Since the storm things have been routine, but interesting and fun.
We proceeded down the ICW and entered the “Great Dismal Swamp Canal”. This is a 22 mile stretch that looks like it came out of the movie Deliverance. It’s quite narrow, when two boats have to cross in opposite directions both have to slow to a crawl to avoid hitting each other (we only had one crossing the entire stretch). Most
cruisers take the Virginia Cut which is faster but less rustic.
To enter the canal you have to go through a lock that raises the boat 8 ft. This takes about 30 minutes during which time we had a conversation with Robert, the lock keeper. He gave us a lecture on the history of the area. It was fascinating, but the usual 30 min period turned into an hour. In the meantime
there was another boat waiting to go through the lock. Right after the lock we found a free dock. It’s by a town within easy walking distance so we went grocery shopping and had dinner at a small but wonderful Mexican restaurant. We had a restful sleep that night.
The next morning we continued on and left the canal after going through a second lock which dropped us 6 ft. (I don’t know where the missing 2 ft. went).
We continued on to Elizabeth City where there was more free docks. The people of the city are very cruiser friendly. For years a group known as the “Rose Buddies”, greets cruisers at the docks and if there were more than 4 boats would host a wine and cheese party. We were lucky enough to attend one of those 6 years ago, but for some reason they didn’t have one this time. We were however treated to a farmers market right next to the boat.
We might a nice Canadian (Nova Scotia) couple who told us about a city named Manteo on the outer banks of NC. It was a little out of the way and we hadn’t planned to go in that direction but it sounded so nice we decided to go out of our way. Both boats left together but our cat was much faster and we arrived first. Guess what, another free dock.
Tomorrow we leave early for Ocracoke also on the Outer Banks.