Friday, May 23, 2014

Dismal Swamp

I was taking a picture of the tree, and it wasn't until after I looked at the photo that I notice the bald eagle!
We transisited the Dismal Swamp the other day, we have had so many long days motoring from sun up to almost sun down that I am really beat.  The canal is so narrow that we don't put up the sun shade because it really restricts your vision.  It was a lovely change from our usual ocean passages though and I did not think there was so much wild space left in America.

There were lots of birds, geese, ducks, song birds, hawks, kites, and eagles.  I spotted one bald eagle for sure and perhaps a pair of golden eagles.  Barry spotted four turtles along the way sunning themselves on logs.  
The U.S. Army hard at work repairing a drain in the swamp.

The ICW in some places is just a long straight ditch that the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers have dug. The dismal swamp part is guaranteed to be 6 ft. deep and we motored over a few logs that must have been lurking on the bottom, I am sure we have much less bottom paint on our keel than we did before we started the trip. The thumps that we heard and felt when they hit were not enjoyable. 
We passed a number of bridges. 

We also transisited our first lock.  They have scheduled openings and at the first on the fellow was having trouble closing the lock and even though we were a half and hour late, the lock keeper opened it us and let us and a huge power boat in, altogether there were 5 boats in the lock. Inthe first lock the water level went up and Barry and I just had to hold lines fore and aft and gradually let more anymore line out as we went up to meet the ground level.  The power boat we tour first and I thought the it would take off instead he just monied down the canal with four sailboats following him like so many ducks in a row. 

At one point there was a sailboat anchored in the channel and the woman on board radioed that they had a fuel pump problem.  The boat was cross ways in the channel completely blocking it and the man on board lowered his dinghy in the water and madly rowed, yes rowed, to pull his boat off to one side of the channel.  Meanwhile Barry remembered that we just happened to have 2 spare fuel lift pumps on board, due to an incident with our buddies, Mike and Liz in Vanuatu.  He called the woman on the radio and she was able to tell us that yes that was indeed the type of lift pump that he needed.  Imagine her husband's surprise, he was still mucking about tying up his boat on the dinghy when Barry tossed him one of our spare fuel pumps with our boat card in it and said, send us a cheque for the cost of a replacement when you get a chance. His look of dumbfoundment followed by intense gratitude was worth he 
gesture and although we are pretty sure we will get a check in the mail, even if we don't I hope they will pass along the kindness some day.  The floating village continues to take care of it's own.  

Once out of the second lock it was a fast motor in order to make the last bridge before the 1530 to 1730 rush hour.  This bridge went up in the middle, as opposed to the others we hads gone through that day, one side lifted up, one was a swing bridge and there were two permanently opened railway bridges. At least there was a good variety, enough to keep me snapping pics all day.