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    A Holiday Gift From Cruisers Net

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    • December Programs at Dismal Swamp State Park, 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

      The Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center Docks and information are provided at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, A CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR and a NC DOT Rest Area facility, located adjacent to the Dismal Swamp State Park, offering trails, exhibits and ongoing programs in Camden County, NC.

       

      Good afternoon!
       
      Here are the programs we have coming up for December at Dismal Swamp State Park. Denizens of the Dismal will be held twice, and the holiday craft is a drop-in self-guided activity that will be set up throughout the entire week of 20-26 December. And finally…it’s already less than a month to go until our annual First Day Hike!
       
      Denizens of the Dismal
      Sat, 12/15/2018 – 11:00am
      Sat, 12/29/2018 – 11:00am
      Join the ranger for a short indoor talk about the many fascinating animals that call the Swamp home. See mounts and skulls. There will be furs you can touch.
      Location: Auditorium
       
      Drop-in Holiday Craft
      Thu, 12/20/2018 – 8:30am-4:00pm to Wed, 12/26/2018 – 8:30 am-4:00pm
      Make a unique and nature-themed table centerpiece or tree ornament to take home with you. We’ll supply the materials, and you supply the creativity!
      Come in anytime during the days and hours listed to build your art.
      Location: Visitor Center Lobby
       
       
      **2019 First Day Hike of Champions!**
      Tue, 01/01/2019 – 11:00am
      Start the new year off on the right foot by joining the ranger for a hike! You’ll meet one of the park’s champion trees. Enjoy some snacks and hot chocolate afterwards.
      Location: meet at Visitor Center

       

      See you in the park!

      Katie Sanford

      Park Ranger, Dismal Swamp State Park

      NC Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources

      252 771 6593

      katie.sanford@ncparks.gov

       

      2294 US 17 N  |  South Mills, North Carolina 27976

      1497278830415_PastedImage

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

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

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    • December Calendar, Elizabeth City, NC, Dismal Swamp Canal Route


      Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

      Elizabeth City, A CRUISERS NET SPONSOR and the friendliest-to-boaters community on the Waterway, is located on the Pasquotank River off the northeast corner of Albemarle Sound and at the southern end of the Dismal Swamp Canal Route. With the canal fully open to navigation, this wonderful community continues its calendar of exciting events, making a stop at Mariners Wharf in the heart of Elizabeth City a must!

       

      CLICK HERE FOR “Things to See & Do in Elizabeth City during December”

       

      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

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    • Boats and More Boats, State Park Welcome Center Dock, Dismal Swamp Canal 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

      Looks like a record number of boats rafted up at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center Docks. Area information is provided at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, A CRUISERS NET SPONSOR and a NC DOT Rest Area facility, located adjacent to the Dismal Swamp State Park, offering trails, exhibits and ongoing programs in Camden County, NC. See November Programs at Dismal Swamp State Park, AICW Alternate Route.

       

      We are not back to normal numbers, but after being closed for so long, it has been so nice to host boaters again in the Dismal Swamp Canal. This photo was taken by Jeff Byrd for Camden TDA at the end of October. We are enjoying meeting traffic by waterway again and we have talked to a lot of great people! Sigh!

      Donna Stewart, Director
      Dismal Swamp Welcome Center
      2356 US Hwy 17N
      South Mills, NC 27976
      Phone – 252-771-8333
      www.DismalSwampWelcomeCenter.com

      Bird, Bike, Hike…..take in the sights!

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

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

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    • Deadhead, Pasquatank River, AICW Alternate Route Mile 62


      This deadhead is off Bluff Point on the southwest side of the Waterway’s Dismal Swamp route through the Pasquatank River south of Elizabeth City, NC. As posted by John and Donna Bedell on Bob423.

