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International  Marine  Insurance  Services is the source of choice for insurance coverage for your watercraft. After nineteen years of incomparable service to our clientele, we'd like to welcome you aPort City Marina - Wilmington, NCOur focus is to assist boaters with the purchase or sale of their powerboats. All our yacht owners are trained and educated on the handling and systems of their new vessel as part of our service. We want to make sure your experience with us is easy by being thorough with your needs. Through aggressive internet marketing, publication ads, and our long term networks we also have the resources to get your yacht sold! Our experience allows us the understanding of the market place.Key Lime Sailing Club in Key Largo, 305-451-3438, www.keylimesailingclub.comThe FROLI System, developed in Germany has made a big hit with the USA  recreation and leisure travel market. Nickle Atlantic will be at the Annapolis Sail Boat Show, October 8 - 12, in Booth One look at a Kadey-Krogen Yacht and your cruising spirit awakens. And no wonder — every element of the new generation of Kadey-Krogen trawler yachts speaks of confidence and freedom. Our exclusive PuGeorgetown County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 1776, Georgetown, South Carolina 29442Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 1776, Georgetown, South Carolina 29442
The Town of Fort Myers Beach proudly operates and maintains the Matanzas Harbor Municipal Mooring Field. The field boasts 70 mooring balls available for public rental year-round, and accommodates vessels up to 48 feet in length. The mooring field is located east of the Sky Bridge between San Carlos and Estero Islands in Matanzas Pass. For recreational cruisers, the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field is a wonderful destination. Coming ashore at the Town’s dinghy dock puts boaters in walking distance to beaches, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and public transportation. Mooring ball rental fees are $13/day or $260/month. All renters MUST register with Matanzas Inn upon arrival. The dinghy dock is available for public use to tie up dinghies 10’ or less (no overnight tie-ups). The dock is located beneath the Sky Bridge between Matanzas Inn Restaurant and the public fishing pier. The Pilot House Marina is located on secluded Lake Largo just minutes from downtown Key Largo. This choice location borders on John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, an underwater park famous among snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Fort Pierce City Marina 1 Avenue A, Ft. Pierce, FL 34950 Toll Free (800) 619-1780 (772) 464-1245 Facsimile (772) 464-2589910-269-2380 The new 82-slip Deep Point Marina is located on the Cape Fear River in Southport, NC, and offers fuel and transient dockage, as well as daily, monthly and annual slip rentals. The marina is adjacent to the new Bald Head Island Ferry Terminal, which houses a snack bar (open seasonally) that offers grab-and-go food options, soft drinks, beer, wine and coffee. In addition, the Deep Point Marina is convenient to Southport's shopping, restaurants and historic district, and offers easy ocean access. Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop programWhether you want to revisit the past or satisfy your curiosities, discover the arts or explore your true nature, you can do it from the heart of the Inner Banks - Washington, North Carolina. 800 546 0Punta Gorda, Florida - a GREAT cruising destination910-457-7380

Archive For: NC1 – Dismal Swamp Route

  • Celebrate Coast Guard Week (7/28-8/2) in Elizabeth City, NC, Dismal Swamp Alternate Route Statute Mile 50.5

    Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program
    Here is an opportunity for boaters to show our appreciation for the wonderful work being done by the United States Coast Guard. Elizabeth City, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, is one of the most boater-friendly ports on the Waterway and what a great place to celebrate the USCG!. The Staff Report from the Daily Advance below details the week’s activities.

    Discounts, Art Walk on tap for Coast Guard Week
    Next week is Coast Guard Week. It’s the time each year when Elizabeth City celebrates the men and women in True Blue, and their families. It’s the time of year when we say thanks for all you do.
    The week of events, coordinated by the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce features discounts for Coast Guard members at local stores and businesses, the Friday Night Art Walk and Coast Guard Day, an on-base celebration.

    For a full schedule, see:

    http://www.dailyadvance.com/features/discounts-art-walk-tap-coast-guard-week-2542947

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Mariner’s Wharf Elizabeth City Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Mariner’s Wharf Elizabeth City Docks

  • Unhappy Dismal Swamp Canal Traveler, AICW Alternate Route

    Most of the reports we receive from Dismal Swamp travelers are downright amorous! See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=138522. There are occasions, after high winds or high water, when the canal may be trashed with extra debris and duckweed, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=88326. In fact, it is sometimes closed to order for the ACOE to remove excess debris. Obviously, Captain Grimes came through at one of those congested times, and I hope you will join me in encouraging Captain Grimes to give the Great Dismal Swamp Canal another chance! It is a favorite part of the Waterway for many folks.
    A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center lies along the eastern banks of the Dismal Swamp Canal at statute mile 28.

    We traveled southbound in August, 2012, at < 6 knots with two of us on the flybridge looking for debris in the water. We hit no fewer than 5 submerged objects. Fortunately, our hull sustained no damage, but we will not venture into the Dismal Swamp Canal again. We saw numerous floating logs tied to brush along the bank with flimsy rope.
    Capt. David Grimes

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

  • New Video Shows Why You SHOULD “Do the Dismal”

    Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate RoutePLEASE, if you have even the slightest interest in ever cruising the Dismal Swamp Canal AICW Alternate Route, follow the link below to see a truly amazing video. The talented sailors who put this together employed one of those new drones for aerial photography. And, in addition to the canal itself, there are some truly stunning aerial shots of our good friends at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center! DON’T MISS THIS ONE!!!

    http://vimeo.com/94469647

  • Dismal Swamp Route Recommended, AICW Alternate Route

    Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate Route

    Dismal Swamp Welcome Center – Click for Chartview

    The Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!, is located on the east shore of the like-named Canal at Statute Mile 28.
    The Dismal Swamp Canal State Park Bridge, with 0 ft vertical clearance, is a small, pedestrian foot bridge that crosses the canal just south of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center. This span had malfunctioned, and could not be opened. However, this situation has been remedied and the Dismal Swamp Canal is now open to navigation.

    These good comments about the Great Dismal Swamp Canal come from our friends at America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association’s forum.

