Norfolk to Elizabeth City

Trip Start Oct 19, 2008
Trip End Jan 05, 2008

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Left Hospital point anchorage, Norfolk at 0800 Oct 30th and made the several bridges on schedule until we got to Gilmerton bridge which would would not open because the Norfolk and Southern rail road bridge was down.  Eventually about eleven boats were all held up next to a large ship loading scrap metal.  The rail road bridge eventually went up with no train appearing and the Gilmerton bridge opened.  We had been leaning to going down the Virginia cut but swung right and went off down the Dismal Swamp Canal route.  There was no delay at the lock as fortuitously our timing was right.  Not knowing the ropes we were not sure where the best place would be to tie up overnight - we could make the last lock out but going down the unlocked portion of the canal and making the Goat Island anchorage in the Pasquotank river before dark seemed doubtful.  Rafted up to other boats already tied up at the North Carolina welcome center.  An impromptu little party convened in the picnic area and then some more boats showed up much to everyone's dismay.  New boats were mostly trawlers.  Boats were eventually tied up 4 deep and the Pearson 34 on the inside of us was worried about the 2 big trawlers tied up to us squashing him in the night if the wind got up.  Forecast was con firmed for a still cold night.  Party reconvened and everyone headed for their boats soon after dark as it became very chilly.  Everyone understood the lock out for south bound boats would open at 0900 so departure was set for 0800.  The night had been so cold all the boats were covered in frost and ice. Quickly piled on many layers of clothing and scoffed porridge. We were 3rd boat away and followed the trawlers.  The air was so cold seasmoke was wafting across the surface of the canal.  Eventually boat behind us came on the radio and said if we did not speed up we would miss the lock and then the lock confirmed it was 0830 not 0900 as there were no Northbound boats.  We made it into the lock with the several sail boats that were behind us.  A delightful trrip down the remainder of the canal and the river with fine clear weather but it did not warm up until midday..  There were quite a lot of dead heads (sunken logs) but we did not feel or hear any hits unlike the day before when there were a couple of thumps on the hull.  Tied up at a free slip in Elisabeth City with a few inches to spare either side about midday. Went to the visitor center, the museum which is very interesting - all about the Albermarle Sound area and then to the cheese and wine party for transiting boaters.  A tradition of some time originating with an old gentleman who used to bring roses to the ladies on visiting boats - known as the rose buddies.  Walked around town and settled on having dinner at the The Grouper Restaurant and met some of the Canadians from the night before who we had also seen on the Chesapeake - the ones who were motorsailing with head sails.  Had dinner together - one was originally from Yorkshire and others had English roots.  A pleasant evening.  Not as cold as last night but we have the propane heater going
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