Monday, May 14, 2018

Dingy, Dim, Dark, Gloomy, Dreary, Drab, Dull, Bleak, Cheerless, Depressing, Uninviting, Unwelcoming Swamp

Viridian arrived at the Pelican Marina in Elizabeth City, NC along with a strong crosswind that made the stern in docking against the old rickety pilings at the marina kinda sporty.  After we got secured the crew of Viridian unloaded the bikes and peddled across the bridge and into downtown Elizabeth City.  The spectacular old houses were found along Main St. and Church St. and we cruised slowly along the sidewalks beside the shady road past houses over 150 years old.  The next day was  Mother's Day and we rode down the the First Baptist Church and attended the morning service.  Afterward, we found a restaurant that served buffet style home cooked food and splurged by ordering sweet tea with our salad and main meal.  The food was delicious and we  made sure we told the owner how much we enjoyed it.  The first mates of Viridian and Second Wave took a taxi to Walmart and I stayed onboard and did some modifications to the old water pump and finally got it working with all good parts.  Later there was a meeting with a captain and his wife onboard Second Wave were we discussed our route north for the Chesapeake.  After the sun got lower we rode our bikes out the southern end of town along the river front in the cool afternoon air.

We were up at 0500 so we could be ready to catch the 0730 bridge opening in Elizabeth City.  Once through with two sailboats we set our throttles to give us a speed that would bring us to South Mills Lock at exactly 1100 for the scheduled opening into the Dismal Swamp.  The route from Elizabeth City, NC took us up the Pasquotank River to the Dismal Swamp Southern Cut, a straight ditch that was completed in 1805 do drain the swamp so that the cypress trees could be harvested and a connecting waterway could be established.  Seven boats locked through the tiny lock at South Mill and it took about 45 minutes to complete.  There was one lady working the lock.  She had to personally tie each boat up to the pins on the top of the lock wall, run over to the operators hut and shut the gates to fill the lock, open the lock when we were up, then jump in her vehicle and drive a half mile down the cut to open the draw bridge and let us through.  No wonder they schedule only 3 openings a day.  We were the first to arrive at the Dismal Swamp Visitor Ctr and we knew we would be rafting on the short pier.  Viridian turned around so that the generator exhaust on the starboard side would not be against the boat we were rafting with.  Five boats jammed on the dock with two boats rafting of the others.  We took a ride on our bikes back to South Mill and had one of their famous cheese burgers and got exercise to boot.  Back at the dock we all set out chairs and chatted about various topics while sitting in the middle of the Dismal Swamp.

That's the news and here's some views:

We are here

Today's Route from Elizabeth City, NC to the Great Dismal Swamp State Park Welcome Center

Sunday, May 13, 2018

First Baptist Church,

Mother's Day Buffet Lunch

A Happy Mother's Day!

Camden Causeway Lift Bridge

Monday May 14 2018

Heading for the drawbridge at Elizabeth City, BNC

Goodbye Elizabeth City

 Do you see the Loch Ness Monster in this view?

Heading up the Pasquotank River towards the Dismal Swamp Cut

Entering the Southern Dismal Swamp Cut section

Along the Straight and Narrow Way

South Mill Lock

This poor lady ran herself ragid getting us all tied  up.  One large cruiser came free in the lock before it reached the top.  That was a rather tense moment for everyone.

Exiting the lock

Preparing to raft

South Mill Draw Bridge

Only 30 statute miles left on the AICW

Arriving at the Dismal Swamp Canal Visitor Center

Rafting up on the short pier, no power or water

All took a bike ride to J & E Oasis Grill for cheese burgers and fries on Main St. South  Mills, NC

Good times reliving the day with Fellow Loopers

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