    Re: Dismal Swamp or other route:
    The Great Dismal, by all means. Passed thru that way last July in our 30′ Trawler, draft 3.4 feet. A great way to prepare for the hustle & bustle you will encounter at mile Zero and further north. Teems with wildlife and is almost empty of people & waterfront homes. It is anything BUT, Dismal.
    May you have fair winds and following seas,
    Bill & Bonnie Sweeney
    The Elissa II

    We like the Great Dismal Swamp route so much, that unless the canal is closed, we always take the canal route. The stops at Elizabeth City free town docks, South Mills, the Welcome Center and the docks south of Deep Creek Lock, all free, make this a must do. The canal transit itself it beautiful. Here are a couple of our blog posts that might give you some details.
    http://trawler-beach-house.blogspot.com/2013/07/elizabeth-city-north-carolina-harbor-of.html
    http://trawler-beach-house.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-great-dismal-swamp-canal-and.html
    Chuck Baier

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

  • Elizabeth City, NC’s Mariners Wharf City Docks Adds New Bathroom and Shower Building (St. M. 50.5, Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route)

    ecshowers1

    Entrance Into New Elizabeth City Showers

    We are very pleased to report that SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Elizabeth City, NC has just opened a new bathroom and shower facility immediately adjacent to the free (for 48 hours) Mariner’s Wharf city docks. What a GREAT addition to what is already one of the most cruiser friendly communities to be found ANYWHERE!

    New Restroom and Shower Facilities Now Open in Elizabeth City
    Recreational boaters who cruise into Elizabeth City, N.C., now have a place to freshen up and take a hot shower. Just in time for the spring travel season, new heated restroom and shower facilities have just opened in the Mariners’ Wharf Building at Mariners’ Wharf.
    Just steps from the docks, the new facility includes separate men’s and women’s restrooms, one large shower room with a commode and sink, as well as a second shower room that is accessible for people with disabilities. The restrooms are free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. There is a $5 cash fee to use the showers, payable at either the Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitors Bureau office or the Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc. office. Both offices are closed on Saturday and Sunday.
    One of the New Elizabeth City Showers“We take our city’s reputation as the “Harbor of Hospitality®” seriously, and we hope our boating visitors enjoy these new amenities,” said Charlotte Underwood, director of the Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.
    Offering free 48-hour dockage for recreational boaters, Elizabeth City is located in Northeastern North Carolina on the Intracoastal Waterway, halfway between Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks. For additional information, call Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-866-ECity-4U (1-866-324-8948) or visit DiscoverElizabethCity.com. For up-to-the-minute info on happenings and events visit ElizabethCityHASIt.com

    What a great city! I’ve been visiting by boat since back in the day when the original Rose Buddies greeted everyone at the docks, and I go out of my way to return the favor by purchasing groceries, eating out, and patronizing other local businesses. One of my favorite ICW stops and a great reason to take the Dismal Swamp route.
    John Kettlewell

    AMEN! Kudos to Elizabeth City!
    Another 2 day dock courtesy city in North Carolia is Edenton. Another beautiful stop.
    Alan

    Of course Alan is speaking of another SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Edenton Harbor City Docks, off the AICW on Western Albemarle Sound. For a complete report on Edenton, go to http://cruisersnet.net/?p=126199

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Mariner’s Wharf Elizabeth City Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Mariner’s Wharf Elizabeth City Docks

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Edenton Harbor (City Docks)

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Edenton Harbor (City Docks)

  • Good Words for Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, AICW Alternate Route

    Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate Route

    Dismal Swamp Welcome Center - Click for Chartview

    The Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!, is located on the east shore of the Canal at Statute Mile 28. For the Center’s winter hours, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=128131

    I have now been retired 3 years, after 23 years as Director of the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center. I want to thank each and everyone who choose to travel the Dismal Swamp Canal. I realize the dockage is small but most the time it will meet your needs. It is the only place where you can witness nature at its best and learn of its history. Bike rides are available, clean restrooms and grounds. Try it once and I promise you will return……..”Happy Cruising”
    Penny Leary-Smith

    The Welcome Center has provided so much needed respite over the years while cruising. The staff certainly are always very informative, and encouraging no matter what time of the day we have visited. Its great to have ‘the Dismal Swamp’ available to us; such a blessful experience – its like riding down a country lane viewing nature in its natural sitting. For me its a ‘slice’ of America, kinda like Yellowstone (a piece of history that I wish everyone could experience). My husband as well as fellow cruisers we know, are praying that tax dollars don’t ever allow it to go away. We encourage everyone to try it – along with a stop by to talk with Robert Peak & say “Hello” to his pal, “U-Turn”; since he’s an extremely sweet pet, you might wish to have a doggie treat ready.
    Ginger Thompson

    Penny,
    Thank you for all you have done. This applies to all your staff as well. It has always been one of our favorite stops.
    Jim and Sandy Davis
    S/V Isa Lei

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

  • Divergent Thoughts on Cruising the AICW Dismal Swamp Alternate Route

    Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate Route

    Dismal Swamp Welcome Center - Click for Chartview

    The recent closure of the Great Bridge Lock, which temporarily made the AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route the only inland option, has prompted discussion of the Dismal Swamp’s cruising characteristics, good and less than good.

    I am curious as to why our members are concerned about the Great Bridge Lock being closed. There is enough water and the locks are open on the Dismal Swamp Canal and the passage is prettier than the Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal. We have traversed both many times and prefer the Dismal.
    It’s true that there are more marinas on the C and A and you may have to run a generator at Elizabeth City or at the anchorage above the E. C. bridge but the distance is the same for each passage. True the lower Pasquotank River is open to the wind but then so is Currituck Sound.
    Jim Bertch

    Jim, rarely do I disagree with you, but this time I do! It cost us a pretty penny last time we went through and we’ve been there and done that, and we now prefer the Virginia Cut. OHH and BTW it appears that the Great Bridge Lock is open again. No word on whether it is permanently fixed or what, but right now they are operating on a normal schedule!
    Hans

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

  • Dismal Swamp Canal AICW Alternate Route Versus the North Carolina – Virginia Cut Route Primary AICW Passage

    Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate Route

    Dismal Swamp Welcome Center - Click for Chartview

    The recent closure of the Great Bridge Lock, which temporarily made the Dismal Swamp Canal AICW Alternate Route the only inland option, prompted this discussion of the Dismal Swamp versus the North Carolina – Virginia Cut (a. k. a. the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal) on the AGLCA Forum.

