What were we thinking?

We decided to take an inland route to Chesapeake Bay called the “Dismal Swamp”.

I wonder why, I would even think it would be a nice, sunny, warm route where we would enjoy our privacy, scenery, and be a nice trip.

As soon as we pulled into the lock for the beginning of this canal (I know, another side trip, two more locks, this one will be another ‘last lock’), it started to rain.  As the lock started filling with water, the rain started coming down harder and harder, until, when full, it was pouring.  All the big motor boats in the lock with us left first, and then found out that this canal was shallow, so crawled along at about half the proper speed for here.  There were eight boats in the convoy (so much for privacy), travelling along at 3 knots, when the complaints on the radio started.  Not only is there nowhere to pass, there is nowhere to dock, with the exception of the NC Welcome Center at the Virginia border, and there is only room for a couple boats, everyone else is expected to raft.

The 50’ motor boat that was crawling so they didn’t hit bottom got on the radio and said they expected everyone else to stay away while they docked, then everyone else could fend for themselves.  It would have been fun to have a recorder to record the radio comments.

The Welcome Center was closed (not welcome on Sundays or Mondays), so we didn’t get the ‘t shirts’ we wanted, and with all the issues these folks were having, we decided we would be better off getting wet than rafting there, so we trucked on, as did another motor boat, and another sail boat.  Places to dock or anchor the boat were almost nonexistent, but we found a small government dock that we stopped for the night at, as did the other sailboat, the motor boat just drove hard through the end of the canal.

We were soaking wet, but had our privacy, and could enjoy the evening without having to walk over everyone else’s boat.  It was too wet for a pot luck dinner, and there was nothing open at the center anyway.

The next morning, up early, went to the end of the canal in the pouring rain, again, and met up with ‘Lady Margaret’ at the lock wall.  We rafted with them, to wait out the rain and get provisions.  We no longer wonder where the name “Dismal Swamp Canal” came from.

After we reached the end of the Dismal Swamp Canal, the “dismal” ended.  We travelled with Lady Margaret for a couple days, stayed at a dock, had some fresh shrimp, then stayed at a marina and took a rental car to Williamsburg.  What an interesting City that was.

It is restored to Colonial times, as its claim to fame would be during the Revolutionary War, and they have restored several buildings, including residential to that time period.  The buildings open to the public have folks working inside that are dressed in tune with the times, and everything is built, made, or baked there.  Jewelry, Blacksmiths, clothing (right from the ball of cotton), and even bricks made on site.

It was a fun trip, made better with great company to do it with.  Thanks Pat and Colin (Lady Margaret)!

From Norfolk, we again ventured outside in the Ocean, deciding our weather window was more important than visiting the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays.  In preparation for our Cape Cod to Nova Scotia sail, we did an overnight from Norfolk to Atlantic City, NJ and had a grand time.

We spent the night in Atlantic City (nope, I did not get a chance to try out my system for winning at the ‘Crap” table), then got an early start stopping just short of New York City.  We are stopped at Shark Inlet, anchored for the night, and will head to the Statue of Liberty tomorrow morning.  Once again, just like Quebec City, the currents will play a very important role dictating when we can get in.

Love to everyone, we’re still having a ball.

Joe and Mary Beth  S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold”

One Response to “What were we thinking?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Sounds like quite a tour through the old swamp. I would of liked to hear the comments also on the radio. Everyone made it through with out any head banging or spear throwing. I guess other than the down pours and the limited provisions everything went well. I seen your nice catch Joe. If only eh? Maybe its good you didn’t find a craps table. You may of being rafting the rest of the way home draging your catch with you. Sounds like you”ll be home pretty much on schedule. Then you can start putting your journey’s into a book. Lucas has his field trip tomorrow to Toronto to see the Sound of Music in Theater. I’m sure it will be good but they could of picked Phantom of the Opera or Cats. I guess I still remember Ann of Green Gables in Charlotown theater with Peg and Amy when I was 9 yrs old. Todd and I have quit drinking since April 25th The first two weeks were rough but its getting alot easier now. I want to be able to take the kids lots of places in the summer with the old car and now that the alcohol limit is only 0.5 instead of 0.8 to blow over you can’t even have a couple drinks now and drive. Its pretty much 0 tolerance. Along with the fines and suspensions its not worth it. I haven’t put holidays in yet but were hoping to get to the island this summer.Fly of course and rent a car like last time. Well keep enjoying your awesome extended vacation stories and we’ll keep in touch ok Love to you both!!!!

    Love Amy,Lucas,
    Adam and Todd.

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