      Socially Sea Cured just passed a dead head right off of green marker number 3 off Bluff Point heading from Elizabeth City towards the Albemarle. it was sticking maybe a foot out of the water but when it was directly in line with the sun it was almost impossible to see it.
      John and Donna Bedell

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    • Caution: Narrow Channel in Dismal Swamp Canal, AICW Alternate Route


      A big thank you to Jim Healy for this warning is from today’s Healy Report as Sanctuary makes way south.

      AT THE FEEDER DITCH AND AGAIN IMMEDIATELY SOUTH OF THE SOUTH MILLS LOCK, THERE ARE POSTS PAINTED RED AND GREEN THAT MARK A NARROWED CHANNEL. HONOR THOSE POSTS.
      Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
      Monk 36 Hull #132
      MMSI #367042570
      AGLCA #3767
      MTOA #3436

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window Zoomed To the Location of South Mills Lock

      Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For South Mills Lock

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    • Healy Report: Dismal Swamp Canal to Belhaven, NC

      Belhaven

      Experienced cruisers, Jim and Peg Healy, continue to generously share their observations and advice as they make their way south for the winter. Thank you Jim and Peg! Belhaven, A CRUISERS NET SPONSOR, sits on the northern shore of Pantego Creek which meets the western shoulder of the Waterway at Mile 135 south of the Alligator River – Pungo River Canal.

      Today is Thursday 19/18, 05h15 hrs…

      Sanctuary and crew transited the Dismal Swamp Canal from Chesapeake, VA to Elizabeth City, NC on Tuesday, 10/16. There is about a mile of duckweed in the canal south of the Deep Creek lock. South of the South Mills lock, there are several miles of duckweed across the canal. Our engine cooling water intake is about 30″ below the waterline, and we had no issues with the sea strainer.. AT THE FEEDER DITCH AND AGAIN IMMEDIATELY SOUTH OF THE SOUTH MILLS LOCK, THERE ARE POSTS PAINTED RED AND GREEN THAT MARK A NARROWED CHANNEL. HONOR THOSE POSTS. The canal carried at least 7′ of water, and we had zero bangs and bumps. We traveled with four other boats, and they made me the lead dog. The trick to avoid bangs and bump is to SPREAD OUT. Follow the boat in front of you by 1/2 to 3/2 mile, so if prop wash does bring something off the bottom, it has tome to settle back down before you get to it.

      We traveled from Elizabeth City to Belhaven on Wednesday, 10/17. BE ADVISED that in the Alligator-Pungo Canal at approximately MM116-117, there is a LARGE DEADHEAD in almost the visual center of the canal. It is easy to spot, as it sticks up at least a foot above the water line. It appears to be the remains of a piling.

      We’re staying on the Belhaven City Docks. They take reservations, but many treat this as first come first served. It is full tonight, but we did get our reserved space.
      There is ample 30A power available all along the dock, and self-serve pumpout. This is an excellent option at $1.00/ft and $5.00 for electric.

      Goal for today is Morehead City.

      Jim

      Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, FL
      Monk 36 Hull #132
      MMSI #367042570
      AGLCA #3767
      MTOA #3436

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    • Dismal Swamp Canal and Locks are Open, 10/12

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

      Despite the passage of Hurricane Michael through the area, the canal and locks are open, according to our good friend, Matt the Bridge Tender in Chesapeake City. The Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center Docks and information are provided at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, A CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR and a NC DOT Rest Area facility, located adjacent to the Dismal Swamp State Park, offering trails, exhibits and ongoing programs in Camden County, NC.

      I just checked with Deep Creek Locks (Friday 10/12 at 8:55 AM) and they said the Dismal Swamp Canal route is open. They recommend a draft of no more than 6 feet.
      Matt the Bridge Tender

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

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

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    • Good News: Dismal Swamp Canal Has Re-Opened, 9/17/2018


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

      The Canal has reopened, but you should read the Advisory below carefully for notes on depth and width of the channel. Obviously, a sharp watch for debris is required. The Welcome Center Docks and information are provided at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, an NC DOT Rest Area facility and A CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, located adjacent to the Dismal Swamp State Park, offering trails, exhibits and ongoing programs in Camden County, NC.

