Saturday, December 16, 2006

Deep Creek, VA, to North Carolina Welcome Station, NC

14.4 nm
Wind: NE 10-15 knots
Maximum speed: 5.8 knots
Average speed: 4.6 knots
Latitude: 36°30.39’N
Longitude: 076°21.35’W

We’re “Doing the Dismal,” as they say here. It’s beautiful, but Karl’s not impressed. He was expecting an Everglades-type swamp, with meandering channels of muddy water, huge mangroves growing out of rotting undergrowth, vast expanses of bubbling bogland. He keeps watching for an alligator, and we’ve heard that water moccasins can creep into your dinghy and catch you unawares.

I think it’s gorgeous. There are low, over-hanging trees, some of which I managed to hit with the mast when Karl was in the head today. The Master was steering, as he always does these days, and as Karl raced up from below I frantically adjusted his dial trying to find the middle of the canal. We didn’t lose our antenna, but the deck was showered with shrubbery, and I was pretty well panicked. Karl told me that it’s my boat too, so I can crash it if I want to. Fuggehdaboutit, I say.

We’re not making very good progress, as usual. We stopped over at the Food Lion for some necessary supplies we had forgotten at our last stop—including a grill lighter and matches. We were lighting our stove with fragments of matchbook covers twisted and lit from the candle, which we had to keep burning at all times. So that feels like utter luxury.

The hospitality in the South is overwhelming. The lockkeeper yesterday, so enthralled with his job and his canal, the people at the Mexican restaurant yesterday, all the people that maintain these free docks that we can tie up to, the people at the Visitor’s Center today. They even gave us free guidebooks to North Carolina and Florida, and we’re tied up at another free dock tonight, where they have bathrooms and water available. No showers, unfortunately. That’ll have to wait until tomorrow nighPublisht, at Elizabeth City, where supposedly they give you roses, wine and cheese, and a Jacuzzi for three bucks! This is all rumor, though. I hope it’s true.

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