A Travellerspoint blog

Blown South by Hurricane Isabel -

Sailing South to North Carolina


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2003-2004 Marathon Winter & 2002 Heart Attack at Shroud Key & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Our Last Breath of South WInd

We took a year off cruising after Bob's Heart attack in 2002 at an uninhabited cay in the Bahamas. We did not go down the ICW in the winter of 2002-2003. But after Hurricane Isabel in September 2003, we decided to try the ICW again, but this time we were going to stay in a marina in Marathon for the winter. This turned out to be the last time we did this trip on our boat.

After Hurricane Isabel

Our house during Isabel - all the shutters shut

Our house during Isabel - all the shutters shut


we went out to the marina to check on the boat at low tide.
134f2ff0-eca0-11e9-9da5-49d7850281f8.jpgB dock where we have a slip from the shore at LOW tide

B dock where we have a slip from the shore at LOW tide


Covered docks after Isabel

Covered docks after Isabel


100905a0-eca0-11e9-9da5-49d7850281f8.jpgHaul slip is under water

Haul slip is under water


I waded out the dock - Bob didn't want to.
Walking out B dock stepping over the lines crossing to the pilings

Walking out B dock stepping over the lines crossing to the pilings


Low tide after Isabel - covers the docks to my knees

Low tide after Isabel - covers the docks to my knees


I had to carefully step over the lines crossing the dock - there were only cleats on one side of the dock so everyone was running lines across to the pilings on the other side. After I got out there, the boat was up too high for me to get on it, so I just sat on our dock stairs before I waded back. The floating thing is the dinghy of the boat across the dock from us.
13685d40-eca0-11e9-8a6f-6570e0dc54ae.jpgSitting on our dock stairs

Sitting on our dock stairs


Someone who stayed on their boat during the hurricane said the water came up to the tops of the pilings

27 October 2003 Monday

We hauled the boat out and washed off the bottom and scraped the barnacles off the prop.

Barnacles on the prop

Barnacles on the prop

They had accumulated on there since the fourth of July, which was the last trip we made. Photo shows the barnacles still on the prop. This is a feathering prop which folds up when we are sailing to reduce drag. It won't fold properly with the barnacles on it, plus the engine can't develop the full torque because the barnacles make it too heavy and bulky.

We went down to put the bimini curtains down on the boat because it was supposed to rain. (We had taken them all off for the hurricane)
Looking B dock at dusk with no water on it (see above after Isabel)

Looking B dock at dusk with no water on it (see above after Isabel)


Bow of RosalieAnn at dusk

Bow of RosalieAnn at dusk

Bob fixing something on the boat

Bob fixing something on the boat

Covered slips

Covered slips


Marina flagpole at dusk

Marina flagpole at dusk


We were afraid to try any of the waterfront restaurants where we usually eat for fear that they would not have recovered from the hurricane yet,
Old Ridge Inn sign

Old Ridge Inn sign


So we had dinner at the Old Ridge Inn.
Bob at the door of the Old Ridge

Bob at the door of the Old Ridge


This restaurant used to be called the Southridge, because it was south of Ridge. They opened a branch called the Northridge in Lexington Park. The Northridge has changed hands several times. This restaurant looks about the same to me as when it was the Southridge. It has a bar (smoking section) with a huge TV and billiard or pool tables, and a large non-smoking side. We were the only ones in the non-smoking side when we went, but two other couples came before we left.

They have specials for lunch and dinner M-F. I remember the special for Thursday night is spaghetti.

Bob had the Pub Prime Rib (8 oz.) coleslaw and baked potato.
Prime rib and baked potato

Prime rib and baked potato


I had the Tavern Prime Rib (12 oz), tossed salad and baked potato. We drank iced tea. The prime rib's were very good. I wanted to get the creme brulee cheesecake for dessert, but they were out of that, so I had an ordinary apple pie instead. The bill was $37.15 including tip.

Wednesday 29 Oct 2003

We moved most of the stuff to the boat, and had dinner at Matties on the way home. Very good and very cheap.
Matties

Matties


Thursday 30 Oct 2003

I talked to our neighbor down the street and gave her our Texas daughter's mother-in-law's phone number to call if she saw anything disastrous. My daughter's MIL has my Maryland daughter's number to call and she also has a key to the house. Bob cut off the water and put antifreeze in the system - toilets etc. He turned down the thermostat to 60 deg F and cleaned out the refrigerator. We put the computers and the other stuff in the car, intending to move onto the boat, and take the Mercedes back to the house (filling it up with fuel on the way) and then getting a ride back in the marina truck.

Unfortunately the marina no longer allows the truck out of the area within 5 miles and a taxi from Leonardtown to the marina would be $44.00!!! Way excessive I think. So Bob took the Mercedes home (filled up with diesel on the way) and disconnected the battery and covered it,
Covered Mercedes during hurricane

Covered Mercedes during hurricane


and brought the Lynx back with a battery charger with it and left it at the marina. He also paid the haul charge from Monday. I made tuna salad for lunch.

