The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Great Dismal Swamp to Norfolk

We really did see some beautiful country between Elizabeth City, NC and Norfolk, VA.
Some quick facts, all of which I have on good authority from the very talkative lockmaster at the Deep Creek Lock, the 2nd lock we passed through along the way.  (At the first lock, the lockmaster said, in total, "Ugh" or something like that, so we didn't learn too much from him). 

The canal known as the Great Dismal Swamp is the oldest locking system in North America.  It was actually surveyed (and its construction supervised) by George Washington, who was the first president of the canal construction company and later of course, the first president of the US.  It was completely dug by hand!  It runs through some 44,000 acres, all of which used to belong to good old Mr. Washington.  Patrick Henry, a famous signer of the Declaration of Independance, was the first governor of Virginia and also the first president of the Great Dismal Swamp Canal Co.  During the Civil War, the North controlled the canal most of the time, and it was an integral part of the effort to transport freed slaves to the north.  OK, that's the extent of what I learned in the 30 minutes or so that we transited the second lock of our tirp.  Oh yeah, except he (the lockmaster) had a pit bull named "U-Turn" who had been trained from birth to sleep with his two pet rabbits and he also cherished his conch shell collection.  I am told he actually plays tunes on them for some of the loopers.  We missed out on that.  Like many of the folks we met in North Carolina, the lockmaster was really, really nice, and interested in teaching us about his part of the world.

We enjoyed the trip through the swamp.  It was a long day (10 hrs) of travel.  Most all of the way we followed My Dream, a Krogen trawler owned by a couple of fellow Californians from Placerville, Ted and Sue.  We were treated to a smell Carrie said was "Honeysuckle" (I'll take her word for it) and lots of tulip trees in full bloom.

This is what it looked like for miles from the helm.

We are waiting for the first lock to open, following My Dream.

Yours truly at the helm in the Great Dismal Swamp.

Once Around, safely tied up in Norfolk.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah!! Love the pictures, the stories and that nobody got hurt!