To the DSVC

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Mon 21 Nov 2011 21:31
To The Dismal Swamp Visitors Centre
Our anchorage in Norfolk waking. We were up and ready to leave at eight, excited to be heading to the start of ICW on the Dismal Swamp Canal
The workers of Norfolk were getting busy
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Many girls in refit. I couldn’t take the picture of the sign because the girl on the right had her patrols out, but it said “Beware of Jet Blast and Roters”
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Another girl, and Akula rang a bell; later we remembered parking next door but two to her on our first visit to St Lucia
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Then we saw a bulk oil carrier called Cape Bear
A stubby lady, a new shape to us
This rail bridge was unusually down, an excited Bear was in for a surprise ?? To watch a train go over ?? So me being the nice wife / First Mate stood like a tool for twenty minutes at Beez nose, camera poised.
All that went over was a car on rails – a rail inspection.......... Bear must have looked a little hesitant when the bridge finally went up. The radio chirped “Cmon up Skip, I’m at eighdy farve feet. Y’all have a good ‘un”. Having waited so long it was a huge rush to get to the Gilmerton Bridge for the nine thirty opening, very touch and go. Luckily for us a tug was going through and a boat called Penguin had gone aground just in front, obviously got too close to the muddy edge waiting for the bridge. They had to hoist their sails to get out of the mud, that took a few minutes, enough time for us to get near enough for the bridge lady to have us in sight. The bridge lady was the same one as when we were northbound and very kindly she held the traffic for three minutes for us to get through. Phew. Had we not got through, the next opening would be ten thirty, then we would miss the eleven o’clock lock opening at the beginning of the Dismal Swamp Canal. We thanked her profusely for her kindness.
Back to normality and girls at work
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Yeeha, Mile 0 on the ICW. Instead of turning left and going down the Virginia Cut (the way we came north) we turned right into the shallow water leading to the lock, complete with fly fisherman
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We waited at the lock behind Dividend. A heron watched as we tried not to “sail on the spot” in the very shallow water
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The lock opened, we nestled. The back gates closed, the front gates opened and worked up a huge head of froth
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  After twenty minutes we rose high enough for a hug with U-Turn. Robert the Lock Master trotted over for a chat.
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Time to leave the lock, take a quick photo of the mileage chart, just 1087 to Miami
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As we left Robert played his shell – a tradition. I told him not to give up his day job, he laughed and waved us off. Now we are ON The Dismal Swamp Canal – the oldest in the USA
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Dividend led the way and sped off, Captain wiping his new fenders – he does like clean fenders, see Pepe’s eyebrows nip. The 12 mile marker
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The old Superintendent’s House qualifies as a ‘One Careful Owner’
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We passed relics of a bygone age. Not only do we have to check for depth coming along here, we have to look out for rogue overhanging branches.
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On our left the Welcome to North Carolina behind us on the other side Welcome to Virginia
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Skipper all gleeful. 24 mile scale – we are in the middle of nowhere. Small scale there is a canal
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We arrive at the Dismal Swamp Free Visitors Dock and chat with Mike and Cyndy – Writers on the Road – traveling in their RV
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A rare picture of the two of us and Bear by the sign that says ‘we are here’
Beez Neez, now covered in pine needles and her bedmates, one American and one Canadian