We just did the DS northbound on July 27-28. It was hot, but it’s hot everywhere. The tall trees offer some shade. We passed only one boat. No competition for dock space at the visitor center. They have free ice and air conditioning. Free docks at Elizabeth City. Brown water. Some bumps.
Keith and D’Anne Weitzman
Carver 3607 MY
We passed through the Dismal Swamp in the other direction in early July this year. I suggest a cooler day if possible. Be ready with bug spray or a screened in helm. Take it slow. There are small logs and branches that you can sometimes see and sometimes not see that you will bump. The ones you don’t see I think are neutrally buoyant and just below the surface. Going slow will allow them to be pushed to the side without damage. They suggest 5 mph but were were a little faster especially on the north end.
We did not stop in the swamp because of the flies but we stopped in Elizabeth City at the free slips to see the town and then at Lambs overnight to make the 11:00 lock time. After the swamp, we stayed in Norfolk at Waterside and then Portsmouth. See July 2016 entry in cmosboating.blogspot.com. There are pictures of the scenery which we found very pretty particularly in the morning at the south end before the first lock (and flies).
Clark on Sea Moss
We went through the Dismal Swamp in late June and were mostly alone until the north lock when two other boats caught up with us. Water levels were high and the scenery was lovely. There was some construction going on at the visitor center but the facilities were open and uncrowded.
Ben and Nancy Duggar
September, Camano 31
I just went through the Dismal Swamp about six weeks ago and it was fine. If you leave Elizabeth City in time to catch the 0830 or 1100 openings at South Mills and run 5 to 6 knots, you will be at Deep Creek bridge in plenty of time for the 1330 or 1530 openings and then you can make Norfolk, Portsmouth or Hampton before dark. If you are wanting to go latter, you can stay at the lock wall at South Mills, the NC Welcome station, or the wall right before the bridge at Deep Creek bridge. Deep Creek is not a great stop, lots of traffic noise, but a very short walk to Food Lion for provisions and a Burger King(I think). There is also a good anchorage after the Deep Creek lock on the right just before you reach the Elizabeth River.
North Carolina offers several alternative routes if you have time. The “main highway” is the ICW Route, but the barrier islands and the Albemarle offer delightful alternatives.
I have an article on North Carolina on my website, here: https://gilwellbear.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/north-carolina/.
Under the North Carolina tab, there are several related articles on the various alternatives. Here is a link to one that discusses the Virginia Cut and the Dismal Swamp alternative: https://gilwellbear.wordpress.com/category/cruising-practica/us-east-coast/north-carolina/albemarle-to-norfolk/.
Hope they are useful.
Monk 36 Hull #132
We went thru the Dismal Swamp Thursday and Friday July 28th and 29th in a 39 krogen with a 4’6″ draft. The depth was a constant 7 ft. We bumped a few logs in the water. You need to keep a constant lookout. We stayed one night at the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center. Great trip.