    Obviously each boater makes their own decisions but the Dismal is my absolute preference over the Va Cut. that said I am a shallow draft boat (3′) and have keel protected props. I have found that there are different risks for both routes depending upon your individual boat. We always thump something coming thru the Dismal but so far no damage, and also the Pungo for that matter. The Va Cut bridges are difficult for us to time, as we are a slow boat so we are often waked badly by inconsiderate captains on large yachts transiting the Va. Cut making a schedule. There is commercial traffic on the cut as well and the long narrow channel reach across the Carrituck Sound in weather can be a real bear. I also find that the approaches to the bridges on the upper end of the Virginia Cut has it’s dangers with the stumps lining that narrow channel. Often not visible until they poke out from a wake trough.
    So for us the very protected easy relaxing transit of the Dismal is the attraction and it has many more anchoring/docking options than the cut. When weather blocks the crossing of the Albemarle we often hang out at Elizabeth’s (sometimes referred to as Robert’s) Dock between the Swing bridge and the deep creek lock chamber. Deep water extremely protected free dock with easy walking to the town that has everything the cruiser could require in the adjacent shopping Center. No electric and sometimes you can get water if the tap is on. We prefer this spot to trying to jam into Elizabeth City among a backlog of boats trying to wait a weather window.
    Again the decision is of course dependent upon your situation and boat.
    cruise safe, stay warm but have fun

    We agree whole heartedly in preferring the Dismal Swamp route over the Dreadful Currituck Sound route. In our dozen cruises along the east coast we’ve visited the canal 10 times (leaving 2 for the Dreadful route). Same reasons mentioned in the above article, plus the canal and the river leading to it from Elizabeth City is beautiful and unhurried. We’ve never had an issue with our four foot draft. The new nature center is worth a visit.
    Bob McLeran/Judy Young

    Absolutely agree with the comments above. Add that a visit with Robert Peak, lockmaster at Deep Creek is one of the pleasures of the trip. For a small adventure, take the dinghy, canoe or kayak up the feeder ditch, use the marine railway to get it to lake level and enjoy the almost perfect roundness and natural beauty of Lake Drummond (just be sure to note a landmark so you can find your way back off the lake).
    If you visit the state park and walk or bicycle on the trails, take seriously the warning about Lyme disease carrying deer ticks. We didn’t and had multiple tick bites resulting in a round of antibiotics when we reached home a few days later.
    Jean Thomason

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

  • Dismal Swamp Welcome Center Winter Hours, AICW Alternate Route

    Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate Route

    Dismal Swamp Welcome Center - Click for Chartview

    Our thanks to Sarah Weeks of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR) for this update on the Center’s hours.

    Greetings,
    The winter schedule at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center starting Dec. 1st is as follows:
    Monday – Saturday 9am- 5pm
    Closed Sundays
    Thanks,
    Sarah M. Weeks
    Assistant to the Director
    Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center
    2356 Highway 17 North
    South Mills, NC 27976
    Phone: 877.771.8333 ~ Fax: 252.771.2055
    Web: www.dismalswampwelcomecenter.com

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

  • Duckweed Largely Cleared at Both Locks and On Dismal Swamp Canal AICW Alternate Route

    Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate RouteOur thanks to Director Stewart of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR) for this update and photos below. For earlier photos, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=124791. And we remind you of the “Event Along the Waterway” scheduled for this coming weekend http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120878

    As many of you may have heard there is Duckweed in the northern part of the Canal. I wanted you share with you although you must come through the Deep Creek lock to get here, we are clear. I have a boater who had problems after locking through on Saturday and ended up being towed here to our dock on Sunday.
    I do believe the folks on the north end are doing everything they can to try to alleviate the problem. I know Robert has relayed they have had challenges. My boaters who had come through heading south last week stated they got out of the weed at about mm14. But we did have 5 boats come through earlier today and our stranded boater talked to 5 of them. He said only one stated an issue with having to clean his strainer……..I don’t know what to say, other than I would suggest you contact the Deep Creek lock for their status. Our South Mills lockmaster says he is clear as we are and we took these photos this afternoon (after Tom Hale called) to verify we are clear as well. I called Elizabeth City yesterday to see if they had complaints outside of the South Mills lock to ECity, but Susan reported she had not received any reports of problems. I’ll try to see if one of our boaters here tonight will call me and advise me of the conditions as they head south.
    If we receive further useful information, I’ll let you know.
    Donna Stewart, Director
    Dismal Swamp Welcome Center
    2356 US Hwy 17N
    South Mills, NC 27976
    Phone ~ 252-771-8333
    www.DismalSwampWelcomeCenter.com

    10/18/2013
    We had several boats come in yesterday afternoon and were expecting four more after we left at 5pm. The boaters I spoke to said they had no issues locking at the north. Charlotte Underwood at the Elizabeth City CVB also asked her boaters about the trip from the South Mills lock to ECity and they reported no problems. This is what I’ve heard so far. Thanks for trying to keep all informed. Robert was not working at the lock yesterday, but the lockmaster on duty said he felt they were back to normal. I’ll try to check on the status when I go in this am.
    Donna

  • Praise for Elizabeth City, NC, Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate Route, Statute Mile 50.5

    Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

    Mariners Wharf - Click for Chartview

    Elizabeth City, at the south end of the Dismal Swamp route, has been charming cruising visitors at its City Docks since 1983 and it’s wonderful that Elizabeth City just keeps getting better and better, as one would expect from A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! A hot shower can mean so much at the end of a long day in the wind and spray! Dockage is free for 48 hours, however, we were once allowed to stay for three days when high winds prevented the Alligator River Bridge from opening.

