Dismal Swamp to the Alligator River

Yesterday, we left our spot at the North Carolina Visitors Center, and continued down the Dismal, headed for South Mills lock and the end of the canal. We had the “road” to ourselves, as we slide through the duck weed. The canal is covered in most spots with it; gross-looking stuff, that tends to clog the strainers for our motor, toilets, air conditioning.

We had an eleven hour day ahead of us, taking us out of the Dismal Swamp Canal, into the Pasquotank River, across the Albemarle Sound and then into the Alligator River, where we would anchor for the evening.

After about an hour in the Dismal, we “locked through” at South Mills lock. This lock works in reverse. We first wait for the lock keeper to drive to the drawbridge and open it (at 8:40, I’m sure the commuters LOVED us!). Then it’s on to the lock, where we tie up and wait for the water to fill, as opposed to being drained at Great Bridge Lock. When it’s done, we’re 8 feet higher, and ready to head out of the lock and out of the canal. We missed Robert’s smiling face, and his “conched-up” lock keeper house!

Once in the Pasquotank, the water opens up, and views are more expansive. We also lost the brown, tannic water that we had through the Dismal (it was pretty gross when you flushed the toilet!).

The Albemarle Sound can be quite treacherous, depending on wind. We had a terrible go, when we came north on our last cruise. This time, we had favorable winds, and a pleasant crossing (Except for Howard. He retreated to the forward shower for the last hour of the crossing).

In the Alligator River the terrain changes again. It’s a Cypress swamp, so you see lots of dead wood with the green, and stumps poking out of the water. We traveled through the Alligator River Swing Bridge, which literally swings on a central pivot to open. It’s pretty cool!

We traveled another two hours or so after the bridge, and then dropped anchor for the night at about 6:30. Howard got to stretch his legs, and spend some time up on the fly bridge, his favorite place (lots of places to go unseen). Scott and I joined him, to sit in the shade of the aluminum dinghy (Scott calls her the Aluminum Princess). Once the sun started to set, we enjoyed some time on the bow, before having dinner, a shower and then collapsing into bed.

If you’d like to see more photos of today’s trip, click here.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

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