Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date.
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date.
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
April will be another exciting month in Elizabeth City and another reason to visit the friendliest-to-boaters community on the Waterway and A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! These fine folks have a full calendar of events to help you welcome in Spring! Elizabeth City and Mariner’s Wharf are located at the southern end of the Dismal Swamp Canal.
Here is another event to make March a great time to visit the friendliest-to-boaters community on the Waterway and A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR , Elizabeth City. These fine folks have a full calendar of events to help you welcome in Spring! Elizabeth City and Mariner’s Wharf are located at the southern end of the Dismal Swamp Canal.
Celebrate ARTiGras at AOA!
New Orleans has Mardi Gras, but Elizabeth City can now claim ARTiGras! To mark the sixth anniversary of The Center, Arts of the Albemarle (AoA) has planned a Mardi Gras-inspired celebration, March 14 at 7 p.m. A champagne reception in the gallery kicks off the night, with live jazz by Wayne James and Friends. Then guests will dine on N’awlins’-style heavy hors d’oeuvres by Montero’s, enjoy a special guest performance by The Center Players and dance to the sounds of Society’s Best. A silent auction will also be offered, including beach weekends and a mountain getaway. The hub of all things art in Elizabeth City, AoA renovated and relocated to the historic Lowry-Chesson building in 2011. Naming it The Center was an excellent idea. Since it re-opened, the Main Street venue has been the hub for countless exhibitions, concerts, theatrical performances, classes, workshops and First Friday ArtWalk receptions. Time flies when you’re having fun! For ARTiGras details, check out www.artsaoa.com.
Elizabeth City is the “Harbor of Hospitality®,” located in Northeastern North Carolina on the Intracoastal Waterway, halfway between Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks. Situated on the Pasquotank River, the city has six National Register Historic Districts and is home to the Museum of the Albemarle, The Center at Arts of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City State University Planetarium, Port Discover Hands-on Science Center and one of the largest U.S. Coast Guard air stations in the Continental United States. Nature-based travelers are drawn to the area’s proximity to Dismal Swamp and the abundance of outdoor recreational offerings. 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.
Here is a not-so-typical story of the dangers faced by our Coast Guard as they answer the needs of boaters in distress. Elizabeth City and Mariner’s Wharf are located at the southern end of the Dismal Swamp Canal.
Coast Guard crews battle snow, ice to transport injured boater
The Daily Advance
Friday, February 20, 2015
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Coast Guard crews from Air Station Elizabeth City transported an injured crewman today from a motor vessel about 170 miles east of Oregon Inlet.
The Coast Guard 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth, Va., received a report from the 1,052-foot, German-flagged freight ship Dalian Express Thursday at about 4 p.m., stating a 62-year-old male crewmember suffered an eye injury while changing a valve in the engine room about 350 miles east of Oregon Inlet.
To enable a medevac, the crew of Dalian Express, en route to Italy from Norfolk, changed course toward North Carolina to meet with a Coast Guard helicopter crew.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and C-130 Hercules aircraft crew launched Friday from Air Station Elizabeth City, at about 5:45 a.m. The crews flew through intermittent snow and icing conditions before arriving at the Dalian Express at about 6:45 a.m.
The helicopter crew hoisted the injured man and transported him to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, arriving at about 9 a.m.
The man, whose name was not released, was reported to be in stable condition.
March will be a great time to visit the friendliest-to-boaters community on the Waterway and A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR , Elizabeth City. These fine folks have a full calendar of events to help you welcome in Spring! Elizabeth City and Mariner’s Wharf are located at the southern end of the Dismal Swamp Canal.
Elizabeth City, North Carolina www.DiscoverElizabethCity.com
March “Things to See & Do in Elizabeth City View from the Harbor
Winter is a great time to visit the friendliest-to-boaters community on the Waterway and A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR , Elizabeth City. These fine folks have a full calendar of events to keep your spirits warm in the chill of winter!