    We had a wonderful stay for 2 nights at Elizabeth City after an eventful transit of the dismal swamp. The only navigation hazard was the duck weed [being cleared as of 10/17/2013] in and around the Deep Creek Lock. Robert is doing all he can to clear the weed which should be gone as the north wing abates this week, call him if concerned. We had a blocked strainer but after clearing it all was OK. After the DC bridge there was no weed to worry about and no other hazards for our 5′ draft IP45.
    Elizabeth City exceeded our expectations for free dock space and great hospitality. There is good shopping 1.5 miles from the dock and great shops and restaurants on the wharf. We thoroughly enjoyed a great value meal at Groupers! The visitor center had a Rose Buddies reception with free wine and cheese and it was great to hear about Elizabeth City and meet fellow cruisers. The museum is well worth the free entry and soon the theatre season will start too! Please pay these folks a visit – you won’t regret it!
    Devin Taylor s/v Moosetracks

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Elizabeth City’s Mariners’ Wharf City Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Elizabeth City Waterfront

  • Improvements to Mariners Wharf Underway in Elizabeth City, AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route/Pasquotank River, Statute Mile 50.5

    Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

    Mariners Wharf - Click for Chartview

    Elizabeth City, at the south end of the Dismal Swamp route, has been charming cruising visitors at its City Docks since 1983 and it’s wonderful that Elizabeth City just keeps getting better and better, as one would expect from A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! A hot shower can mean so much at the end of a long day in the wind and spray! Dockage is free for 48 hours, however, we were once allowed to stay for three days when high winds prevented the Alligator River Bridge from opening, as happened just this past week. Our thanks to Captain Baier for this news and photo.

    Construction has begun on the heads and showers and the contractor wants to have them done by Thanksgiving. Here are a couple of photos.
    Chuck and Susan, Trawler Beach House

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Elizabeth City’s Mariners’ Wharf City Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Elizabeth City Waterfront

    Showers and Head Under Construction

  • Good Words for Pelican Marina, Elizabeth City, NC, AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route/Pasquotank River, Statute Mile 50.5

    Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

    Pelican Marina - Click for Chartview

    Elizabeth City, at the south end of the Dismal Swamp route, has been charming cruising visitors to the City Docks since 1983 and we are proud to report that Elizabeth, NC is A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    Pelican Marina guards the Pasquotank’s northern banks, northeast of unlighted daybeacon #8, just across the river from the downtown Elizabeth City waterfront.

    Stayed here on Sept. 1 and was very pleased. This is great marina. Good bathrooms and laundry. very helpful and a ships store with good prices. Only 35.00 with power and water. A good restaurant next door.
    Danny Styons

    Click Here To View This Facility’s Full Listing of Services on the North Carolina Marina Directory

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Pelican Marina

  • Report from Elizabeth City, NC, AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route/Pasquotank River, Statute Mile 50.5

    Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

    Mariners Wharf - Click for Chartview

    Elizabeth City, at the south end of the Dismal Swamp route, has been charming cruising visitors at its City Docks since 1983 and it’s wonderful that some things do not change! The city docks are officially called Mariner’s Wharf, and dockage is free for 48 hours. However, we were once allowed to stay for three days when high winds prevented the Alligator River Bridge from opening. We are proud to report that Elizabeth, NC is A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    We cruised in here on August 29 and left on the 31. This was the first we had stayed at these docks. Docks were nice but finger piers are short. Could be a problem for some boats. Also the heavy creosote on the pilings made a mess of my lines.The town is a great place to visit. Easy walk to several restaurants and bars. We recommend Cypress Creek Grill and Groupers. Nice museum close by that you can spend several hours. It would be nice if they had some bathrooms.
    Danny Styons

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Elizabeth City’s Mariners’ Wharf City Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Elizabeth City Waterfront

  • AICW/Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route – Captains Susan and Chuck Report

    Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop programSet in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate RouteThere are few topics here on the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, particularly those concerning the North Carolina coastline, that have raised more discussion over the years, that whether or not to take the AICW/Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route, by way of Elizabeth City, NC, or the primary North Carolina – Virginia Cut route (a. k. a. the “Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal), by way of Coinjock and North Landing River. In these numerous strings, we have always come down on the side of “Doing the Dismal,” UNLESS you are being hurried along by a set schedule. In this instance, the North Carolina – Virginia Cut is definitely the way to go!
    The “big knock” against “doing the Dismal,” as addressed by Susan and Chuck below, is the “possibility” of damage to underwater hardware by waterlogged debris. The US Army Corps of Engineers works HARD to minimize this problem, and, while dinged props and bent shafts are possible, we think it’s worth the risk in order to enjoy the DELIGHTS of the Dismal Swamp Canal, it’s excellent Welcome Center, and the incredibly cruiser friendly atmosphere of Elizabeth City (BOTH of which are SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS).
    We think Susan and Chuck have authored one of the most definitive articles ever penned below, on the virtues of cruising the AICW/Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route. We STRONGLY RECOMMEND that anyone who thinks they might even consider this passage at a future time, read the article thoroughly. And, don’t miss Chuck and Susan’s previously published treatise on Elizabeth City, NC at http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119601.
    We are once again greatly indebted to Captains Susan Landry and Chuck Baier, owners of Beach House Publications, publishers of “The Great Book of Anchorages,” (http://www.tgboa.com) for providing the superb, in-depth article and copious photographs, contained in the article below. THANKS CHUCK AND SUSAN! Please read on!

    The Great Dismal Swamp Canal And Welcome Center
    by Captains Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
    When we tell other boaters that we plan to travel the Great Dismal Swamp Canal, many respond that they would love to do it but are afraid to try. I already know the answer but I still have to ask, why? The answer is always the same. They are afraid that they will hit a log and damage the keel of the boat or their props or rudders. The canal has a reputation for debris floating in the water and, especially, lurking under the surface. The question then becomes, is that reputation and fear justified? The answer isn’t that simple; its yes and no. Is that fear and reputation enough to avoid a wonderful experience. It wasn’t for us. After several trips up and down this stretch of the AICW, we vowed that this time we would do the Dismal Swamp, no matter what.

