A Dismal Day

START: Hospital Point, Virginia, 13 Nov.

Getting to the first lock on the Dismal Swamp Canal is easier on a Sunday. There are fewer trains and the Gilmerton Bridge opens on signal (not!). Gilmerton has gone to half hour openings and we missed our intended one by 7 minutes. For this we had gotten up at 0530 again.

Gilmerton was a comedy. A growing group of south bound boats (some later arrivals quite pushy) listening to the bridge tender being told by a northbound tug, we’l be there at 0720…looks like 0730 now…lots of silence and the bridge tender calls the tug at 0740…oops he has an equipment problem and is still almost a mile from the bridge AND NOT YET UNMOORED.

We got through at 0745.

After dodging jon boats and kayakers who found the centerline of the narrow approach channel to the lock to be absolutely fascinating, we arrived with about ten minutes to spare.

Locking through was the normal calmly systematic event the tenders there have perfected.

TUKTU, a Tartan 40 ahead of us let us pass them as we left the lock, and we led the fleet south.

The day was gorgeous and warmed rapidly into the low 60s, and the pallisade of trees kept the still strong breeze from beating us up.

We arrived at South Mills Lock an hour early and ended up tying off to the trees with a boat hook and short line. For some reason, the boat sat at right angles to the channel no matter what the breeze from the port side did.

The lock tender sent us through with a port side tie up so the wind would keep us against the wall.

We left at 1404 and spent the next two hours wandering down Turner Cut and the Pasquotank to pull into our friends’ dock well before sunset!

Now to sleep in…

FINISH: Elizabeth City, NC, 13 Nov.

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