CT to FL Day 15
Portsmouth, VA to Camden, NC
Today we had several bridges and a lock to deal with and set our alarm early at 0530 to be sure we were ready to depart on time to meet the first bridge opening at the Steel Bridge. It opened up only at the top of the hour and we wanted to be there by 0800. It was only about 45 minutes from us but you never know in this area if you get stuck by another bridge that is normally open. Beecha decided this morning was the morning she wanted to dilly-dally and we did not get away until 0645 which turned out not to be a problem as we did not have any other bridge issues and we arrived to the steel bridge about 0755… 5 minutes to spare. I hailed the bridge to request and opening and they responded with no problem captain… next opening is at 0900… we do not open at 0800…. So we had an hour to wait.... ?
Rather than sit and wait at the bridge we decided to go back about a mile to a dock that we could tie up to and wait… have breakfast… and relax. As we were headed back I realized that we could probably make the 0830 locking at the Dismal Swamp Canal… I double checked on the chartplotter and we were off to the Dismal Swamp.
We arrived to the lock with a few minutes to spare and the lockmaster hailed us as we approached to let us know he was preparing the chamber for us and to standby for a green light to enter the lock. We entered the lock at 0830 on the dot and secured to the wall with the help of the lockmaster Robert. Robert is a very friendly person and really enjoys talking to you. He loves his job and everything about the Dismal Swamp. This made the locking very enjoyable but probably much longer than it really needs to take…. We exited the lock 45 minutes later at 0915 and headed south down the Dismal Swamp Canal. Robert has to drive form the lock to the bridge just south of the lock as he is also the bridge tender and he had the bridge open and waiting for us as we arrived. ?
We continued down the canal and then the rain started. Not heavy rain just enough to make it miserable out. Good thing was there was no wind that you noticed…. Just rain and mist.
We reached the North Carolina Visitor Center just after noon. We had talked about stopping here for the night as we had never done that before but we decided it was too early to stop and continued on toward Elizabeth City.
We had the opposite experience at the South Mills Lock as the south end of the Dismal Swamp Canal. The lockmaster there was the farthest thing from friendly... I think maybe he said 6 words total and he did not even come to assist us in getting the lines free. Not that it was that hard to do but would of been very easy if he had made the effort to walk a 100 feet to help us. It did make the locking take 15 minutes instead of 45... LOL
Our destination for the night.... Elizabeth City is the land of free docks and you have a choice of several to choose from. We have stayed at all of them and they are great stops. Susan wanted power tonight so we did some checking and decided to stop at Lamb’s Marina in Camden, NC just outside of Elizabeth City. We were secure at the dock with power on at 1600.
Our location for the night… N36°19.302', W076°10.591'
. We traveled today for 9.25 hours covering 43 nautical miles averaging 4.7 knots.