      9/18
      Verified with the Lock master at Deep Creek this morning (18 Sept) that the Dismal Swamp Canal route is OPEN.
      The Centerville & North Landing Bridges remain closed due to high water. See https://cruisersnet.net/174573.
      V/R,
      Matt the Bridge Tender

      9/17 We have received word the Dismal Swamp Canal has reopened for navigational traffic. Please note the attached advisory. Our thoughts go out to our Coastal Partners who did not fare as well as our local area during Hurricane Florence.
      Donna Stewart, Director
      Dismal Swamp Welcome Center
      2356 US Hwy 17N
      South Mills, NC 27976
      Phone – 252-771-8333
      www.DismalSwampWelcomeCenter.com

      Restricted Opening DSC-Sept 2018-signed

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

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

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    • LNM: Pasquatank River Light Relocated, Dismal Swamp Route Statute Mile 62


      This ICW light is off Bluff Point on the southwest side of the Waterway’s Dismal Swamp route through the Pasquatank River south of Elizabeth City, NC.


      1. THE FOLLOWING AID TO NAVIGATION HAS BEEN CHANGED AND RELOCATED.
      A. PASQUATANK RIVER LIGHT 3 (LLNR 31405) RELOCATED TO APPROX POSIT 36-12-10.531N, 076-04-03.902W AND CHANGED TO PASQUATANK RIVER WRECK LIGHT WR3 (LLNR 31405).

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    • Praise for the Albemarle Loop including Albemarle Plantation, Edenton and Elizabeth City

      Our marina is your boating access to Albemarle Sound, the largest freshwater sound in the country—55 miles long and 15 miles at its widest point. Placed strategically at the mouth of Yeopim Creek, the marina is just beyond the high insurance line saving boaters significantly on their insurance rates.
      Edenton, NC - the prettiest town in the South!
      Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

      Albemarle Loop

      Our thanks to AGLCA friends, Karen and Lee McClellan and Artie Ortmann, for these good words for three of our North Carolina SPONSORS: Albemarle Plantation, Edenton and Elizabeth City. See Albemarle Loop.

       

       

      Hi all,
      I so agree with Janice! We did the Albemarle Loop in May and it was incredible. Our first stop was Albemarle Plantation, everyone was so so gracious and hospitable. You have access to all the amenities club restaurants, pool, laundry, tennis etc. Next we went to Edenton, a great historical town with good restaurants and shops. We visited the local coffee shop both mornings and met some of the movers/shakers of the town (retired guys); they were fun to talk to. The next stop was Elizabeth City: the Albemarle Bay Museum, great restaurants and, of course, the memorial to the famous “Rose Buddies”. It is so worth doing the Albemarle Loop, one of the highlights of our (AGLCA) loop. I do believe that 5’ drafts can be accommodated in all the Marinas we stayed in and certainly 15.5’ beams. It is so worth the time spent and only dockage cost is electricity. We highly recommend the trip to all loopers.
      Karen and Lee McClellan
      AGLCA Forum

      2 boats one 50 and one 47 just completed the Albemarle loop and found no problems with 15+ beams and 4+ drafts great stops in Washington, edenton ( don’t miss vinyl night), Albemarle plantation and last year in Elizabeth city, ocracoce and manteo some of the best stops on the loop can’t wait to repeat some and Columbia don’t miss this side trip it is great and no problems.
      Artie Ortmann
      AGLCA Forum

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

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

      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)

      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

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    • Feeling Hungry? Check Out New Downtown Eateries, Elizabeth City, NC, AICW Alternate Route

      Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

      Elizabeth City, A CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR and the friendliest-to-boaters community on the Waterway, is located on the Pasquotank River off the northeast corner of Albemarle Sound and at the southern end of the Dismal Swamp Canal Route. With the canal fully open to navigation, this wonderful community continues its calendar of exciting events, making a stop at Mariners Wharf in the heart of Elizabeth City a must!