We had hot dogs for dinner because Bob couldn't find the steaks that he defrosted for that purpose. I took a picture of the sunset over the marina.
Sunset at the marina

Sunset at the marina


I asked Bob where we were going the next day, and he said figure out where we will be after we've gone 50 miles.

Friday Oct 31 - Halloween

Casting off, everything was fine until I tried to boot up the Toshiba. It would hang even checking the hard drive. So we are using the black Dell. Got underway a tiny bit before 0800 - would have been sooner except for the computer.
Cruise ship in the Potomac

Cruise ship in the Potomac


Saw a cruise ship in the Potomac. For some reason we are only doing 3.4 knots - should be faster than that. Bob flushed the aft LectraSan and it was OK. I flushed the forward one and it was OK. [A LectraSan is a marine toilet that disinfects with electricity before it is flushed.]

While I was down there the low frequency vibration went away and Bob thought there was something wrong with the engine, so he cut it back. After that we went normal speed. The wind generator is putting about 5 amps into the batteries (that means the wind is blowing a good bit).
Bob at the wheel

Bob at the wheel


Saw a tug towing a barge.
Tug towing a barge

Tug towing a barge


Went around Smith Point and took more pictures of the lighthouse.
Smith Point Lighthouse with a fishing boat

Smith Point Lighthouse with a fishing boat


Saw fishing boats, a car carrier and
Cargo ship

Cargo ship


another tug this time pushing a barge
c233e5c0-eca9-11e9-9874-bf276999b765.jpgTug pushing a Large barge

Tug pushing a Large barge


and various menhaden boats.
bf14cb70-eca9-11e9-805e-39e60b09a9c0.jpgMenhaden boats

Menhaden boats


Menhaden are little fish which swim in tight schools. Menhaden boats encircle the school with a net and bring them aboard. Sometimes there is a big boat with two small boats to take the net out.
Large menhaden boat with net boats on the side davits

Large menhaden boat with net boats on the side davits

Menhaden boat towing the net boat

Menhaden boat towing the net boat


Sometimes there is a medium sized boat with one smaller boat to take the net out around the school,
Single menhaden boat

Single menhaden boat


and sometimes there's a little boat like this one with a net on a reel in the boat.
Small menhaden boat

Small menhaden boat


I called (or tried to call) Old Point Comfort Marina at Ft. Monroe for a reservation for tomorrow night. None of the books had the correct "new" (from 2001) exchange. Finally worked out the number and found that they now only take DOD or military personnel or retired military or CG. Also the commissary has been closed so no reason to worry about the hours and the Chamberlain Hotel has gone out of business (no one could get to it because it is on Ft. Monroe without having their cars searched and that's way too much trouble to go to for dinner). We qualify to stay there, but we decided to go past Old Point Comfort Marina since the Chamberlain Hotel (almost the only place to eat) and the commissary have both closed. I couldn't get Waterside on the phone.

Bob made cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwiches for lunch.

The waves were a bit bouncy and then smoothed out, due to the tide. It is astonishing to me how much difference it makes in the amount of waves when the tide and the waves are going the same direction. The wind is south and the tide is coming in (same direction of the wind) and both of them are against the direction we are going, but it is a nicer ride and we go faster.
WIndmill Point Spider

WIndmill Point Spider


We passed the Windmill Point Spider. Hear people calling marinas. Used the aft head and it blinked yellow (instead of green) over 100 times. (not a good sign)

Between the Piankatank and the Hole in the Wall

There is a very nice protected Deltaville anchorage in Fishing Bay on the north side of the Piankatank behind Stove Point. Unfortunately, it is not at all protected from the south side, and we have south winds. Also it takes a long time to get there from the Chesapeake. The guide books say for a south wind to go to the opposite shore from Fishing Bay, but it would take just as long to get there as it would take to get into Fishing Bay itself.

Bob and I discussed anchoring off Gwynn's Island in the Piankatank. He wanted to anchor on the east side of Cherry Point (the northern tip), but I feel that will be too exposed to the Bay. So we went around and anchored west of Cherry Point (which doesn't take us too much longer) at 1623
Gwynn's Island with our track as a green line

Gwynn's Island with our track as a green line


in between some fish traps (pound nets) in 17 feet of water. Our anchorage is marked by an A.
A for Anchorage

A for Anchorage


Gwynn's Island is on the south side of the Piankatank. On the north side is Deltaville. The 1500 acre island (one of the largest on the Chesapeake) is connected to the mainland by a swing bridge which was built in 1939. It is one of the busiest drawbridges in Virginia, which is saying a lot when you consider all the bridges in the Norfolk area. Before the bridge was built access was by private boat or after 1884, by ferry.