    Entering South Mills Lock

    Heading northbound, a small detour to Elizabeth City is required, the perfect place to prepare for the canal transit. As we pulled off the town dock in Elizabeth City, it was necessary to time the trip from the drawbridge to the first lock at South Mills. There are two locks that need to be negotiated, each with their own drawbridge. The normal lock schedules for both locks are at 8:30, 11:00, 1:30 and 3:30 seven days a week. If you’re northbound, the schedule will be about 30 minutes later at Deep Creek Lock, southbound about 30 minutes later at South Mills. The distance from the bridge at Elizabeth City to the South Mills Lock is about 18 miles. We cleared the bridge at 8:30 AM and adjusted our speed to make our arrival just before the 11:00 AM lock through. Taking the trip along the Pasquotank River in the early morning reminded us of the Waccamaw River, one of our favorites. This isn’t an area you want to hurry through, rather it should be enjoyed at a slow pace. If you’re in a hurry, take the standard Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal route.

    Arriving at the South Mills lock about ten minutes ahead of schedule, there were two other boats already waiting. One was a trawler we had met at the town docks in Elizabeth City. The lock opened promptly at 11:00, and we slowly pulled into the lock as the Lockmaster picked up a bow and stern line from each boat so we could tie to the wall. Northbound boats are raised about 8 feet, depending on water levels on the river and in the canal. The controlling depth for the canal is 6 feet, but can vary depending on rainfall, or lack of rainfall, and other environmental factors. We found the shallowest water to be 6.8 feet and the average depths to be 8 feet. There have been some years in droughts when the canal was closed and years when storms have closed the canal. The lock transit went smoothly and took about 20 minutes. As the gates opened for us to exit the lock, the Lockmaster had to drive quickly up to the drawbridge to open it for the boats. There is a free tie up at the seawall just before the drawbridge at South Mills if you want to stop for groceries or a bite to eat.

    Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center Dock

    The entire canal is a no-wake zone with a maximum speed limit of 6 miles per hour. Traveling along the canal is almost a surreal experience. The channel is very narrow with overhanging trees, and water the color of a good cup of coffee, minus the cream. There are possibilities of hitting flotsam in the canal, but keeping a sharp eye forward, staying in the center of the channel and going slowly minimizes that possibility. Staying in the center of the canal also keeps the boat away from stumps, logs and fallen trees along the banks. Be watchful of critters swimming across the canal. We found several places where trees had fallen into the canal and blocked sections out to the center. These were all easy to see and avoid. Boat wakes often increase the problem by dislodging logs and branches that would normally be secure along the banks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does an excellent job of clearing debris from the canal. They encourage boaters to report any problems to the Corps, the Lockmasters or the folks at the Welcome Center. Be sure and give exact locations with your report as they relate to the mile marker posts along the canal. They will promptly send a small boat to try and correct the problem immediately and if the job is too large, a barge is sent down the canal with equipment to handle just about anything.

    The Great Dismal Swamp Welcome Center is at about mile 28. If coming from the south, the first thing you see is a pedestrian bridge across the canal that seems to be blocking your path. This bridge was built to get folks from the highway, across the canal, to the state park on the other side. The Park Rangers are always watchful of boats approaching and almost always have the bridge open well before you arrive. If they happen to be busy and don’t see you coming, a short toot of the horn will get their attention and the bridge will quickly open. Once immediately north of the pedestrian bridge on the east side of the canal, is the Welcome Center and a free face dock long enough to tie up 4 or 5 boats, depending on size. Depths alongside the docks when we were there were 5.5 feet with a soft mud bottom. When docking, be sure and keep the space between your boat and the next as close as possible to make room for others. During the busy transient season, you will be expected to raft up with others. The dock can be busy and crowded in season. When we visited in July, we were one of two boats at the dock.

    Deep Creek Lock

    The Visitor and Welcome Center is both a rest stop for the busy highway and for the Canal. The staff at the Welcome Center has earned a reputation for being friendly and extremely helpful to boaters over the years. The Welcome Center provides 24 hour restrooms, free Wi-Fi, free loaner bikes to ride the bike trails and if boats are delayed in transit for whatever reason, they have provided transportation to South Mills for groceries if needed. There is also a water bib at the north end of the dock. The State of North Carolina has put a sign on the faucet that says “non-potable water,” but this is the same water that is piped into the restrooms and water fountains at the center. We put it in our tanks and found no problem. It is the same water provided to the residents of South Mills. There is also a lounge in the air-conditioned Welcome Center with a TV, book exchange, and a desktop computer connected to a printer if needed. Internet access is available at the lounge computer for those that don’t use one on their boat. On the park-like grounds there are many shaded areas with picnic tables and outdoor grills. The staff at the Welcome Center can often provide charcoal.

    Across the pedestrian bridge is the State Park, where you will find extensive hiking trails, bike rentals, and canoe and kayak rentals to paddle the canal. If you explore the hiking trails, be sure and use a good insecticide. During certain times of the year, the biting yellow flies can be brutal (June/July), and of course, there is the always present mosquito. Another concern for hikers is ticks, and precautions need to be taken. It’s best to wear light, long sleeve shirts, hats and long pants. Check often for the little critters while on the trails. This is a wildlife sanctuary and the state does not allow for pesticide spraying at any time. When you cross the pedestrian bridge, be sure and register with the Park Ranger before going on the trails in case you get lost or have a problem, they will know to come and look for you. The State Park has its own Welcome Center where their bikes can be rented and a fabulous exhibit on the history of the area and the canal. There is also a nice display of animals native to the swamp that have been mounted by a good taxidermist. You feel like your eye ball to eye ball with the real animals.

