Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Laurel writes:

We awoke to a grey but mild morning and planed a day in town. After breakfast we packed our shore bag and rowed across the channel to a free dinghy dock behind the retired destroyer Wisconsin. The kids and adult alike were amazed at the size of the Wisconsin. This WW2 ship was retired after an unfortunate crash with another right in Hampton Roads (Norfolk Harbor). It did however get restored before retirement with the bow of the warship Kentucky, hence the nickname "Whisky". The ship is now a museum free to the public. Unfortunately it is closed on Sundays and Monday and we were not able to go aboard for a tour. We plan to time it for the trip back home!
The city of Norfolk is big and bustling! We navigated the streets to find the downtown library only to discover that it is scheduled to be knocked down and most of the library has been moved to another location! We did our home schooling, but Charles had to look for another place for internet access. Across the street is a large mall and there he took advantage of the many computer stores that have WiFi until he was ousted by security!
Back on the boat after lunch, we were ready to move on the the Dismal Swamp. The Dismal Swamp connects Norfolk, VA to The Abermarle Sound, NC, it was dug by slaves and oxen and also served as a getaway route for slaves escaping to the north. Since the slaves had dug the canal they were familiar with the swamp and hid in it to avoid capture. The canal at a higher level than the ocean so it requires going through a lock to enter. This is how it goes: at a scheduled time the gates open and you take your boat in and tie up to the side with a loop leaving one end of the rope free. Then the lock tender closes the gates and in this case starts the water coming in, as you go up you pull in on the rope so that the boat stays in control. When done the tender opens the other gate and your off. The kids were amazed by this process!

Once in the swamp we tied up to a dock immediately after the lock called Elizabeth's Dock, built in honor of a man' s wife, free to transients. Near by there was a grocery store and a playground! Charles took the kids to play while I picked up a few groceries. Happy to be in the intracoastal waterway we went to bed!

note: The ICW starts at Hospital Point, Norfolk, VA, mile 0 and there are mile markers every 5 miles.

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