Between the island and the mainland is a body of water known as Milford Haven, which is very popular as a fishing and boating destination in the summer.

In order to get to the town of Milford Haven by water, one either goes in from the Piankatank through the bridge to the Milford Haven bay, or goes in from the south side through the shallow flats in an area called the Hole in the Wall. This entrance has shoaled to 3 feet and should only be attempted with local knowledge.

When I come up from calling Rob (Bob insisted we were NOT on the Piankatank but he had it confused with the Poquoson), and our daughter (to ask her to look in the meat drawer of the frig sometime before Thanksgiving and throw out the steak), there were two ketches anchored next to us. One was named ETHERIA (It was hard to read the name but we saw them later at the South Mills lock) and the other I think was NORTH WIND although with it painted in gold on gold-brown wood it was also very hard to read. Neither appeared to have an anchor light although when we saw them later, ETHERIA swore that they did.

Had steak and succotash for dinner. The wind generator was making noise, but not putting in many amps. Didn't really want to watch TV, so went to bed REALLY early about 6, after watching a good sunset. Spent a peaceful night.
Anchorage at sunset

Anchorage at sunset

c2bdfd50-eca9-11e9-805e-39e60b09a9c0.jpgSunset

Sunset

31-1728.jpgSunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset


Saturday 1 Nov 2003

Sunrise over Gwynn Island

Sunrise over Gwynn Island


We got up about 6ish. We pulled the anchor and were underway by about 0655. Very little wind.
Two ketches at sunrise

Two ketches at sunrise


The two ketches followed us out a bit inshore. Battery bank #1 appears not to be holding a charge well - not a good sign.

Since we've decided not to go to Old Point Comfort, I put an amended track into the computer. We had breakfast - cereal and hot tea for Bob and a bagel and hot tea for me.

Bob pulled out the jib to give us a boost and then the main. But when I came back from going to the head, he'd pulled them back in as the wind went from 5-6 knots to nothing. The sea was glassy smooth. Got an email message from our Maryland daughter via pocketmail (a device that sends and received text messages via acoustic modem) about sending medicines and tried to call and got our grandson who said (correctly) that she was at the gym working out, and apparently told his dad that we were coming up to get the medicines (wrong). I finally called her cell phone.
u75365_07.jpgWolf Trap Lighthouse

Wolf Trap Lighthouse


Went by Wolf Trap light and Bob watered the batteries.
Yellow buoy which I think indicates a fishing ground

Yellow buoy which I think indicates a fishing ground

Sparkling sea

Sparkling sea


We passed Old Point Comfort
Old Point Comfort Lighthouse

Old Point Comfort Lighthouse

u031101-1314Image064.jpgPassing the Chamberlain Hotel

Passing the Chamberlain Hotel


After I canceled the reservation at Old Point Comfort, when I couldn't reach Waterside, I made a reservation at Tidewater. THAT was a mistake. We pass the aircraft carrier section of the Norfolk Navy Base - the aircraft carriers Ronald Reagan #76 and another one.
Aircraft carriers

Aircraft carriers


We can read the name on the R. Reagan. Going by the Norfolk Naval base we saw many more Navy ships.
Red buoy off the Navy piers

Red buoy off the Navy piers


My digtal camera has an annoying hair that appears in the pictures intermittently - mostly in photos with a lot of nice sky and clouds.
Hair

Hair


I can't see it or clean it off externally, so it must be somewhere inside. Now that we are underway it's going to be hard to give it up, and also to be able to send it in for cleaning. That means that both the digital and the film camera photos are flawed.
Fort Wool

Fort Wool


We also passed Ft. Wool (formerly Fort Calhoon). This is a fort which was built on fill land where ships used to dump their ballast. Robert E. Lee was given the job of stabilizing it when he was stationed at Fort Monroe. Aside from the fact that it is on the Norfolk side of the channel, it belongs to the city of Hampton. More Navy ships-
USS Cole?

USS Cole?


Bob thinks one of the ships is the USS Cole that was blown up. The Cole got underway from Norfolk a couple of days later (I saw in the news) so that's a definite possibility. We saw a helicopter and a big thing which appeared to be a container of some kind floating in the water. And we came down alongside Craney Point on the west side of the river.
Craney Point

Craney Point


We see many more boats including American Rover which gives cruises from Norfolk
American Rover and a speed boat

American Rover and a speed boat


and this cruise ship
Cruise ship at the Norfolk terminal next to Nauticus

Cruise ship at the Norfolk terminal next to Nauticus


which was tied up near Waterside near the Wisconsin.

