Saturday, October 28, 2006

Return to North Carolina

Mile 28 on The Great Dismal Swamp Canal

Sorry blog fans for not writing sooner. I haven't had much quiet time.

We had a splendid sail from Urbanna down to Norfolk on Thursday. We started at 0700 sharp and within an hour we had 10-20 knots of wind from the aft quarter. We flew down the bay at 6-7 knots. It was very cold early on but it warmed as the day went on. My mid afternoon we cut into Hampton Roads and sailed past the aircraft carriers and the submarines at the Navy Yards. By 1700 we put in to the Waterside Marina at mile zero of the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW), and by 1900 we were having a nice dinner ashore in a real restaurant.

After discussing our plans, we decided to also stay in Norfolk on Friday so as not to arrive in Elizabeth City too early. On Friday we had an urban day visiting the Library, and the mall, some art galleries and (of course) the battleship Wisconsin.

The forecast for Friday night through Sunday morning is for gale force winds. That didn't bother us too much. We set out this morning (Saturday) in rain and stiff winds. There were more aircraft carriers and guided missile cruisers to look at, but our enthusiasm for scenery was damped by the rain.

By the time we entered the canal, the rain stopped, the sky cleared up, and we are well sheltered from the wind in the canal. The leaves are just turning fall colors here now. Once again we are reminded about how pleasurable it is to sail on rivers and canals. In the Great Dismal Swamp, we have shelter from the wind. We have no navigational pressure (the canal is straight as an arrow), and we see nothing but nature on both sides. It's wonderfully relaxing.

We plan on spending tonight in the canal, but not at the customary visitor's center. There are too many boats at the visitor's center and there will be gale winds tonight. We'll push on to tie up at the wall of the south lock. Tomorrow we'll head for Elizabeth City. Monday we'll rent a car and I'll drive John and Mary Ann back up to Urbanna to pick up their car. After that it will be just Libby and me again for an indefinite time.

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