    Semi-floating Logs in Dismal Swamp Canal

    There is no set limit on your stay but there is no long-term docking. Once you have enjoyed all the Welcome Center has to offer, it will be time to continue on. We headed north and one stop often overlooked is the tie up and dinghy ride over to Lake Drummond. Lake Drummond is the largest lake in Virginia and has a major affect on the water levels in the Dismal Swamp Canal. About 7 miles north of the Welcome Center there is a small dock to which you can tie your large boat. To the west is Drummond Feeder Ditch Canal that will take you to a spot where you will find a small trolley to put your dinghy on and haul it a short distance overland to Lake Drummond. The lake is large and flat and the shoreline all looks the same. It is best to take a handheld GPS with you to find you way back to your starting point when your day of exploration is over. It might also be helpful to tie a bright ribbon to a high tree branch near where you enter the lake. If the wind is up, the lake can be uncomfortable, so be aware of the weather. It can be very calm in the canal and very windy on the lake. Continuing northbound, you will come to the drawbridge at the Deep Creek Lock. You will need to call the Lockmaster and wait for him to drive down from the lock. If he is locking boats southbound, you will have to wait a bit longer. (There is also a seawall there on the east side before the bridge to which you can tie directly across from a grocery store.) Once the bridge is open and then closed again, he will then have to drive back to the Lock and open the gates for you to enter. There is a free dock on the west side between the drawbridge and the lock called Elizabeth’s Dock. It has about 8 feet of water alongside and is about a half-mile walk to the town of Deep Creek. In Deep Creek you will find groceries, marine and auto parts, a hardware store and a few restaurants. If you’re proceeding into the lock, have large fenders out for the lock walls and long lines at the bow and stern to pass up to the Lockmaster.

    Robert Peek - Deep Creek Lockmaster

    Robert Peek is the Lockmaster and he will keep you thoroughly entertained through the entire locking process. Robert can tell you anything you want to know about the history of the canal and the current conditions. If you don’t ask, he’s going to tell you anyway. Don’t be surprised to have Robert offer a fresh cup of coffee to anyone on board. If you have been to the Bahamas, Robert is always looking for replacement conch shells for his conch blowing lessons. You will get a lesson and demonstration whether you want it or not, and why wouldn’t you want it? We found Robert to be a pleasant surprise and he makes transiting a lock a truly enjoyable experience. The locking process can take 20 to 30 minutes, but sometimes Robert gets really involved, so be prepared to take a little longer. It will be worth it. The Deep Creek Lock dropped us down 8 feet, and as the gates opened for us to exit, we got a big, “see you next time” from Robert.

    The Dismal Swamp route connects to the AICW route just south of Norfolk. If you turn left at the intersection, you can proceed to the Norfolk/Portsmouth area. But for us, we weren’t quite finished with locks for the day. We had plans to visit with friends in the Great Bridge area, so we turned right instead. We needed to transit the Steel Bridge lock, which only opens on the hour, so we topped off our fuel at Top Rack Marina. They usually have the best diesel prices on the Waterway. Once topped off with fuel and through Steel Bridge, we proceeded through the Great Bridge Lock to the free tie up on the wall between the lock and the bridge. But that’s a story for another time.

    Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
    Trawler Beach House
    Beach House Publications

    Click Graphic Below For Dismal Swamp Photo Album, Courtesy of Captains Susan Landry and Chuck Baier

    Thanks to Chuck, Susan and Claiborne for the great stories and photos about a trip through the Dismal. We enjoyed having Chuck and Susan spend a couple of days in our neck of the woods! A quick note on the lockings…..there may be a slight delay if boats are coming from both directions, because boats coming into the canal are typically locked “up” first. But, the ACOE’s locking schedule is 8:30, 11am and 1:30, 3:30pm, no matter which direction you come from. So please be there at the appointed hour so you won’t miss your locking. We love to see your boats on our waterway!
    Donna Stewart
    Director
    Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

  • Elizabeth City, NC – Harbor of Hospitality, Captains Chuck and Susan Report (Statute Mile 50.5)

    Elizabeth City, NC, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, is indeed one of the most cruiser friendly ports of call anywhere in the Southeastern USA. Many mariners stop here while transiting the AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Route, which are the next waters to which our aces reporters, Susan and Chuck will turn their attention. However, it’s well worth the time of year round Tar Heel cruisers to simply cruise up Pasquotank River from Albemarle Sound, or captains in the Norfolk, VA region, to cruise the Dismal Swamp Route south, for the express purpose of visiting Elizabeth City. It’s really that special a destination!
    Susan and Chuck do a wonderful job laying out many of EC’s attractions and services below. I might just add that one of the nearby marinas that they speak about, Lambs Marina, is currently the only place you can purchase fuel on the entire Dismal Swamp route. That’s worth remembering if you need to fill those hungry tanks.
    We are once again greatly indebted to Captains Susan Landry and Chuck Baier, owners of Beach House Publications, publishers of “The Great Book of Anchorages,” (http://www.tgboa.com) for providing the superb, in-depth article and copious photographs, contained in the article below. THANKS CHUCK AND SUSAN! Please read on!

    Elizabeth City, North Carolina
    by
    Captains Chuck Baier and Susan Landry

    Any cruiser that has transited the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway more than once has at least heard of the hospitality offered to mariners in this sleepy North Carolina town perched on the Pasquotank River. Most boaters are also familiar with the tradition of the Rose Buddies, [and while there have been some changes, the Rose Buddie "receptions" are still taking place when enough boats are docked at Mariner's Wharf on any given night - Editor insertion]. A short detour off the traditional waterway on the Albemarle Sound will bring you to this friendly harbor, and you will still be met at the town docks by a fellow named Gus that has made himself the unofficial greeter and historian at Mariner’s Wharf. Gus will help you tie up in one of the 14 slips at Mariners Park, give you the latest on the town and direct you to wherever you might need to go. It seems that many boaters don’t know that the 14 slips at the park are not the only free facilities offered by the town.