      Discover These Delightful Ways to Savor Locally Prepared International Cuisine

       

      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

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    • Deep Creek Cove Now Posted as NO TRESPASSING, Northern Entrance to Dismal Swamp Canal


      Our thanks to William Spaur for bringing this to our attention. Deep Creek Basin is on the south shore of the Dismal Swamp Route east of Deep Creek Lock.

      The COVE on Deep Creek, the Deep Creek Basin, is now being developed by RYAN HOMES and has been named BRYAN’S COVE. The land and the water are now NO TRESPASSING.

      Deep Creek Cove is near the junction of the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and Deep Creek waterway, Chesapeake VA. It has always been a favorite anchorage for boats transiting the Dismal Swamp Canal. It is a borrow pit vintage 1962 to develop Interstate 64. It is the size of a city block and connected to Deep Creek by a narrow channel.
      William Spaur

      Comments from Cruisers (3)

      1. Wally Moran -  September 8, 2018 - 2:53 pm

        I thought I truly hated lawyers until it became a photo… Then I realized I hate a developers far more.
        I would be very surprised to find out that this is a legal restriction.

        Reply to Wally
      2. Chuck Stires -  July 27, 2018 - 8:02 am

        I believe all navigable water in NC is public…not restrictions. Is Deep Creek Basin in VA or NC?
        Chuck

        Editor’s note: Deep Creek Basin is in Virginia

        Reply to Chuck
      3. Wallace Gouk -  July 13, 2018 - 12:47 pm

        Is this legitimate or just another case of a landowner overstepping his bounds ?

        Reply to Wallace
    • Comments and Descriptions of Great Dismal Swamp Canal, AICW Alternate Route, NC


      Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate Route
      Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

      Our thanks to AGLCA members for this nice thread regarding their recent experiences navigating the Great Dismal Swamp Canal and visiting Elizabeth City, both CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS! The Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center Docks and information are provided at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, a NC DOT Rest Area facility, located adjacent to the Dismal Swamp State Park, offering trails, exhibits and ongoing programs in Camden County, NC. Elizabeth City and Mariners Wharf is located on the Pasquotank River off the northeast corner of Albemarle Sound and at the southern end of the Dismal Swamp Canal Route.

      We came thru Dismal 10 days ago…water was less beautiful as lots of pollen on water then. Also additional risk to prop hitting submerged snags, but you are seeing history on rivers & canal trip. You also get to soend a couple minutes with Bob at the North Lock! BOB is a HERO to boaters. At North end of locks if you are there early you can tie up to landing before draw bridge before lock and do a quick shop in the Supermarket a block east or run over to Pizza + for an exceptional lunch.
      Ed Kelly

      The dismal swamp is used by slow boats with no schedule. The is a six Stm per Hour speed limit, and the dockmaster will enforce that. It is shallow, but a 6′ draft boat without exposed running gear can easily do it without issues. I recommend that boats not follow another boat at less than 1/2 to 3/4 mile. That way, if the first boat does pick up debris off the bottom, that debris will have time too settle back down before the following boat arrives.
      We came through the Dismal Swamp a month ago. It’s our preferred route for the reasons cited by Ben and Brenda. We had no issues.

