TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TODAY: 32 NM
DOCKED AT: DEEP CREEK BRIDGE BEHIND LA FAMILIA MEXICAN RESTAURANT
ICW MILE MARKER: 11
SUNRISE: 6:14 SUNSET: 7:51
HIGH: 76 LOW: 62
TODAY’S BRIDGES: 3
1. ELIZABETH CITY BRIDGE (US 158) 50.7
2. NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAILROAD SWING BRIDGE 47.7
3. SOUTH MILLS BRIDGE 33.6
TODAY’S LOCKS: 1
1. SOUTH MILLS LOCK 32.5
What a glorious morning! We puttered around and watched four cruisers take the 7:30 bridge opening while we were opted for the 8:30 passage. Funny, we all ended locking up together in the Smith Mills Lock. This was our first lock in many moons but we have it all down pat now and the Porters helping hands make it all so much easier.
|THIS WAY TO THE SOUTH MILLS LOCK|
Today we finally got a taste of the infamous Dismal Swamp Canal. Last year we took the other route, the Virginia Cut, into Norfolk and Portsmouth, VA.
George Washing and fellow investors bought up 40,000 acres of the Dismal Swamp and began harvesting the dense timber. Dreams of a waterway to ship out the logs became a reality when the Virginia Assembly granted permission for them to build a canal in 1764. By the time Washington withdrew his interest in the swampy timberland in 1795 the Dismal Swamp Canal Company had been created and slave labor was being used for the backbreaking work. The first flat-bottomed vessels transited the 22 mile canal in 1805. Over the years this canal helped to promote better commerce between Virginia and North Carolina but its importance decreased as other faster and more efficient modes of transportation developed. Today this area is operated and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
I read today the root beer brown waters are unusually pure. The tannic acids from the bark of the juniper, gum and cypress trees inhibit growth of bacteria thus making these waters a prized commodity by the old sailing ships that visited this area.
|THE RICH COLOR SHOWES UP IN OUR CHURNED UP WAKE|
It is very important to travel in the center of this long and narrow canal and you must also be alert to deadheads and floating logs. We managed to spot all the deadheads but must have bumped into six mysterious submerged “somethings”. No foul, no harm it gives you a start when you hear and feel that thump.
After a quick stop at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center we foraged on and crossed into Virginia. We spent the night tied up to a small wall south of the Deep Creek Bridge just behind the dingy looking La Familia Mexican Restaurant. Some of the employees were working in the parking lot trying to piece together one vehicle from two wrecked ones. The prospects of a successful outcome were dim, in our opinion. Our dinner at La Familia, however, proved to be quite nice. The food was good and the staff was a delight.
|WELCOME TO VIRGINIA|
|NOT SUCH A BUCOLIC SCENE OUTSIDE OUR DOOR|
|THE TAWDRY EXTERIOR OF LA FAMILIA|