We were tied up by 3 in Tidewater Yacht after a total trip of 92.8 nm - today we went 49.4 nm at an average of 6.5 knots. After I got the mileages, I reset one GPS to statute miles for use in the ICW. Tidewater is big (which is one reason we haven't been here before) and the dock boys get around on bicycles. The showers are way down at the marina office.
RosalieAnn at the dock in the marina

RosalieAnn at the dock in the marina


This marina has fixed docks and the way they have us in the slip means I have to climb over the bow. That's because the end of the slip is right at the shrouds which are in front of the gate in the lifelines. The boat curves out away from the pier at that point which makes it a bigger and scarier step. It was very expensive. They charged us $!.30/ft plus $5.00 for 30 amp and the marina was subject to a LOT of wakes. I could hardly get off the boat because the boat was bobbing around so much. The pool was not in operation (although it was hot and I could have used a swim even if it was November 1st). Internet access is $3.00 I passed-I don't use the internet access unless it is free. They charged Bob $2.19 for a loaf of bread and $7.15 for some light bulbs at the little store, which he thought was ridiculous. On the way up to the restaurant we noticed that some power boats had been damaged by running into the pilings due to wakes from boats in the river.
Chart with anchorage and marina

Chart with anchorage and marina

Anchorage outside the marina at sunset

Anchorage outside the marina at sunset


The anchorage at Hospital Point (mile zero) right outside the marina is free. It is quite famous (the local name is Holiday Harbor). But it is even more subject to wakes (large merchant ships and tugs violate the "No Wake" signs frequently) (and wind) than the marina. It is also subject to quite a bit of debris, and not very quiet.

The dock boys tried to tell us there were bathrooms at the end of our dock, and there are not - all that is their is a diesel pump and a trash bin. The nearest bathrooms and showers are all the way up at the office. I got a Portsmouth brochure at the dock office, and also I had guidebooks and it looked like there were some quite reasonable restaurants close by, but we were all the way out at the end of the very big marina, and I didn't have the energy when it came down to it. In the future I think I'll just get the ferry across from Waterside if I want to eat and walk around in Portsmouth. It will be cheaper than staying in this marina.
ENTERPRISE

ENTERPRISE


There was a big 65' sailboat named ENTERPRISE with a 90 foot mast on the face dock. They intend to be in Miami in 5 days (offshore because the limit for masts on the ICW is 65' and even at that size, boats sometimes have to wait for low tide. They were bringing lots of provisioning stuff down the dock in the carts.
u75365_09.jpgSunset across ENTERPRISE'S boom

Sunset across ENTERPRISE'S boom

Sunset

Sunset


We went and had dinner at the Deck - the (expensive) marina restaurant on the second floor. Even though it was November, it was too hot for me to walk out into town to a more reasonable priced restaurant and I was really tired as we'd had a long day. So we ate here. This restaurant was over the marina office on the 2nd floor. I expected to get some pictures of Waterside which was across the way, but none of them turned out.

They had a sports bar type area with big screen TVs and also some outside seating which they weren't using at this point. They advertise that they are the home of the one pound crab cake. We ordered only the cheapest dishes we could find on the menu, and it still cost $53.29 for the two of us including tip.

What we had for that included:
--2 iced teas for $1.50@
--I had shrimp scampi with penne and a tossed salad with blue cheese dressing for $19.95.
--Bob had a 'cup' (came in a big bowl) of she crab soup $4.95, and an appetizer half pound of steamed shrimp for $6.95.
--I got a creme brulee for dessert ($5.95) because I love creme brulee and eat it at every opportunity. The only picture I had that turned out was the one I took of my $5.95 creme brulee.
Creme brulee

Creme brulee


There was also a 'food tax' of $4.49. Bob was going to tip the waitress $6.00, but I didn't think she was worth that, so he just left $5.
Norfolk from the marina at night

Norfolk from the marina at night


The aft Lectrasan is blowing fuses.

Sunday 2 Nov 2003-

We got up very early because we want to try to get all the way to Elizabeth City today which means we have to go through the 8:30 locking at Deep Creek. Elizabeth City is 51 statute miles from the marina. Traveling 5-6 mph and with five bridges (2 in Norfolk) and two locks to be transited that means an early start. We aren't going to stop at the Visitor's Center because it will be closed. The big sailboat and the power boat next to us left before we did, which made it easier to get out of the slip. We were underway by 0630. We went by the Portsmouth Lightship Museum and Ocean Marine
Red Lightship in Portsmouth from the river

Red Lightship in Portsmouth from the river

Ocean Marine shortly after sunrise

Ocean Marine shortly after sunrise

Navy Repair Yard shoreline

Navy Repair Yard shoreline


The first bridges we get to are the lift bridges. There are very few lift bridges on the rest of the ICW. There are a lot of bascule bridges, and a fair number of swing bridges, but not many lift bridges like these. But there are two of them right together here in Norfolk. One of them is a railroad bridge which is up all the time except when a train comes. The other one (the Jordan Bridge) has restricted hours M-F. The bridge tender sits in a little house in the middle of the bridge and he can see exactly how high he needs to raise his bridge to clear the sailboat masts.
Two lift bridges ahead of us- RR and Jordan

Two lift bridges ahead of us- RR and Jordan

Approaching the RR lift bridge

Approaching the RR lift bridge

Boats following us

Boats following us

Side of the railroad lift bridge

Side of the railroad lift bridge

Our mast going under the Jordan Lift Bridge- will we make it?