      There are locks at Deep Creek (the lockmaster at Deep Creek is ROBERT Peek, not Bob.) and South Mills. The locks operate four times per day, at 08h30, 11h00, 13h30 and 15h30. The distance between the locks is 22 miles. There is no good place to hold station at either end, so the strategy is to travel at 5 StM per Hour to avoid getting there early. There are no wakes. The Dismal Swamp canal is narrow, and in general, passing is probably inappropriate. Fast boats do not use the Dismal Swamp.
      The Albemarle and Chesapeake route is used by go-fast boat with no courtesy for slower vessels. Two of the drawbridges have been replaced, but there are still several bridges that operate on 1/2 hour or 1 hour schedules. The is one lock, at Great Beidge. It operates on an hourly schedule. You will get waked by go fast boats. Secure for that stretch as if you are going offshore in nasty weather conditions.
      Hope this is useful,
      Jim Healy

      Hands down, Dismal Swamp Canal. Only recrational boats, and not many, in Our experience. Beautiful, serene, lots of birds, turtles, deer. Don’t miss it! The Virginia Cut (which includes Coinjock) is fine, but lots of commercial traffic and sports fisherman.
      Gena Olson

      To add to our original post, if you are opting for the swamp canal and plan to stay at the city’s free Mariner’s Wharf, I think it has a 48 or 72 hour limit. That in mind, the 4th of July and Independence Day festivities are approaching so you might want to scurry in. There are a couple of marinas but have never used them. We happened to be in Elizabeth City on the 4th several years ago and the fireworks were launched off a barge a 100 yards or so behind the docks towards the sound so pull bow in. There will also be festivities on the lawn adjoining to waterfront. Haven’t been there for two years and the only concern was the old crooked mooring pilings but they may have replaced them by now when the new bridge was built.
      I Stand corrected… I think the Rose Buddy welcome crew was re-birthed. The lady of the boat was welcomed with a fresh cut rose grown on sight.
      Brenda Sanderson

      Went through 3 days ago. Beautiful narrow and shallow. Bumped something 8 to 10 times. Have 3 ft draf and protected props. Stayed overnight at welcome center. Have plenty bug spray and fly swatter the green flies are terrible and hurt. We enjoyed the slow beautiful trip.
      Elwyn & Carol Segres

      We came through yesterday and today and overnighted at the visitors centre. Lowest water we saw was 6.5 ft but we smacked a couple of large logs, the worst of which was 1.5 miles north of the visitors Center. We sat on idle for most of the trip so we don’t think we stirred them up but we do draw 5ft.
      Great trip but we will go the Virginia Cut on the way south.
      Paul Lewis

      We came through in April and anchored off Goat Island because the southern lock was down for the day. Then rafted with 5 other boats at the Visitor Center and waited out a severe storm for two nights. Dodged a bit of flotsam along the way. But would not have missed this part of the journey for all the steak in the world – the trip through the swamp is simply magical.
      AND Lockmaster Bob is a skilled musician with a conch shell – if you have one on board, pass it up and ask for a tune or two.
      Breandon and Kathleen

      When traveling down the Dismal Swamp, stay to the center of the channel OR drop your VHF antenna if it has an air draft of >=22ft. We wandered to the side and tore ours off 3 years ago. Forgot about the overhead clearance of the tree branches! Otherwise, it was a very nice trip.
      Joyce Truthan


       

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

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

      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

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    • Waterway Cruise from Dismal Swamp Canal to Elizabeth City by Jan Irons


      Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate Route
      Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

      Our thanks to Jan Irons for these beautiful photos and report from the Dismal Swamp Canal. During this cruise, Jan visits two of our favorite CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, Dismal Swamp Welcome Center and Elizabeth City, NC.

      Commuter Cruiser
      “Drain The Swamp” … Geo Washington 1763

      Posted: 13 May 2018 04:00 AM PDT

      Did you know George Washington was the first “Drain the Swamp” supporter? The Great Dismal Swamp, that is … now a historic landmark. After the frenetic pace of the past 5 weeks winding our way north on the Atlantic ICW, the Dismal Swamp route felt so effortless. Just peace and quiet, serene waters and reflections.
      This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now
      Jan Irons,  Commuter Cruiser

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

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

      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

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Captain Steven Koch -  May 26, 2018 - 8:06 am

