Traveling The ICW from the Dismal Swamp in NC to the Dismal Swamp in Virginia

OM…Gosh… . After leaving Elizabeth City, we set sail for another adventure up the Dismal Swamp. Not knowing what to expect, I was a tad bit nervous. It was like when we were preparing to leave for our trip, we were told by so many people not to take a sailboat down the Mississippi River due to water depth. Well, we didn’t listen to them and had the best time.  Water depth was not an issue.  The Dismal Swamp was the same.  We were encouraged to try it by Steve and Judy.  The  swamp is regulated to 6 feet.  We did however have a few hits.  We have a wing keel and she likes to grab hold of things she shouldn’t.  Bad girl! LOL Well, set back and enjoy our trip with us…

First we said goodbye to Elizabeth City.




This is the Elizabeth City Highway Bridge. We had a small wait as a tow was coming South from the other side.




As we continued on, it was time to pull out the fenders again to get ready for our first set of locks going up the swamp.




In this photo you can see the high water water levels from the two tropical storm that dumped a bit of rain in this area.  Although, it turned out the Dismal swamp was at normal level.




MY heart dropped as we turned the corner. All I could see was this old train bridge. I couldn’t see the opening. It was to be open at all times unless a train was coming.  I didn’t hear a train nor did I see an opening.  I looked back at Bryce; he could see the look in my face.  He pointed to the Starboard side of the bridge.




OMG!!! are we going to fit through that little opening? Crap… I didn’t see it happening! This is the Norfolk Southern Railroad Swing Bridge. The book says “Normally open hand-operated “.




It wasn’t until we made our final turn that I saw the the more then big enough opening.   Ok I need a stiff drink!!!Martini glass




So we ventured beyond this point.  I noticed some really weathered houses that must of taken the hit of a  few to many hurricanes. Make me feel good that my house is in a none hurricane state.




It’s funny; because as this area twist and turns, there really is so much to see. I saw a shinny body resting on this log as we passed by.  So I grabbed my chair and decided to sit on the bow and see what I could take pictures of.  Here is a turtle sunning on the log.




Here is a double decker deck with nothing around it.  I wonder who built it? I think it would be neat to have some furniture under the roof.




OOPS….. dead end. I think we made a wrong turn!! I pulled my self to my feet and started to walk back and tell Bryce he made the the wrong turn. When I heard, “Jane we are fine. I am following the GPS!!”  I mumbled to my self, “yeah it’s not like the dumb GPS is never wrong”. It wasn’t till we get to the very end that I started to see the cut.




So I noticed more turtles and more turtles.. I have many pictures of these turtles.




Finally we came up to our turn. What a pretty one it was. But boy, as you approach the area, it takes a while to actually notice where you will be turning.




If you are reading this and looking at this photo, do you see anything wrong with it? I am not sure but what happen to the old statement of keeping America Beautiful!!  Please don’t litter.




We came to another end. This time we make a starboard turn.




I see something shinny up a head. I warned Bryce to look out; he see the log also.  But I had to laugh; the log had a visitor on it.  Now didn’t I tell you I had lots of photos of these little guys. LOL




Okay I have to show you several more  turtles.  Every where I turn I see a turtle. LOL




As I set or stand at the bow I look for things to tell Bryce to avoid. He knows if I point to either side that is the area to watch out for.  I saw a little branch in front of us. But it started to move a bit faster as we got closer.  That is when I noticed it was a another snake crossing to get to the other side.




OM!!! Look how straight our path has become. You guys this is one of the most beautiful swaps I have ever seen.  We traveled for several hours with this view and I love every minute of it.  Very calm and protected from winds by the trees.




I didn’t think that this would ever end but did I even want it to.  I could hear the birds and crickets, frogs. and may other types of noises. We had to veer to our port side.  When all of a sudden I noticed……




At first I didn’t have a clue over what I was looking at.  I thought maybe we were at a dam. But I heard Bryce call the lock master.  We arrived right on time 3:30 and the locked opened on time for us.  Good thing.. there was not much room to drift around here.




We placed our lines on the port side as Al the lock master instructed us to.  When the light turns green we can enter the lock.




Bryce took the stern and I took the bow lines




And I took the bow line. I asked Al how much of a rise we will have. He said “Today..  7 feet”.  Notice the water gurgling behind me as it comes into the lock.




We noticed this cool sign. It showed different distances from here.   New York.. only 473 miles!!




Ok everyone, say hello to Al our lock master. He was so helpful and knowledgeable.




Now, this is the dam on the Dismal Swamp.  Doesn’t look like much water was going over.  This is one of the two dams that control the water level on the Dismal Swamp Canal that we will travel up.




After Al got us through the lock, he had to get into his vehicle and drive down the road to the  South Mills bridge to open it and let us through.




After he opened the bridge, he waved goodbye to us and said he would see us when we come back.




Ok, about a 1/2 mile or so we had a 65 foot highway bridge  to pass under. No waiting here…




The park was still open, so the gate was closed.  We had to call this number to have the bridge opened for us. 




By the time we got to the Welcome Center bridge, it was open.




It’s funny, because you can’t  tell, but on the starboard side is a sea wall that anyone can tie up to and it’s free. There is a welcome center here and they like boaters to stop by and fill out a small inquiry about you and your boat. There is also a State Park there and it is full of history all about the Dismal Swamp.  Tomorrow we will visit the state Park and head up the swamp.  You can see me relaxing in my chair after a hard day in the swamp!!




Part two of the Dismal Swamp coming soon. Thank for following us.

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