Our mast going under the Jordan Lift Bridge- will we make it?

Bridge after we'd gone through

Bridge after we'd gone through

Green sailboat MARGIRETA and Jordan Bridge

Green sailboat MARGIRETA and Jordan Bridge

Jordan Bridge almost all the way down

Jordan Bridge almost all the way down


From the boat it always looks scary as if the mast won't clear. The Jordan Lift Bridge stayed up for us - no restricted hours - and also a green hulled Nordic tug from FL named ADRIANA and a green hulled sailboat named MARGIRETA. We went through at 0700
Marina travelift

Marina travelift

Houses on the shore in Deep Creek

Houses on the shore in Deep Creek


We were at the Gilmerton Bridge (a bascule bridge with a bascule railroad bridge just south of it) before 7:40. A trawler named VENTURE passed us. Then we went down under the tall I-64 beltway bridge. We were concerned that we would not get to the lock by the 0830 opening - forgetting (or maybe we didn't know) that the northbound boats lock through first. If there are none, water still has to be let out of the lock for us to go in - this lock raises us up to the canal. We've never been at the lock before about 0900.
ADRIANA ahead of us going into the lock

ADRIANA ahead of us going into the lock


The picture shows the open lock with ANNE M (sailboat from Capetown SA) in the lock, ETHERIA (ketch that anchored off Gwynn Island with us) going in, and ADRIANA the green hulled Nordic tug ahead of us.
025d3910-eddd-11e9-95cb-49d62a564c2a.jpgBob tending the lines

Bob tending the lines


Bob holding the stern lines as the lock gates close - I have the bowlines. All four of us are on the west side of the lock which makes it easier for the lock tender. The lock tender was very chatty. He told us the Dismal Swamp canal was in the best condition since the 1800s. Hurricane Isabel dumped over 683 trees in the Canal. The Corps of Engineers, working 12 hours/day, 7 days/week, cleared the waterway in 21 days, they cleared out the 140 some trees out, he said they took a rake and raked the bottom. We saw the rake (I didn't take a photo of it). However, we also took many hard hits from unseen objects. Folks with a more shallow draft (2 or 3 feet) did not have the problem. He also said that someone with a 7 foot draft went through last week. He said they tried to dissuade him (the controlling depth is 6 feet) but he made it OK, and said he only stuck a little bit in a couple of places.
Mileage board at the lock

Mileage board at the lock

ADRIANA having trouble with his lines

ADRIANA having trouble with his lines


ADRIANA was ahead of us as the lock gates open. He had a hard time tending his lines as he was singlehanding and he fell in the cabin as he was rushing around. I saw an old guy with an old Westsail of about the same length do a much better job the first year we did this.
ADRIANA in the lock

ADRIANA in the lock


We were out of the lock by 0904. ADRIANA went in front of everyone - he spends summers in the Chesapeake and the winter in Melbourne Florida. ETHERIA passed ANNE M and so did we. The picture shows ANNE M behind us in the canal just after we passed her. Something hit the hull just as we passed ANNE M.
Annie M following us

Annie M following us


After we leave the lock and pass Elizabeth's Dock (which is free), we go down and go through the Deep Creek bridge. The water in the canal is dark and reflective and there's no wind. We pass a canoe rental place on the side of the canal about 0930. I am fascinated by the reflections in the canal, and also by the vegetation that grows in the stumps of the cedar pilings that line the canal.
Reflections

Reflections

Tree roots

Tree roots

More reflections

More reflections

Former house of the superintendent c 1835

Former house of the superintendent c 1835

Downed trees at the edge of the canal

Downed trees at the edge of the canal

Rippled reflections

Rippled reflections


At mile post 14 we have been 13.1 miles. (That's because the marina was part of a mile past mile marker zero). In spite of the fact that the lock operator says that the canal is in better shape than it has been since new, we still are having things hit the hull that we can't see.

At sm 17.3, we pass the rake that they dragged the canal with, and have not hit a log since.

Oops - just hit a little one - although the depth appears to be better.We notice that the traffic has completely stopped on US Route 17 next to the canal. Fire engines and other emergency vehicles went by.

