When Dismal Doesn’t Mean Dark

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Filled with shallow, coffee brown water, and with sometimes seriously leaning trees, we still like the Dismal Swamp Canal and just made our fifth transit. It is quiet, calm and hurrying is neither possible nor worthwhile. The banks can’t handle wakes, and the locks open when the locks open.

Our strategy has been to be the last boat through and trail the others from an increasing distance. There is little maneuvering room at the lock entrances, and we like to get there, “just in time.” We leave a cushion for unexpected events and take the first, 0830, locking up into the canal so we have two lockings down to shoot for at 1330 or 1530 should we encounter a problem.

This year we hit very little of the vegetable debris sucked from the bottom by boats ahead. The weather was gorgeous — from sweaters at O Dark Thirty to t-shirts by noon. The trees were not quite ready to change color, and the breeze picked up the water chill for natural air conditioning. Butterflies hitch-hiked on our turbulence and deck, and stink bugs abounded. I got quite good at kicking bug field goals with a cockpit scupper as the goal.

We arrived at friends Paul and Joyce’s around 1600 and slipped in a breeze building from the SW in advance of the next weather system — which we plan to wait out here. We aren’t interested in the Albemarle Sound with 25 knot winds. Sorta like sailing in an out of balance top-loading washing machine filled with iced coffee.

2 responses to “When Dismal Doesn’t Mean Dark

  1. Shades of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

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