Today’s trip was one of contrasts. Early in the day the navy told us in no uncertain terms “KEEP OUT” but later on North Carolina said “COME ON IN!”
We listened to both. We left the anchorage at Hospital Point early and started for the Dismal Swamp, which the woman at the visitor’s center assured was not the least bit dismal. We passed more industrial and navy waterfront; huge ships being built and countless cranes on standby for loading/unloading.
A bored/friendly sailor waved from a container ship from some unknown country (we couldn’t identify the flag) and a Bahamian sailor was tending the flag on another vessel.
It’s hard to judge the size of this crane until you look at the zigzag of vertigo inducing steps going up to the tippy top. Yikes.
We turned the corner from the Elizabeth River into the Dismal Swamp around 8:30 and to the dismay of the drivers trying to get to work on time the bridge tender held up traffic a few extra minutes for us to get through.
We locked through the Deep Creek Lock in mid-morning. It’s easier to see the water level difference looking at the boat behind us…. it was about 10 feet from the lower level to the upper level. Lock tender Rob, assisted by his trusty hound U-turn, got us through the lock, then jumped in his car and dashed to the draw bridge about half a mile further along and opened the bridge for us. He wished us all God speed and on we went.
|Saralane leading the way out of the lock|
The 28 mile stretch we did today was scenic as expected and we even had a few wildlife sightings…. a blue heron and a turtle! Ok… not all that exciting…. but how many of you saw a blue heron and a turtle today? And…we saw a BEAR. Really! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the heron and the turtle.
I decided to forgo the usual ‘pretty autumn tree’ photos and instead am including this montage of ‘pretty autumn tree reflections in the water’ photos. The ripples were from the wake we created as we moved through the water.
Here’s North Carolina welcoming us! (On the other side of this sign it said “Welcome to Virginia”… we wondered if the two states argued about who had to take care of the sign.)
It was a long lazy ride through the swamp and Renaissance man Skip took a break from the scenery to bake bread from a dough he started yesterday.
We tied up along with the two boats we went through the lock with earlier in the day. Saralane is the boat on the far right of the photo. Skip got all fancy and turned us around to pull alongside. Whatever breeze there was had been coming from the north, so this will make our night more comfy if the wind picks up. (And we were too lazy to change the fenders from the starboard side to the port side… plus we’ll need them on the starboard side again tomorrow to go through another lock.)
So… the BEAR. We decided to go for a walk on the trails before it got dark… and we saw a BEAR. OK… it was dead… but it was still a bear. A few park rangers were clustered around the end of the bridge that took us over to the trails and we stopped to chat with them and see what all the activity was about. They were trying to figure out the best way to get this poor dead bear up out of the water and find out what had happened to it. The rangers were waiting for the local wildlife biologist to show up and tell them 1) what might have happened to the bear 2) how old the bear was 3) how the heck to get a big bear out of a ravine and dispose of it.
They were still waiting when we crossed back over from our walk and when we asked what news there was about the bear… they said they’d been pondering a more important question. What were the words to Pattycake, Pattycake?! They’d gotten “Pattycake, pattycake baker’s man… bake me a cake as fast as you can” and it went downhill from there. So if anyone knows the rest of it… please let us know. We told the ranger we’d check in with her in the morning for an update.
One sort of scenic photo to end with. We saw these cool berries on our walk and have no idea what they are. They were really bright bold pinky purple-ish. Pretty! Looking at the wildflowers kept our minds off bears.... the live kind that might walk out of the woods and want to eat us.