April 30, 2016 – Saturday – Jennette Brothers Free Dock to Dismal Swamp Visitor Center – 23.4 statute miles traveled

It was a quiet night at the free dock other than the birds. Jeannette Brothers is a seafood distribution company and the parking lot we were next to is where they park the trucks. It was lit so bright that we think the birds didn’t realize it was the middle of the night and kept chirping and calling all night long. It was quite pleasant though.

We headed up the Pasquotank River toward the Dismal Swamp. To get into the Dismal Swamp it is necessary to pass from salt water into fresh water by going through the South Mills Lock. This open at set times and we had planned on making the 1100 opening. We left Elizabeth City at 0735 in order to give ourselves plenty of time to travel the 18 miles. We arrived nearly an hour early to find there was no place to tie up while waiting for the lock to open. Two boats were ahead of us and three boats were behind us. We all anchored in the river to wait for the lock.

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Heading up the Pasquotank River

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Portions of the Pasquotank River are very straight and other parts very crooked. The composition of the water with tannin, etc. created quite a bit of foam.

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Perhaps the smallest boat doing the Loop that we have met on the entire trip.  This couple was from Maine so were heading for home.  They  did cheat a little though as they trailered the boat  in a few spots.

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Dismal Swamp “parade”.  All boats going the same speed as this portion was a no wake zone.

Once through the lock the speed limit is “no wake” so all of the boats spread out and then ran in line for the five miles to the Dismal Swamp Visitors Center. Arriving at the visitors center we found one boat already docked on the bulkhead where there was room for three boats. The two boats ahead of us took the remaining spots and then we rafted on Distraction. This is a 49’ DeFever owned by a couple from the Gold Coast of Australia who are doing the loop as well. We had parked behind them at Elizabeth City but had not met until today.

Not wanting to traipse across the Distraction deck often we planned our trip ashore such that we could do everything we wanted to do at one time. We toured the visitors center and then walked across a pedestrian bridge to the very nice interpretive center at the Dismal Swamp State Park. We then went on a walk through the Dismal Swam on a very nice boardwalk trail with interpretive signs along the way. We stopped at the Welcome Center gift shop and purchased matching Dismal Swamp T-shirts then returned to the boat for the evening.

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Boats rafted at the Dismal Swamp Visitors Center as taken from the foot bridge to the Dismal Swamp State Park.

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Vicki Dawn hiking the Dismal Swamp on boardwalks.  It was a cool day and thus the down vest.

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Yup – Ron was there too.  Lots of critters out here!

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