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The Salty Southeast
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Dismal Swamp Canal AICW Alternate Route vs AICW – North Carolina, Virginia Cut Route

Friends Doing the Dismal

Fellow nautical writer, Wally Moran, does a very nice job below of summarizing the attributes and demerits of these two alternate AICW passages that lead from Norfolk, VA to North Carolina waters, or the other way around. And, by the way, the text below is copied from Captain Wally’s new “LiveBloggin’ the ICW” site at:

Will asked me about the two options heading south – the Virginia Cut and the Dismal Swamp. Great question.
Friends doin’ the Dismal
I prefer the Dismal Swamp – it’s wonderfully scenic, as you can see. Good protection from wind, and the stop at Deep Creek Lock to visit Rob, the lockmaster, is always a treat. Leaving the Dismal, you stop by Elizabeth City for a free night’s dockage and the cruisers’ welcome party each evening for a drink, and a rose for the ladies, a tradition started by two locals and now kept up by the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
The only drawback is that the Dismal takes longer to run, and isn’t really feasible for boats drawing over six feet.
The Virginia Cut brings you to Virginia City and the Great Bridge Lock, a marvel to see in and of itself, plus lots of fascinating tugboat and commercial traffic.
I usually do one route on the trip down, and the other on the return, just to enjoy the best of both worlds. The one other proviso is if the exit from the route will permit me to sail on the Albermarle. There is enough distance between them to make a difference in how you trim your sails.
Wally Moran

Hi Claiborne – my blog showed dozens of unexpected hits today – so I looked at my stats and, sure enough, they were coming from here [SSECN]. Maybe you can encourage your readers to add to the list of the World’s Greatest Boating Songs – there will be prizes, such as copies of my video, Sailing South – First Timer’s Guide to the ICW, or Forbidding, Forbidden Cuba. Maybe I can get you to toss in a copy of one of your books? I refuse to give up my copy of your Florida guide, it’s a fun read.
If anyone is curious, they can get a peek at the trailers for both videos at or /cuba.
Thanks again Claiborne. Tomorrow, off to start the ICW for the 18th time.

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