Friday, September 19, 2014

Study In Contrasts

Dismal Swamp Welcome Center, North Carolina
36 30.412 N 076 21.359 W
 
The contrasts are so stark. First, two days out at sea. There, most of the time one has the feeling that we could be the only people on Earth. It is spendid and frightening at the same time.
 
Then amazingly, the lights of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel appear on the horizon. This 20 mile long structure is so big that from one end, you can't see the other end. Libby spotted it first. She said the experience was eerie because as we aprode up each wave and down in the trough, the lights would appear, then dissapear. Not just one light but a chain of lights miles long.
 
A few hours later and we were entering Hampton Roads, one of the busiest shipping locations in the world. It was 5AM when we entered. The good part of that was that the ship/tugboat traffic was very light. The bad part was navigating in this maze of crossing channels with lights of many colors in every direction offering confusion. We would not have dared try it except that we know the way by heart.
 
Two more hours and we were tied up at the free public docks in downtown Portsmouth. We hoped to meet friends who live there, but alas they are in Sweden this week. We don't like that downtown. It is sterile and feels hostile. So we only stayed there an hour or two before leaving for the Dismal Swamp Canal (DSC).
 
An hour more and we were in Deep Creek, away from the hustle and bustle. Libby took the helm as I went below to eat lunch. Suddenly, OH NO! We were aground. Libby want on the wrong side of the first red marker she came to. She would never have done that without double checking which side was which if she was not so fatigued. Another hour and Tow Boat US had pulled us off. Normally, we would have gotten ourselves off (we are expert at thst by now) but we were both too tired for that. We had started launching the dinghy, then we looked at each other and both said simultaneously, "Hell, just call Tow Boat US." Libby felt guilty about the mistake, but she was almost too tired to talk. No blame assessed.
 
Another 30 minutes and were were back in splendid isolation on the DSC, ready for a peaceful and very long night's sleep.

Today. I started with coffee and donuts courtesy of Robert, everyone's favorite lock master. Then we replenished the larder with groceries at the Food Lion store only a few hundred meters away.

Then for the real treat. I sat for three hours in the bow, steering the boat with my patented remote steering system, as I enjoyed the scenery and contemplated infinity. It is balm for the soul. I'll write about it tomorrow.

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