Saturday, September 24, 2016

Too Dismal for Dismal

Well, at the end of my last post I mentioned that we were waiting out a little bad weather.  It's not a lot of fun to sail in the rain without a cockpit enclosure and there didn't seem to be any reason to do it when sun would return in a few days.

The sun returned and we were making plans to head out on Friday.  Then late Thursday I saw a notice posted on Facebook that the ICW south of Norfolk was closed.  Both the Dismal Swamp Canal and Albemarle-Chesapeake Canal routes were closed.  If you follow my Facebook page, I did re-share the post on the closure. I tried finding confirmation that evening and wasn't able to confirm the closure until I called Robert, the lock and bridge tender at Deep Creek, the following morning.

Image accompanying the Chesapeake Bay Magazine's
Facebook post on the closures.
That rain that we were waiting to pass was apparently worse just south of us and caused a bunch of flooding.  Now, you would think that flooding wouldn't be a big issue for a boat, but it apparently is for the various draw bridges and locks along those routes. The Dismal Swamp route locks couldn't be operated with waters as high as they were. Apparently the already problematic North Landing bridge, and possibly one or more others along the other route, could not be opened for fear of damage due to the flood waters.

Image from the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center's
Facebook page.
So, we continue to wait.  The Albemarle-Chesapeake route has been re-opened, but the Dismal swamp route remains closed.  Given how we often encounter floating logs and other issues in the swamp, we are rethinking taking that route as I can only imagine what flood waters have washed up (not to mention it isn't expected to be reopened until next week).  We are altering our plans to take the more heavily traveled route.  In order to try and avoid some of the heavy weekend traffic (and hopefully let that traffic help clear anything that might be in the way), we hope to continue our trip south tomorrow.


  1. Hi Mike,
    Don't see water pouring over the top of a lock very often. Can't imagine the amount of debris that will be in either of the waterways heading south from Norfolk. Hope the water levels drop and you can continue your trip south starting with the Loop. How is the newish battery bank working?
    Up here in VT on Lake Champlain there is too little water, I've decided not to try launching the powerboat again as most public launch sites have only 12-15" water depth for hundreds of feet from the launch site.
    Doug in VT

    1. Yeah, the Dismal Swamp route is still closed. We opted for the Virginia Cut route since it was only closed for a day (sorry for the delay in response...we were en route and without decent internet for most of it). We stayed at the free Portsmouth dock and the Great Bridge free dock and then anchored out at the mouth of Broad creek just north of the Albemarle yesterday. We are now at our first official marina of the Albemarle Loop today.

      The battery bank is doing really well. Watering the bank isn't a big deal at all with the watering system so maintenance is pretty low. The extra amp/hours over the original configuration is nice too. I doubt I use more than 25 % a day even when I run the inverter and watch movies or whatever.

      Sorry to hear about the lack of water. Some people in Gloucester said it had been dry...until we arrived. Hey, maybe we just need to visit...we seem to bring rain with us a lot. ;-) Of course...if we wanted it to rain it probably would not.