For the full schedule of community events, in addition to those listed below, go to www.discoverelizabethcity.com
Enjoy a Rejuvenating Winter Break in Elizabeth City
Chilly temps shouldn’t keep you from experiencing new travels. The winter months are a good time to visit Elizabeth City. Rejuvenate body and soul with a stay in one of our cozy lodgings, coupled with any-or all-of these fun excursions:
Step back in time at the Museum of the Albemarle. A branch of the N.C. Museum of History, the museum is packed with more than 750 artifacts, beautifully interpreted and displayed in the Our Story exhibit. Look for: the canon recovered from the ship purported to be Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge; a miniature replica of the James Adams Floating Theatre, the inspiration for author Edna Ferber’s popular novel, “Show Boat”; a horse-drawn “steam pumper” fire engine; and a 1954 Moth Boat that originated in Elizabeth City.
Take a winter walk at the Dismal Swamp State Park [The Welcome Center is also A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS' NET SPONSOR!]. There are nearly 17 miles of trails in this park that fronts the historic Dismal Swamp Canal. The season’s bare branches make it an excellent site for spotting both birds and views. When you’re ready to warm up, head to the park visitor’s center, where you can tour exhibits that interpret the history and biological make up of the famous swamp.
Hit the shops! Elizabeth City boasts charming clothing boutiques, home décor shops, art galleries and a fabulous locally-owned bookstore, among other finds. The friendly person behind the counter is probably the owner, so say hello-and tell ‘em The Wayfarer sent you!
Get in touch with your inner artist at The Center at Arts of the Albemarle. Housed in the historic 1897 Lowry-Chesson building, The Center is just what the name implies-the hub of all things art in Elizabeth City. See who’s exhibiting in the changing Jaquelin Jenkins gallery, featuring work by well-known regional artists. Then check the schedule to see what’s on tap in the second-floor Maguire Theatre, home to EC’s resident Encore Theatre Company and The Center Players. Be sure to check the lobby display cases where you can purchase an original piece of art.
Linger over lunch or dinner at one of our independently-owned restaurants. From fresh-shucked oysters to an expertly-prepared steak, there’s an entrée for every taste. Ask about local music too. Many eateries host local musicians for a fun night out!
Plan now to join us for a winter weekend. Chart your course and make your reservations online at www.DiscoverElizabethCity.com.
This notice was sent by Susan Hinkle via Mike Ahart of Waterway Guide. If you have any information as to the where abouts of this boater, please contact SSECN or Waterway Guide.
A Canoeist who was stopped in Elizabeth City NC on Nov 13-16, I believe he left on the 16th heading south, he is missing, his canoe was found overturned in Big Flatty Creek which feeds into the Albemarle Sound, in Pasquotank County. I was wondering if you could reach out to the boaters who get your email who may have been docked here over those dates, as I know he went over to speak to them after leaving my store on Saturday evening the 15th.
Thanks so much – I hope he met new friends -
Susan Hinkle, Owner, Page After Page Bookstore
The “debate” over which route is better has been going on for a very long time. The Dismal Swamp Canal route is almost one of those “either you love or you hate it” as shown in this article from November of 2013: http://cruisersnet.net/?p=128524. Unless you are in a big hurry, SSECN has always preferred the slow, easy pace of the Canal over the Virginia Cut. 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. Traveling south, the Dismal Swamp Canal route exits the Waterway westward immediately south of the I-64 fixed bridge at statute mile 7.1.
Well it’s that time of year again and we figure a lot of SSECN readers are thinking, “Virginia Cut or Dismal Swamp?”
Diana and I are BIG fans of the Dismal Swamp route and for those readers interested here’s a link to a PassageMaker Magazine article we wrote to back it up!
And the Captains Doyle have sent us the excellent, complete section on the Dismal Swamp from their ICW CruiseGuide:
Stay in the deep water,
Captains Mark & Diana Doyle
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
PLEASE, 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!!!
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.
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.
“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.
AMEN! Kudos to Elizabeth City!
Another 2 day dock courtesy city in North Carolia is Edenton. Another beautiful stop.
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
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”
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.
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
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, 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!
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.
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.
The winter schedule at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center starting Dec. 1st is as follows:
Monday – Saturday 9am- 5pm
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
Our 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
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.
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
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
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.