        Sorry that we have to disagree with Jan. We did the Dismal Swamp route 5/19/18 in our DF 49′ RPH trawler with 4’9″ draft. I do agree that it is pretty but we were so distracted by hitting things on the bottom that we could not enjoy it. We contacted stumps or logs at least 15 times between South MIlls and Deep Creek. These were not just bumps or taps but hard bangs. Near the end we picked up something on our prop that rotated around and keep hitting the bottom of the boat until we went into reverse and it came off. It is not our first rodeo as we have traveled 75,000 miles and been to 7 countries aboard our vessel.. Just our 2 cents.
        On the other hand, another trawler that pulled in next to us in Hampton, went the traditional route and right before the Centerville Bridge hit hard and was having both props taken off for repair. Maybe we were lucky.

        Reply to Captain
    • FOCUS ON – The Albemarle Loop, Albemarle Sound, NC

      The Albemarle Sound and the Albemarle Loop

      In the jargon of the cruising community, “Enjoy the journey not just the destination”. Okay, that is often the case, but don’t you love it when both the journey and destinations are equally enjoyable? Whoever said, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” never was part of a cruising or boating family.

      Albemarle Loop

      For those who don’t live in or near North Carolina, as you pass through North Carolina there is so much to be enjoyed that is not along the shores of the ICW. Like it’s sister cruising waters of the Chesapeake Bay, the many rivers and creeks along the shores of North Carolina’s sounds are dotted with waterfront communities that invite you to explore the local culture, foods, and history. The area’s heritage dates back over 300 years. The callings of the Roanoke, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Croatan, and Chowan, are inviting you into a new cruising adventure. Learn how Native Americans lived in this resource rich area; follow in the wake of the area’s first English settlers; visit where 51 women signed their real names to a document sent to King George that they planned to boycott all British goods. This was to be known as the “Edenton Tea Party”. 

      Whether you are traveling back north for the summer, or making plans for this Fall’s trip south, the rivers and communities that frame the Albemarle Sound are inviting you to explore their shores and experience their warm southern hospitality.

      A community of marine businesses and historical locations, located on and around the Albemarle Sound of North Carolina, have organized to serve boaters through The Albemarle Loop, https://www.albemarleloop.com

      This group of marine businesses and waterfront towns have joined together to educate and invite the area boaters and cruising enthusiasts to “enjoy the journey and the destinations,” to be their guests, and to let the area’s warm hospitality, culture, and history be part of your personal enjoyment.

      Passport

      And while you are doing so, you can earn points towards rewards for free nights at their participating marinas. Points earned accrue from year to year and when you reach certain levels you earn levels of what is known as “Cruising Passport Member Levels” which start at “Surveyor” and go up to “Explorer” and “Voyager”.

      Check out the program at this link and get your passport:  https://www.albemarleloop.com/cruisingmem.html.

      Check out this link to see all the discounts and other rewards available from participating businesses located at or near participating marinas: https://albemarleloop.com/coupons.html

      How’s that for welcoming hospitality??

      Participating marinas will be in italics with an asterisk, eg. *Albemarle Plantation.

      To pick up or print coupons use this link to the The Albemarle Loop website: https://albemarleloop.com/MARINA%20Coupons%202018%20v8.pdf

      Since we are currently in the late months of Spring, let’s assume most of our readers have the pointed end of their vessels to the north. You will find Albemarle Sound as you leave the Pamlico Sound, either through the Pungo River into the ICW Canal and into the Alligator River or to the west or east of Roanoke Island around Manteo, NC.

      Yacht Doc at Cypress Cove

      One of your starting points into the Albemarle Loop experience might be *Shallowbag Bay Marina on the east side of Roanoke Island in Manteo, NC. You are within easy walking distance to the most interesting town of Manteo, NC. Near by is the seasonal outdoor presentation of the “Lost Colony.” If you are inclined to stick to the ICW route, leaving Pamlico Sound into the Pamlico River, then into the Pungo River and through the ICW Canal into the Alligator River, a good place to rest before “looping” is *Alligator River Marina.