Mile post 19 - a BIG bump. Do we still have a rudder?
Boat ramp

Boat ramp


We see a helicopter on the ground with the rotors not turning. Presumably this is the accident scene. Bob wonders why the rotors are shut down. We hear later that there are frequent accidents on this stretch because the VA end of US Rte 17 is only 2 lane.
Helicopter on the highway at accident scene

Helicopter on the highway at accident scene


We see one of the fire engines at the boat ramp. The boats are launched around the corner and then come out into the canal through these walls. This is the ramp that is at the end of the Lake Drummond ditch in the Great Dismal Swamp Refuge. We never see the things we hit so it must be floating at mid depth.
Fire engine at the accident scene

Fire engine at the accident scene


Map of the Great Dismal Swamp showing Wallaceton

Map of the Great Dismal Swamp showing Wallaceton


Wallaceton Bridge

Wallaceton Bridge

Other side of the bridge

Other side of the bridge


At mile 20.9 (Wallaceton Tower), we see the portable bridge. A farmer has permission to slide this bridge across the canal to move his livestock and farm implements across the canal. The bridge (3 feet above the water) is normally only in place long enough for him to accomplish his task. It doesn't look as if this bridge has been moved in some time. It must be a great pain for him to actually do this.
Wallaceton Bridge

Wallaceton Bridge

0e0e14f0-eddd-11e9-ad83-7be8cfe705f6.jpgReflections and Leaves changing color

Reflections and Leaves changing color

Cedar stumps

Cedar stumps

001014c0-eddd-11e9-95cb-49d62a564c2a.jpgTrees cut down and removed from the canal

Trees cut down and removed from the canal


The lock tender said that if we want to make Elizabeth City tonight, we need to get to the South Mills lock for the 1330 locking. True. Elizabeth City is 19 miles from the South Mills lock, and to get there before dark, we need to go through right after lunch. He also says we have to average between 5.3 and 5.4 knots through the canal. We've been trying to do that, but it is hard. Finally I figure out that - since the canal is only 21 miles long, and we have 4.5 hours to do the distance, we really only need to do 5.4 miles per hour - which is quite a bit slower than 5.4 knots

At 1124, we are at mile post 25. We pass drain pipes that let water drain into the canal.
065c5320-eddd-11e9-ad83-7be8cfe705f6.jpgDrain pipes

Drain pipes


We see dragon flies, and small birds in the creepers, but don't see any mallards this year. At 1133 we see that the traffic has somewhat resumed, but we have not heard the helicopter take off yet. We are at mile marker 26, and we hear more bumping on the undersides of the boat. Occasionally the depth sounder goes off. At 1143, we see the "Rest Area one mile" sign on the highway. At mile marker 27, we see the Visitor's Center sign for *us* (boats). The rest area is just south of the VA state line in NC. Some of the markers have granite canal distance markers behind them.
Mile marker just before the visitor/s center with a granite marker behind it

Mile marker just before the visitor/s center with a granite marker behind it


We approach the center where there are picnic tables on the north end.
f0b0d6e0-eddc-11e9-8a16-bd8e294bd0b3.jpgApproaching the Visitor's Center

Approaching the Visitor's Center


We are passing the Visitor's Center instead of stopping like we have on our other trips because it is closed on Sunday, and also on Monday in the winter. People come down to the dock to wave and watch us go by. ANNE M is a good distance behind us. ETHERIA is out of sight around the bend ahead.
People at the Visitors Center watch us go by

People at the Visitors Center watch us go by


We exchange shouts with the man on ADRIANA as we go past. He says he stopped for lunch. He's way faster than we are, so he will catch us before the lock. We've passed the Visitor's Center before noon.
ADRIANA having lunch

ADRIANA having lunch


In the distance ahead, we see the bridge where US Route 17 leaves the canal side and goes off toward Elizabeth City.
US 17 highway bridge ahead

US 17 highway bridge ahead


I see a kingfisher fly by. As we motor down from the Visitor's Center to South Mills, a Great Blue Heron flies ahead of us. He stops and sits on a branch and waits for us to come along, and then flies down the canal ahead of us and sits on another branch. It's real hard to get close enough to him on the branch to take his picture.
Great Blue Heron escorting us

Great Blue Heron escorting us


This is apparently something this bird does regularly - other cruisers have reported on it.
Highway bridge

Highway bridge

f0ba9ae0-eddc-11e9-ad83-7be8cfe705f6.jpgHighway bridge

Highway bridge


Looking back at the US 17 bridge over the DIsmal Swamp Canal

Looking back at the US 17 bridge over the DIsmal Swamp Canal


{I have a few photos from the South Mills lock, taken while tied to the east side fenders of the South Mills bascule bridge (State Route 343). BUt the narrative has been lost. I remember getting to the lock before the 1:30 opening and trying to tie up to the bollards in front of the bridge. I had some problem doing this, and I had to sit there and hold the line, so I could only use the film camera with one hand.
Traffic gates for the bridge in front of the Ebenezer Baptist Church

