Thursday, September 26, Day 79
We woke at 630am and tried SSB channel 4045 to see if we could hear Chris Parker’s weather and behold we could barely hear him. There was a lot of artifact, but hear him we could. We took a look around and seeing a lot of beach exposed in the cove, we thought that we better leave for the Deep Creek Lock before the tide was dead low water. Good thing that we did, as we had to try twice to find the deepest water, the 2nd try touching for only a little. The water was very glassy and the reflections on the water were like looking into a mirror. I love when the water is like this as the photos you can take can be so much better.
Here is the cove.
The last time we have been here was in Oct 22, 2010 and it was the coldest part of our trip. We had started from Hampton, VA arriving in this area for the 130pm bridge. Today we would catch the 830am bridge. To my delight, there was one other boat waiting to go thru the canal with us. Great! maybe we’ll be able to continue together after the canal. Later I found out that the two guys, Zell, the Captain, and Joe his crew, were doing the circle loop through the Dismal Swamp to Elizabeth City then up through the Virginia Cut back to Hampton again. Bummer! I miss not having a buddy boat yet.
Promptly at 830am we go through the lock this time having a lot of current from the water entering the lock. As I thought about my not noticing this last time I remembered how there were about 8 boats in the lock at once and the lock tender had probably let the water in much more slowly to avoid the current we were now experiencing. Only S/V Simply Southern went through the canal with us today and it was their first time, so they asked us to lead knowing that we would be going 4-5 kts to avoid the hard hits we experienced last time.
Besides the warmth and fewer boats, there were other things that marked a difference in our transit. We entered the canal and the top of the water was GREEN with Duckweed. It was quite beautiful being the first ones on the water this morning. I was in heaven with all the photos opportunities that were available and I took full advantage! So get ready for some photos!!!
Coming into Deep Creek Lock.
</> This is the view going down the canal with the duck weed floating on top. In some places it was so thick, that the leaves from the trees rested on top of the water instead of floating on the water. Notice the silver "road" down the center? We just followed it down the center the whole way only going to one side or the other when debris forced us to.
A light coating of duck weed in the currents.
I tried to get photos of all the turtles we saw once the sun came out. Many were small, others disappeared into the water with the sound of the engine, then once when we were through the canal, we came across 4 large turtles, about 12″ diameter, sharing the same log, but being at the helm, I missed this photo opportunity.
At Mile marker 28m we came to the Welcome Center but didn’t stop as we wanted to catch the 130pm bridge.
After the Welcome Station, the Pontoon Bridge open as if by magic and we passed through without having to hail anyone on Channel 13. Eventually, the duckweed disappeared and we saw the dark water. There are many tree stumps that are supporting new grow from them.
We exited the Dismal Swamp through the south Mill Lock at 1pm, the bridge tender opening it up early for us and the boat behind us. So how many times did we hit? About 15 and none of them strong, defined has making the boat shake and the mast sing, so it was much better.
We made it thought the 430pm bridge into Elizabeth City and with Stan and Paul’s help got tied up at the city free (our favorite word) dock. You can stay here for 48 hours. They have 4 posts to tie up to so took us a while to get settled. We were expecting some NE winds during our stay so wanted to make sure Changes was secured well. On the this, our alternator bracket holding the alternator belt broke. We found it when the engine was making a squeaking sound along with the rpm gauge going haywire. Now we can only charge the batteries with the solar panels. Hopefully we can get it fixed here and we have plenty of sun.