    Approaching Elizabeth City

    Just off to port from the slips at Mariner’s Wharf is a long bulkhead at Waterfront Park. The bulkhead is available for tie up also, but neither has power or water. At Mariners Wharf, there is a faucet hook up for a hose under a blue cover just behind the water fountain. There is another bulkhead just on the other side of the bridge, northbound, with a sign that says “Dock and Dine” where boaters can tie if everything else is full. At the Mariner’s Wharf slips, the town provides free Wifi; we aren’t sure if it is attainable at the other docks. There are no restroom facilities other than a Port-A-Potty at Mariner’s Wharf, but there is some good news for the future. The town plans to put restrooms and a laundry for boaters in an existing building just off the slips. It should be completed by next season.

    The grocery store and coin laundry is about a mile and a half from the town docks. A taxi or a bike is the best way to resupply or do laundry. The Post Office is about a half mile away. In the downtown area you will find small shops, boutiques, a book store and restaurants. The Cypress Creek Cafe is across the street from the docks and is a local favorite. A short walk of a few blocks and you will find Quality Seafood, a restaurant and market. Have a great seafood lunch and buy some fresh fish to take back to the boat. After lunch, stop in the Museum of the Albemarle and experience the history and culture of the Albemarle region either by self or full guided tours. If you happen to be lucky enough, as we were, to be at the docks on a Saturday, you can enjoy the fresh produce, vegetables, baked goods and homemade wares of the open air market from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. This is not your average Farmers Market.

    "The Sign Says It All"

    Elizabeth City holds several Festivals and Events each year. July is full of activities beginning with Mariner’s Wharf Film Festival, a Fourth of July Celebration, Music and Arts Festivals, First Friday, and many more, just in July. During other months try the Coast Guard Harbor Nights Concert, First Friday Artwalk, Music on the Green with Classic Country Bands, and even a tractor pull. There is so much more to Elizabeth City than free dockage. You will meet some of the most friendly people found anywhere along the waterfront. If you are a dog person, this is a very popular place for the local dog-walkers. The dogs are as friendly as their owners. So often someone would stop by the boat and strike up a conversation. We felt like we had lived here for a long time and everyone did their utmost to make us feel welcome.

    There is a downside, and that is the weather, if it happens to be blowing strongly from the south or southeast. Heavy winds can create a strong surge, and waves coming up the river cannot only make the water levels rise, but make the docks uncomfortable to downright dangerous under severe conditions. This also doesn’t appear to be a no-wake zone and boats speeding up and down the river do create a lot of wakes on occasion. A nearby boat ramps adds to the problem. Under strong conditions from the south, the bulkhead on the other side of the bridge or anchoring beyond the bridge would be preferable. There is a boatyard in town with haul-out facilities, but service is very basic. There are no real services for boaters in the area, so major repairs will need to be done elsewhere. The boatyard does have a surveyor onsite.

    Elizabeth City Waterside Farmer's Market (every Saturday in season)

    If you might be looking for a marina, there are two in the area. Pelican Marina has dockage with a pump out and a restaurant onsite. It is across the harbor from town. Just a little farther north on the river is Lambs Marina, in a very protected basin. The channel to Lambs has been recently dredged to make access easy. It is some distance from town. There is plenty of space to anchor, but keep in mind that the harbor itself is deep. Dinghy access is available at any space along the town bulkheads or at the boat ramp near Waterfront Park, next to the small highway bridge.

    The Visitor Center offers free loaner bikes to boaters for those long trips for groceries or laundry. The Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The gym at the adjacent Fitness Warehouse offers showers to boaters for a fee of $5.00, if a long hot soak is needed. Gus has a small pick-up truck that is a two-seater, but he will often offer lifts to the store if you might need lots of supplies. Don’t be tempted to tie up for the night and move on. Stay awhile and enjoy true southern hospitality and a town that prides itself in welcoming boaters and cruisers. You won’t see 24-hour limit signs on the pilings. Elizabeth City wants you to come, visit and enjoy. We sure did and we can’t wait to go back. From Elizabeth City, we headed north to explore the Dismal Swamp and all it has to offer.

    Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
    Trawler Beach House
    Beach House Publications

    Click Graphic Below to Check out ALL of Chuck and Susan’s Excellent Elizabeth City Photos:

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Mariner’s Wharf Elizabeth City Docks

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Pelican Marina

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Lambs Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Elizabeth City, NC

  • Elizabeth City Hospitality Shines (AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route, Statute Mile 50.5)

    It is not without reason that SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Elizabeth City, NC, is known from Maine to Key West, as one of the friendliest ports of call anywhere. Just take a gander at the experiences related below by Captains Karen and Dennis Baldger.

    Our third issue happened when we think we hit a crap pot just 15 minutes from the Welcome Wharf of Elizabeth City, NC with free dockage for 48 hours. This is just before the dismal swamp heading to Virginia.
    We limped in to the only working marina, The Elizabeth City Shipyard. We are going on two weeks of being pulled out and had to rent a car to bring the transmission three hours away to Baufort, NC. Now waiting on a seal that is coming from Germany to repair the transmission where we have to go back and get then have the mechanic here reassemble and the shaft that was also bent. Yes the new shaft we just had previously replaced has to be straightened…..
    The only good thing is the friendly hospitality of the people here in Elizabeth City. The people at the Marina, Lloyd & Heather have been great. The Welcome Center with Susan and Charlotte went above and beyond. They helped with the rental car and rides and finding us the fine people Maureen and Ray Donnelly who own and run the Elizabeth City B&B who worked with us on everything. We can walk from the B&B to the marina or use our bikes.
    Karen & Dennis Baldger
    360 Sundancer
    “Shell Seakers”

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For The Mariners’ Wharf City Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The Mariners’ Wharf City Docks

  • AICW Alternate Route/Dismal Swamp Canal Discussion, 6/18/13

    Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate RouteClick to learn more about our Carolina Loop programBelow, you will see a recent discussion about navigating the AICW Alternate Dismal Swamp Canal Route, as of June, 2013, which appeared on another nautical mailing list. There’s some really GOOD cruising advice here, particularly concerning the free dock near the Deep Creek Lock.
    As always, those who run the Dismal should plan on taking it slow, to avoid stirring up any underwater debris. If you are in a hurry, this is not the route for you, but, if you have the time, the Dismal Swamp Canal route is a fascinating ecological experience. And, the warm reception for cruisers at the free Elizabeth City, Mariner’s Wharf (City) Docks is a HUGE bonus!

