While the nations capital, Washington DC, has a lot to offer it became too cold to enjoy so we headed south.  The sailing we have expected to be some what enjoyable but look at the bundled up Dean -  does he look like he is having fun.  Well it is better than work but who would have thought the foul weather gear would be needed.  Its not so much for rain, but for the cold weather.  We now have  entered Virginia and North Carolina where the temperatures are still cool but at least warms up to shorts and t-shirt weather during the day as shown by Kris, it is much better :).

The trip from Norfolk to Beaufort is usually through the Inter Coastal Waterway, ICW, but you have two options.  We took the Dismal Swamp Canal Route.   Kris had seen the other route but also in Uncle Scrooge comics (one of Kris's heroes), he spent some time in the swamp and Kris wanted to experience the area.  The Dismal Swamp history goes back to George Washington and has quite a colorful history, see the web link if you want more info.  It was actually quite a nice trip down the canal, and we spent the night at the visitors center.  There is a free dock to tie up to.  You actually tie up to a free dock and walk up to the rest stop which is off the highway, so folks stopping at the rest stop walk down and look at your boat.  You can walk across the canal on a pedestrian bridge to a nice visitor center that tells all about the Dismal Swamp, and take a walk on an elevated boardwalk though the swamp. It is really quite nice.

Once through the canal, you enter a winding river with Cypress trees on either side that is quite scenic and end  up at a town called Elizabeth City, NC.  To encourage boaters they have a free 48 hour dock.  We felt encouraged so have stopped here.  We would like to stay longer, but with the winds coming now out of the ENE, this will become an uncomfortable place to stay so we will leave tomorrow. 
We had a nice little wine and cheese party at the dock tonight and got together with most the other boats here and had a good social hour and met some other cruisers.  Derek was bored with no other kids so he went back to the boat and played a video game while the adults socialized.  

Tomorrow we will head to Alligator River Marina.  Kris stopped here with Dean's brother Lee and her Dad Norm while bringing the boat up from South Carolina and had fond memories, so we will stop on the way down so Dean and Derek can see it.    Our next big stop will be Oriental, N.C. where we will meet our friends Bob and Anne on their boat Baloo.  We first me Bob and Anne back in 1993 when they were at the same dock as us getting ready for our first cruising adventure, as they were as well.




update 10/09/11 Elizabeth City
Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Dismal Town historical sign, which reads: "Washington and company used this spot as their dismal swamp headquarters. The town was built prior to the nimmo survey of 1763 on Riddick 402 acre patent.
One of the locks on the Dismal Swamp Canal
London bridges going up -going up
Don't worry, it'll get out of our way!  (Capt'n Ron)
Early morning on the Dismal Swamp Canal
Tied up with others at Dismal Swamp Canal rest stop