We started on Saturday, July 21, 1991. We could have started on Friday, but Kay told me that "Sailors don't start cruises on Friday." I, of course, believed her. Only recently (2007) while watching "The Most Dangerous Catch" on Discovery, I learned that Alaskan Crab Fishermen will start a trip on Thursday at 11:59 PM or Saturday at 12:01 AM, but not in between. It seems that Sailors and Alaskan fisherman have something in common.
The start of our trip was mostly uneventful. We were headed for the Dismal Swamp Canal, which meant transiting the length of Albemarle Sound Eastward, up the Pasquotank River, through Elizabeth City, up the rest of the Pasquotank, and then into the canal. All went well until we got near Elizabeth City when an inconvenient thunder storm showed up. Going through Elizabeth City by boat, you have to pass through a narrow lift bridge. Not wanting to do that in a storm, and not even being sure it would open under these conditions, we anchored for two hours. Later we proceeded in a drizzle through the bridge and up the Pasquotank where we anchored for the night.
The Dismal Swamp Canal is long, straight and peaceful (no commercial traffic, which instead uses the "Virginia Cut").
We exited the Canal at Deep Creek at 1:30 and immediately discovered that "Deep Creek" "ain't!" We ran hard aground just off the lock opening. Eventually we extracted ourselves and headed for our goal, Waterside Marina in Norfolk. To get there we had to pass through five bridges and dodge all sorts of boats/ships much bigger than we had seen before. Two of the bridges are railroad bridges that had trains going back and forth. If you think waiting for a train to pass in your stopped car is agrivating try waiting in a vision obscuring rain while doing "doughnuts" in a boat and trying to avoid other boats which you can't even see. It is a lot more "fun."
We arrived at Waterside at 3:30 and were damn glad to be there. Waterside is a transient Marina which at the time had lots of great shops and restaurants.NEXT