    We are heading southbound..yep, the wrong way. Never been through the Dismal Swamp. It appears to be 43 miles from Top Rack marina to Elizabeth City via the Dismal Swamp Route.
    Has anyone ever done this in one day..all the way through?
    R.

    Yes, but the way to make it easy on you coming south is to go thru the Deep Creek Lock last locking of the day and stop at the free dock(sometimes called Elizabeth’s or Robert’s Dock) just south of the lock chamber but before the bridge. Then pass thru the bridge at the first locking the next day to get to Elizabeth City thru before last locking at the south lock.
    The canal has a speed limit and 5.4 knts perfect for lock timing) (wakes can severely damage the wooden canal banks.and is narrow enough you don’t want to do a lot of passing.
    The free dock up by Deep Creek Lock has deep water and easy walks to the strip mall restaurants, CVS, Winn Dixie Supermarket, Advance Auto, etc. on the other side of the canal. All these resources make it a great waiting place beating out the crowded Visitors Center or even Elizabeth City. This along side dock is super protected, has deep water 8′, no power but has water and trash barrels and a par course.
    We much prefer the gentile laid back Dismal to the faster but busier Virginia Cut with all it’s delivery Captain Yacht traffic, commercial traffic and restricted Bridges that must be timed correctly..
    Joe

    Good points all around.
    In a full displacement deep draft boat like we had, we had to go slower than the speed limit on the southern end of the swamp. You know you’re going too fast when you pull all the water away from the shore and suck up logs off the bottom.
    Bob

    Yes, [you] can make the entire distance in one day. Just be at the first lock when they open and average around 6 mph. You can catch the last opening of the lock on the way out. You can go a bit faster in the first half of your trip going south because the water is deeper. The second half, you’ll need to go a tad slower because you’ll suck debris (dead logs and crap) off the bottom. Anyone following you should be aware.
    We did it in one day going north. Got to the last lock with about thirty minutes to spare. They opened the bridge so we could stay on the long dock that evening.
    Bob

    It would be a shame to rush through the Dismal Swamp Canal without taking time to visit Lake Drummond in your dinghy. Look up Lake Drummond on Wikipedia and then ask the lockmaster at Deep Creek to tell you about the little dock you can hang on right by the feeder ditch that leads up to the lake. After your trip to the lake you can run down to the Visitors Center and tie up for the night. Well worth it!
    Tom

    Yes, it’s an easy day.
    You can stay at Top Rack, or the free dock, at the Deep Creek Canal or anchor overnight in the channel above Deep Creek Lock, or go through and stay at Elizabeth’s Dock or go through the bridge and stay at the Mexican Restaurant dock at Deep Creek. Lots of options. In any case, it’s 22 miles from Deep Creek to South Mills. If you go through at 08h30, you’ll travel at 5 StM/hr or less to make the opening at 13h30 on the other end. That puts you into Elizaabeth City before the afternoon bridge restrictions, and probably early enuf to get a slip at this time of year.
    Jim

    First I would like to say, take your time in the Dismal. When going South I go through the first lock during the last lock of the day and when you pass under the open bridge, to your port side will be a concrete wall. Tie up there for the night. You can walk to the grocery store to provision and there is an automotive store, if you need anything of the sort. Then you can leave at daybreak, BEFORE anyone else! Your chances of seeing much more wildlife is spectacular. There is an option to spend the night on a small dock across from the feeder ditch. You can take your dink to the lake, over a rail system ( kind of like big shoot for a dink) and explore. Take a GPS, everything looks the same out on the lake. This will get you into the visitor center early and give you time to explore the area. Be sure to sign the boaters log at the visitors center and pick up your free gifts. Also free water here. Next morning follow the boats into E city. If there is five or more new boats arriving they will have roses for the lady’s and complimentary wine/beer and cheese. E City is a MUST stop….and it is free!
    Whatever you choose, getting through the first lock in the evening for an early start will get you to E City the same day. It’s the journey, not the destination.
    Bill
    Knot Tide Down

    The tram at Lake Drum is out of service. Just passed it today. Unfortunately, had to push through to last bridge and bridge tender could/would not open. Currently tied to South Mills Bridge. Scary trying to get dog off onto walking bridge. All part of the journey!
    Betsy Frye

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A Portion of the Dismal Swamp Canal, Hard By the VA – NC State Line

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Elizabeth City’s Mariner’s Wharf Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Elizabeth City’s Mariner’s Wharf Docks

  • Blimp Factory on Pasquotank River (near Statute Mile 59)

    Below is a posting copied from the AGLCA forum about one of the really striking sights to be seen from the AICW/Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route’s passage down the Pasquotank River, south of Elizabeth City, NC.
    Southeast of marker #5, you will catch sight of a huge rooftop sitting back from the shore; its location is noted on chart 12206. This immense structure was built during World War II for the manufacture of dirigibles. In times past, cruisers could actually catch sight of two mammoth buildings at this location. The larger of the two—one of the biggest wooden structures in the world—burned in spectacular fashion during 1995; at that time, it still served as a blimp factory, while the smaller of the two structures was leased to a furniture company. Now, the blimp plant has been moved to the surviving building, and dirigibles are once again being constructed in Elizabeth City. If you’re lucky, you may spot one of the mammoth balloons being tested as you pass.
    Below, we hear from a former employee of the Blimp factory, in a reply to a question which originally appeared on the AGLCA forum.

    It is 1 of 8 blimp hangars still remaining in the US. I worked in the hangar in the early 70′s where we built wood kitchen caninets.
    Westinghouse owned that hangar and a huge, all wood hangar that housed TCOM who built blimps for overseas telecommunications. The wood hangar burned to the ground in 1995.
    John & Cyndi Esch

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Blimp Factory on Pasquotank River

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