybe try their steak. 

PS, I'm using my old XP notebook until I can get my Win10 laptop working again.


Anonymous said...

There is nice interpretive walk describing the Battle on your side, just prior to the bridge.

Bob423 said...

Gordo, I took that walk, very nice. I'll be staying there again on the way north most likely.

Anonymous said...


We've been following your track south and considering where you are now (9/24 12:25) it would appear that your alternate route south is pretty good. Given that, I'm wondering what the advantage is in taking the Dismal Swamp Canal or why so many seem to be waiting for it?

/s/ Kitt'n Scott
s/v HyLyte

Bob423 said...

Kitt'n Scott, like anything else in life, there are pros and cons for each route.

Dockage: Dismal Swamp is free all the way. Coinjock is pretty much the only game in town for a stop over, it's $1.75/ft. If you stop at Atlantic Yacht Basin area you can use the free dock across the way but it's a long trip to go straight through to the Alligator River from there. Besides, I also like visiting Elizabeth City with its free docks too and many restaurants.

Protection from weather: there are long stretches of wide open areas on the Virginia Cut which is not a problem with winds less than 10 kts or even up to 15 but it would get lumpy above that. The Dismal Swamp is very protected.

Depths: No problem for the Cut, an eye opener for the Dismal. We've never gone through the Dismal without hitting something, usually about 3 to up to a dozen. Mostly they are from logs on the bottom that float up to give you a thump on your keel. This is the biggest negative for the Dismal and the reason you don't see many powerboats there although they do get a fair share.

Scenery: I prefer the Dismal which also has a free park with displays of local animals and plants. You are close to shore all the way through, lots of turtles and an occasional snake in the water and ospreys. The section from the south lock to Elizabeth City is especially beautiful I think.

So there you have it, a thumbnail view. Depends on what you like or what you want to avoid.

Anonymous said...

Finally catching our breath and am able to start monitoring your blog. We usually used the free dock on the north side of of the lock. That way we could walk into town to an excellent supermarket and a very nice sports bar for lunch off the boat. Wish I could remember the name of the anchorage at the south end of the Virginia cut that we used one spring that was alive with spring peepers and they serranaded us all night long. Dhope you enjoy th prime rib at C M.

Liz Bunch

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your insightful comments. We have been following your progress, and tips on the ICW, with interest and with regard to the possibility of taking our boat north for awhile, at least as far as D.C. and perhaps Annapolis, to see an area we've only been to for a few days when we went up to pick up our boat (which was subsequently trucked to Florida). Unlike you, however, we draw 6.5' so transiting some of the areas you've gone through would be somewhat more of a problem for us. Further, frankly, I feel more comfortable at sea than near shore/inside and, were it not for some of the places you've visited that sound so interesting, we'd simply go outside as, for us at least, 24 to 36 hour jumps between port calls--i.e. 170-250 miles with any wind--has proven pretty easy, at least so far. N'any case, we do appreciate your insights.

Lastly, with the storm that seems to be in the offing for the coming week, we hope you're tucked in somewhere snug and safe.


/s/ Scott
s/v HyLyte

Anonymous said...

We are first time travelers on the ICW, following you about 6 weeks behind, just left the free dock south of Great Bridge this morning. We appreciate your blog! Gives us some general guidelines and also local interest things to check out. Thank you!
Sarah and Keith
SV Cormorant.