Traffic gates for the bridge in front of the Ebenezer Baptist Church

Mullen and Main Streets

Mullen and Main Streets

South Mills Museum

South Mills Museum


I saw the museum sign on this building, but I have never been able to find anything out about it.
Gas station in South Mills from the canal

Gas station in South Mills from the canal

Family walks across the bridge and talks to me

Family walks across the bridge and talks to me

}
South Mills bridge

South Mills bridge

Bob with the dockline, waiting for the water to be let out of the lock

Bob with the dockline, waiting for the water to be let out of the lock

Leaving the South Mills Lock

Leaving the South Mills Lock


After we get out of the canal, we see ANNE M, the South African boat behind us get into the trees. She stays right behind us rather than lagging behind as she did before.
ANNE M behind us on the Pasquotank

ANNE M behind us on the Pasquotank


When we talk to them later, we find that they figure we knew where we were going - they were sticking close so they wouldn't get lost.
Pasquotank River with bald cypress

Pasquotank River with bald cypress


We are seeing occasional Spanish moss and mistletoe in the trees.

We hear ADRIANNA and ETHERIA go through the Elizabeth City Bridge.

Close to Elizabeth City there is a railroad bridge which is open all the time except when a train comes. If it is closed, you have to signal with your horn, as it doesn't have a radio.
Chart of the RR bridge near Elizabeth City

Chart of the RR bridge near Elizabeth City


Going through railroad bridge above Elizabeth City

Going through railroad bridge above Elizabeth City


In the RR bridge

In the RR bridge


It is somewhat unusual in that it is right at a bend in the river, so you approach kind of parallel to the track and then make a 90 degree turn, and then make another turn after you get to the other side because the river bends back on itself on the other side.
Looking back at the RR bridge

Looking back at the RR bridge

ANNE M coming through the railroad bridge

ANNE M coming through the railroad bridge


We passed the A. W. Jones Lumber Company again with the "Plastic and Smoke Free" sign. It said:

" No plastic and no cigarettes allowed on this property. Our jobs depend on it."

This is a family joke, because when I first reported this sign (Plastic and Smoke Free) in an email, my mom wanted to know who would sell smoke.
Shore near Elizabeth City

Shore near Elizabeth City

x031102-1703Image076.jpgElizabeth CIty Bridge

Elizabeth CIty Bridge

Elizabeth CIty Rose Buddy's sign - Complimentary Docks

Elizabeth CIty Rose Buddy's sign - Complimentary Docks


Elizabeth City has 2 nights (48 hour) free dockage at the public docks - primarily for boats going north or south on the ICW through the Dismal Swamp Canal. If the weather is bad, no one will kick you out though. We've never stayed more than 2 days. Fifteen boats can be accommodated. The number on the slip shows the width of the slip so you can pick one that you will fit in. Catamarans go over on the Waterworks side, or in some cases on the restaurant dock. Depths are about 12 feet which is plenty for anyone who's been through the Dismal Swamp.

The pilings wiggle in the current a bit but they withstood Isabel. After Hurricane Isabel, the finger piers had to be rebuilt and Elizabeth City did suffer some damage to store fronts etc

We got to Elizabeth City and tied up by 1659 - too late for a Rose Buddy party if there had been one, but before sunset. We did 50.0 miles today at an average speed of 5.9 mph.
RosalieAnn at the Elizabeth City free docks

RosalieAnn at the Elizabeth City free docks


The finger piers are quite short and low, so at high tide, I have to have a milk crate or stool on the finger pier in order to get off. Some folks just climb over the bow directly onto the seawall. The guy on the port side of us helps us tie up and so does the guy from ADRIANA. ETHERIA is over on the restaurant dock.

Fred Fearing the head Rose Buddy apparently wasn't feeling well and called off the party tonight. We are urged to stay another day for the Monday party. So we do. One of the Rose Buddy ladies told me that she went to Fred's house a couple of weeks ago and found him on the floor from a heart attack. He had an angioplasty and she said he seems to be OK now. {He died 4 years later at the age of 93}

Because there are no restaurants open on Sunday except Groupers in the Waterworks building, that's where we have dinner.
Model ship in Groupers restaurant

Model ship in Groupers restaurant


I have a cup of red corn crab soup and a curry, and Bob has a chef's salad. Stalks is closed - he sold the store and it is now a dress shop.

The first trawler in line is EMMA LOU a Grand Banks 36, and on the starboard side we have a Beneteau 395 named DESTINATION who have come all the way down from Michigan. A big boat named JUBILEE came in late- two guys who went outside from RI. It seems strange to me that they would come down the Dismal Swamp Canal after they've been outside all the way from RI.