      If you are headed back towards Chesapeake, most suggest starting this journey on the south side of Albemarle Sound, visiting small towns and villages like Columbia, NC, where your host would be *Columbia Municipal Marina, or * Yacht Doc at Cypress Cove.

      Progressing on westward towards the town of Plymouth, your host marina, *Plymouth Landing Marina (City Docks), lies along the upper area of the Roanoke River.

      Edenton

      Then head over the north side of Albemarle Sound into Edenton Bay and the charming town of Edenton, NC where you are invited to stay two nights free at *Edenton Harbor Marina. At the Colonial Edenton Downtown Harbor, you can dock while you visit and enjoy this charming town. The Harbor has, within walking distance, many historical homes, restaurants and shops. Lots to do, even a “Ghost Walk” ! Information is available below outlining the rules, regulations and rates for using the docks. Contact: 252-482-2832 (phone) Email: edenton.harbor@edenton.nc.gov 

      Transient boaters are also welcome to a full service marina, Wharf Landing Marina, but it is not close to the town itself, about five miles west of the town. While in Edenton, you will find many fun places to satiate your yearnings for sea food or other southern culinary delights. But one “particular harbor”, (my Jimmy Buffett, slips in every now and then), where you will want to dine, is *The 51 House. There you can tie up and enjoy some very fine traditional American delights. The old home overlooks Albemarle Sound and is a fine example of a waterfront setting, great food and warm hospitality. It takes its inspiration from Revolutionary War period when 51 women of the local area had “tea” together and drafted, signed, and sent to England a document stating that they would be boycotting all British goods. This would later be known as the “Edenton Tea Party.”

      Albemarle Plantation

      Looking for a place to retire, or to just have that residence on some tranquil, beautiful southern waters, then next stop is *Albemarle Plantation with their full service modern marina. Take a look at some nice home locations and get off the boat to go swimming in their pool or play a round of golf. Catch some awesome sun rises and sunsets. Check out this video link to this pristine location: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt0j-8zCleA&t=18s

      Continuing eastwards, you can take a run up the Perquiman River to the town of Hertford and stay at their *Hertford Bay Marina. It’s a nice ride up this river and a quiet place to get some R&R. The marina is small, nine slips with water, shore power for both 30 and 50 amps, waste pump-out, and the first 48 hours are free. Town is historic and has an aggressive program developing the historical homes and places.

      Mariners Wharf, Elizabeth City

      On your way north, I highly recommend you experience the Dismal Swamp Canal, and its host city, “The Harbor of Hospitality,” *Elizabeth City, at their *Mariners Wharf which is right in the town proper. Or stay just across the small Hwy 158 bridge at *The Pelican Marina, which is a very easy walk over to town. Elizabeth City was founded in 1793, the same year construction started on the Dismal Swamp Canal, which was a key to safe commercial water passage between the Chesapeake Bay’s Elizabeth River in Norfolk, VA, and North Carolina coastal waters. Elizabeth City is rich in history, filled with fun and excellent places to eat or “dine”, and it is home to the Museum of the Albemarle. We could fill pages on this delightful town, check it out here: https://visitelizabethcity.com/ ENJOY.

      Dismal Swamp Welcome Center

      Then on to the Dismal Swamp Canal as you continue your cruise towards Chesapeake Bay. The *Dismal Swamp Welcome Center” is one of North Carolina’s most beautiful “rest stops” and it is next to a “SWAMP”. But not your ordinary swamp!

      As mentioned briefly above, the Dismal Swamp Canal is a national treasure, and so very worth the trip. Explore the rich history and colorful past as well as the floral beauty and wildlife. Take the ranger led tours, participate in the interpretive programs, and let the secrets of the Dismal Swamp Canal awaken you to a new experience. Here’s the link to their website: https://dismalswampwelcomecenter.com/

      Be sure to take full advantage of all the special offers available through the Albemarle Loop group of marine businesses to enhance your cruise and save you some money. Website address: https://www.albemarleloop.com

      We wish all fair winds and gentle seas.

