One nice advantage to the Elizabeth City Public docks is the closeness to the draw bridge. I called the tender at 6:30 am and gave him a heads up that we would be requesting an opening in 5 minutes. He said he would have the bridge opened and waiting! What great service!! We wanted to get going by then because the bridge is restricted from 7-9am from M-F. Plus, the weather’s suppose to change and bring winds and rain tonight. So we’re trying to make it to Portsmouth, Va to tie up by early evening.
We are now headed to the Dismal Swamp and will get through it by late this afternoon. The South Mills Lock opens 4 times a day just like the Deep Creek Lock. We know we can’t make it to its first opening at 8:30 am but we’ll be able to make the 11 am opening. The only trouble with this is that motoring very slowly will still get us there 1 hour early. Ugh! It was so gusty and the waterway directly in front of the lock gates is pretty narrow, that Chuck was constantly moving the throttle forward and reverse to keep us off the banks and out of the overhanging trees. It wasn't a fun filled hour, that’s for sure. Finally, it’s 11:00 am and the gates are ever so slowly opening…but in we motor. Since we were the only boat, it didn't take long for us to lock up and through the gates and then motor the ¼ mile waiting for the lock tender to now become the bridge tender. After 30 minutes, we were through both the lock and bridge and on our way to the Deep Creek Lock.
|exiting South Mills lock|
|waiting for South Mills Bridge|
|bulkhead at the Welcome Center|
3 hours to make it from lock to lock. Then when we were 10 miles out, I checked the time again and discovered that the last gate opening of the day is 3:30 and not 2:30. Oops, sorry! Chuck slowed us down and we still got there 1 hour early. Not again….darn! We arrived at the draw bridge at 2:45. When I hailed Robert, he decided to call the other lock to see if there were any boats behind us. There weren’t any, so Robert opened the bridge and lock gates early for us. Yes, we finally got a break today…only to face another delay….the Gilmertin Lift Bridge.
|Gilmertin Bridge and RR Bridge|
|view waiting for Gilmertin to open|
|aircraft carrier across the river from us|
|HH II and Whisper at side|
|HH II at side|