Friday, September 25, 2015

Free Docks at Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Great slips marked with slip width for the best fit!

Another great advantage of taking the Dismal Swamp route is a stopover at Elizabeth City on the southern end. These people actually like boaters (take a lesson here, Florida). They have terrific docks – free! – where you can spend a fun 48 hours roaming the small city. If several boats are in at the end of the day, they also have wine and cheese, with roses for the ladies! And helpful…I can’t say enough good. We spent a couple of days picking up some supplies (like another fly swatter, since we wore our old one out in the Dismal Swamp), walking around, and buying produce and shrimp at the waterfront Saturday market. If you’re ever boating anywhere nearby, make sure you stop here.

Fishing boats refurbished as pleasure craft leaving the Elizabeth City free docks

Monday, September 21, 2015

Jurassic Fly

What the hell is this freakishly large (about three inches long) fly sitting on our mainsail cover while we transited the Dismal Swamp. I'm surprised it didn't snatch the dinghy off the stern and fly away with it.
Monster fly close-up

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dismal Swamp - Not!

No one ahead...

Whoever named this place is an eternal pessimist. It’s beautiful! Of course, we were floating through on an engine-driven boat, not slogging through on foot. Perspective is everything! Following the ICW south from Norfolk, Virginia, you can go either through the Virginia Cut or the Dismal Swamp. Both involve locks, so there’s no getting away from that, but it’s no problem. In fact, taking the Dismal Swamp route, locking through is a downright pleasure. Robert has manned the northern lock for 21 years, I think he said. What a great guy. He’s professional, friendly, and funny. He’ll play the conch horn if you ask him. A few years ago we gave him one of the conch shells that we harvested in the Bahamas for his collection. Great advantages of the Dismal Swamp route is that it’s a little bit out of the way (but not much) and shallower (boats drawing more than 6 feet are not advised to travel here, and drought can close it). Yes, those are advantages, because it means that it’s blessedly desserted! We saw NO other boats all day long. Coming from the incredibly crowded Hampton Roads area, that was all we could ask for. We were plagued by biting flies, but we just whacked away with our fly swatters. All the dragonflies and butterflies made up for the annoying flies. one behind

A nice kind of 'fly'
Great swamp-side humor

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Touching Remembrance

We anchored near Old Point Comfort at Hampton Roads, Virginia, and dinghyed ashore to look at the old naval base. Climbing up the hill just inside the wall, we found a veritable pet cemetery with tiny gravestones—some fancy, some plain, some homemade—honoring the pets of the naval personnel stationed here, going back to the 1930s. Very sweet.