Saturday, November 8, 2008
Finally! Heading South on the ICW
At 8:00 am we left York River, with promises of warmth and sunshine being idle. Being hopeful conditions would improve, we slogged our way through Hampton Roads and Norfolk past warships, coast guard vessels, and many boats headed out for the Caribbean 1500, nonstop to the Virgin Islands. The latter I consider damned fools because Hurricane Paloma is out there, and yeah, she is only expected to show them her periphery but WHAT THE HECK? Fortunately, I consider us exempt from effects of Paloma as we will be tucked away in the ICW, and I own some of her jewelry.
Our plan is to transit the Dismal Swamp Canal, where iffy water depths should be a non issue with the recent rains and higher than normal tides. The Swamp is supposed to be a nature lover's haven, with beautiful sites and no fast power boats leaving wakes to toss us sailors around. We had wanted to do the Swamp last year but it was closed due to insufficient depths. Your tax dollars are not at work here, as this and most of the ICW is not getting sufficient funding for proper maintenance.
The Jordan Bridge is the first that you need to have raised to pass along. This bridge is a lift bridge, and I swear, you can do this a million times, and one million times you will think the bridgetender has not lifted the center section high enough for you to clear. The bridgetender was prompt and friendly, unanticipated since last year's log entry read "bridge opening momentarily does not mean momentarily at the Jordan Bridge".
Two miles after the Jordan Bridge you approach the Gilmerton Bridge. The bridgetender here likewise had some happy juice for lunch and was very accommodating. However, mid-opening he announced he had to close, as an emergency vehicle was approaching and needed to get over. We witnessed the almost crashing of a boat determined to make it through who, at the last moment, got some sense and turned around.
We reached our destination for the day in time for the 3:30 lock opening: the Dismal Swamp Deep Creek Lock. The lockmaster is, indeed, a master, and a kind soul who gives simple, understandable instructions to those of us not very experienced with the locking process. First Edition was the first boat into the lock, and therefore I had a front row view of the water entering the lock, seeming like boiling steeped tea water. The water raises the boat about ten feet. After exiting the lock we tied up to the free dock to starboard (you can't see it when you exit the dock, but it is right there). We chatted with dock neighbors Janet and Jeremy on Tardis, an American Tug and Don and Maj-Lis on Blue Blazer, a C&C. We all plan to leave tomorrow after the 8:30 lock opening, when the bridge coordinates a simultaneous opening, to head to the North Carolina Dismal Swamp Visitors Center for the free dock tie up, hiking trails, and a GIFT SHOP!