November 3, 2003 Rose Buddy Meeting

The guy in the port slip left and also a sailboat named SEA JAY, ETHERIA, EMMA LOU and the trawler CALLIOPE. JUBILEE put someone off and fired up their engines and left too. I met a guy who was in Elizabeth City doing insurance assessment of the hurricane damage who has a CSY named HEAVEN. We still see some Beth and Woody went somewhere to get water, not knowing that it is available at the free docks. damage from the hurricane in store fronts. Beth and Woody came in with a white ketch. He is a refrigeration expert. They anchored behind Goat Island last night. Beth and Woody went somewhere to get water, not knowing that it is available at the free dock if your hose is long enough to reach the drinking fountain at the docks. You have to know where to access it - one of the Rose Buddies can show you.

Pelican Marina was trashed by the hurricane, and cannot dispense fuel, and may not even be taking transients. Someone told me that they don't expect it to open until next year. TROUBADOUR that we met last year at the Visitor's Center went past and didn't stop. Another couple tied up briefly but they need fuel so they left - I guess for the Alligator River. A houseboat from Maine came in and left. DESTINATION left.

Bob got all his engine/refrigeration belts out and measured them, and fixed the refrigeration. He walked to the store and bought distilled water for the batteries and salt for the LectraSan and got a ride partway back. I walked over to the bakery
Flour Girls Cafe and Bakery

Flour Girls Cafe and Bakery


and got some very expensive bread and went to the bathroom there. I also took a picture of little Moth Boat Park at the end of that street. I have never understood what a Moth Boat was until I went and looked it up on the internet. The Albemarle Museum has a write-up on it which says:

"The moth was developed in 1929 when Captain Joel Van Sant visited Elizabeth City. He was traveling from Atlantic City to Florida and stopped to overhaul his yacht, Siesta. During his stay, he joined forces with Ernest Sanders of Elizabeth City Shipyard to design a small sailboat which could be easily raced on inland rivers and lakes. This sporty little craft, called the moth because of its ability to flit across the waves, caught the imagination of sailors and boatbuilders seeking an inexpensive vessel which could be built by non-professional boatbuilders."
Moth Boat Park

Moth Boat Park


The Classic Moth Boat Regatta is traditionally held the third Saturday in September. Visitors are invited to join the festivities which include boat tours of the harbor, art shows, craft booths along the waterfront, music and the traditional Museum of the Albemarle Barbecue Chicken Dinner '.

We walked to the Colonial Restaurant to have lunch. I had Navy bean soup and we both had a chicken salad sandwich and I had grapenuts pudding like mom used to make for dessert.
Center Square Dinner Theater across from the Colonial Restaurant

Center Square Dinner Theater across from the Colonial Restaurant

Bricks from Baltimore in the streets

Bricks from Baltimore in the streets


Today we had the Rose Buddy's party. It was fun.
Fred Fearing in his Golf Cart, talks to Bob

Fred Fearing in his Golf Cart, talks to Bob


Mr. Fearing was a retired U.S. Postal Service mailman. He and his friend Joe Kramer were the originators of the Rose Buddies. Fred decided after church one Sunday in 1983 to hold an impromptu wine and cheese party for the visiting boaters on the Intercoastal Waterway at the newly completed city docks. Joe, who grew roses as a hobby, clipped 17 buds and presented them to the visiting women on board. Thus began the first Rose Buddy party. Soon the Rose Buddies were a staple of Intracoastal Waterway lore. As the tradition grew Fred became the unofficial Elizabeth City tour guide dispensing historical facts on the Dismal Swamp and its Canal. Each day, Fearing would ride to the waterfront on the Golf Cart given to him by television weather caster Willard Scott, to count the boaters staying overnight. If there were more than five boats, Fearing would host the party at the waterfront; fewer than five, and he would invite the boaters to his house a few blocks away on Fearing Street. He doesn't like you to be late, so pay attention to the time. The idea is to get people off their boats and talking to each other and sharing experiences. Because otherwise, we tend to be a bit isolated, especially those who are saving money by anchoring out instead of coming into marinas.

Bob and Deb of ANNE M are really on their way to St. Martin to a job. We met the folks from PIKA (NY state) and there was a guy with a ferrocement boat that he built himself. He said he'd rafted up to a big boat in Alaska - the big yacht asked him how long it took him to get up there and he said 5 days. He didn't tell them that he trailered up to Canada and sailed from there.
Cypress Creek Cafe (moved to Water Street)

Cypress Creek Cafe (moved to Water Street)


We ate at the Cypress Creek Grill and the folks from HELLO DARLIN' came in and sat with us. It is a yellow hulled power boat that they've sold and are delivering. We had the pork loin special,
Pork Loin Special

Pork Loin Special


and I had coconut cake which I didn't really want as I was too full to appreciate it. I also had heartburn from it all night.

The next morning we left to go down the Pasquotank to Albemarle Sound

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:30 Archived in USA

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