      ***********

      Editor’s note: Several of the marinas on the Loop route are Cruisers’ Net Sponsors and this FOCUS ON article is brought to you by the following CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS:

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Janet Benton -  May 17, 2018 - 3:34 pm

        The Albemarle Loop has such great marinas, each with a unique personality. Sailing on the Albemarle Sound is a treat, as you rarely see another boat…..beauty just for you.

        Reply to Janet
    • Good Review of the Dismal Swamp 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

      The Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center Docks and information are provided at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, an NC DOT Rest Area facility and A CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, located adjacent to the Dismal Swamp State Park, offering trails, exhibits and ongoing programs in Camden County, NC.

      NC has one of the country’s most beautiful rest stops – and it’s next to a swamp

      The welcome center also serves as a gateway to Dismal Swamp State Park, just across the canal, a 22-mile stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway that connects the Elizabeth River in Virginia with the Pasquotank River near Elizabeth City.

      CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY by Richard Stradling of the Raleigh News and Observer

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

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

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    • South Mills Lock Now Operating, Dismal Swamp Canal, AICW Alternate Route


      The lock gates have been repaired. Our thanks to Donna Stewart of the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center for this information.

       

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window Zoomed To the Location of South Mills Lock

      Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For South Mills Lock

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    • Spring Perspective on Historic 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 Route

      The Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center Docks and information are provided at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, an NC DOT Rest Area facility, and are located adjacent to the Dismal Swamp State Park, offering trails, exhibits and ongoing programs in Camden County, NC.

      Looking north from our dock.

      The historic Dismal Swamp Canal is coming back to life after ice, storms and other natural disasters….. “I feel like The Princess Bride” reported one of our lovely guests who had experienced this waterway for the first time just this week. As the dogwoods blush and the Carolina pines tower above, we are optimistic for the future of our beloved waterway. Many boaters recently report this was on their wish list and are thrilled with their first experience. The Norfolk District ACOE has plans to continue work this spring and summer to restore the canal to its normal 6’ controlling depth, but should not hinder navigation. Please visit this link for more information: https://dismalswampwelcomecenter.com/boating/

      As a northern gateway to our beautiful state and the Albemarle Region, we take our jobs seriously in making our boaters feel welcome and informed. We encourage them to explore the Albemarle Sound, including the assets featured in the Albemarle Loop and enjoy the southern hospitality, a staple of our region. These marinas, cities, towns and counties count the boating community as valued and appreciated. They are working together to enhance the experiences and stories to come, of adventures through our enchanting waterways. Whispers and cries from the lives before us blend to create diverse stories to be discovered and treasured. The Albemarle Region is celebrating a 350th anniversary in 2018, and we have much to learn from our past. http://www.350th.com/

      Donna

      Donna Stewart, Director
      Dismal Swamp Welcome Center
      2356 US Hwy 17N
      South Mills, NC 27976
      Phone – 252-771-8333
      www.DismalSwampWelcomeCenter.com
      Bird, Bike, Hike…..take in the sights!

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

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

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    • Dismal Swamp Stomp Running Festival  Saturday, April 14, 2018, 8 a.m. AICW Alternate Route

      Dismal Swamp Stomp Running Festival 
      Saturday, April 14, 2018, 8 a.m. 

      Runners take a 13.1-mile journey alongside the Dismal Swamp Canal — complete with forested wetlands and a peaceful paved pathway through the wilderness. Also returning this year is the Children’s Half-Mile Cub Run – a half-mile out-and-back fun run for kids 12 and under. 5K run/walk – If a half marathon is more than you want to tackle, try the 5K run/walk. For details, click here.

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