We had always heard about the Great Dismal route, but none of us had tried it.  
All the other trips had been the standard ICW route through Coinjock.


 After a perfect night in a beautiful anchorage at Elizabeth City, we headed into "the swamp."  
In the beginning, the Great Dismal was absolutely idyllic.  
Cypress trees with spanish moss, osprey, wildflowers everywhere.


Everything went well until we got to the lock.  It only operates four times a day and is manned by just one person.  After waiting about an hour, we were finally let into the lock.  As the lock filled to capacity, the lone lockmaster took the lines of each boat one by one and looped them around the bollards.  Then he walked around to each boat getting the registration numbers.  Then around once more handing out pamphlets about the history of the lock.  Meanwhile, the crowd is getting more and more impatient.  Finally the gates are closed and the water starts to flood in.  Once we're raised to the next level, the boats leave the lock only to be held up by a draw bridge a few yards away.  The same guy who operates the lock then gets into his car and drives to the draw bridge.  After a few more minutes the bridge starts to open.  At this point, all the yahoos in speed boats sped away like horses leaving the starting gate.  This whole ordeal took about two hours, leaving us barely enough time to get to the last lock before its final opening.  Between locks, its just a shallow, narrow ditch with lots of stumps and branches in places where they shouldn't be.  Next stop....Norfolk.

This huge navy catamaran seen in Norfolk, was the most unusual craft of the trip.


Because the current was against us and only one motor was operating, we didn't arrive at Taylor's Landing on Little Creek, VA until well after dark.  We were tired and hungry and were disappointed that the restaurant was closed.  The new owners of Calypso's Bar and Restaurant took us in and prepared a hot meal for us despite the late hour.  They were most gracious hosts and we went to bed with happy tummies that night.

1) The Crew       2) Dolphins       3) Bird      5) New York       6) Catskill

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