Well we made it out of the Deltaville boat yard on Thanksgiving morning bright and early. Those guys were wonderful to us and they rushed our work so we could be out quick. They were going to be off for several days so we would have been stuck if they decided not to bring Kasidah in and stay a little later that first night (thank you Chuck and all of the guys in the yard).
When we left in the morning it was like pea soup out so we were really glad for the radar, it worked awesome. We spotted a few 900ft cargo ships heading for us and lots of fishing boats. When the fog lifted we had to motor most of the way into Norfolk because there was nothing for wind. On our way into the bay we had a sub in front of us which was really cool to see. The battleships and other large vessels were also very impressive as we made our way to the anchorage. That night at about 3 am the wind picked up to about 30 gusting over 50 and the boat that was in front of us ended up in back of us, at that point it was lightning, hailing and down right freezing. We prepared ourselves for the weather just in case we dragged. The wind now was about 40 knots with gust up to 50. Then it started to come from one direction and then another, and then the anchor alarm went off we would drag a little then it would set, drag a little then set. The marina was right behind us and we decided we would pick up and reanchor out and away from the marina. The boat that dragged behind us picked up and left altogether. It was amazing how well we managed to reposition ourselves and how quick we had the anchor back down and twice as much out (that’s why we dragged in the first place, I should have put more out knowing there would be a storm). Jon ended up sleeping in the cockpit for the rest of the night. When we woke in the morning the other boat was gone however two other boats were next to us. Later that day we talked to several other cruisers who had broke bow lines at a dock and others who had also dragged where they were.
Friday we headed for the Dismal Swamp which is 22 miles long and at least 6 foot deep in center. We had many things come up to kiss Kasidahs bottom the whole way down the swamp. When you enter the Dismal swamp there is a lock which opens only a few times a day so you have to time everything as to get there on time and to exit it also. Robert is the Lock Master and he has been doing it for 16 years, he is very knowledgeable about the Dismal and he enjoys entertaining cruisers. Westayed that night on the swamp at the North Carolina visitor’s center. It can only hold a few boats so you raft up to each other. That night there was 7 boats. We rafted up with a couple who comes down the canal from Norfolk for Thanksgiving each year. Later just before dark another 27ft sailboat showed up so we helped them raft to us. Turns out they are from Senica Lake in NY. One of the finger lakes. Small world and it's getting smaller.
We ended up on Pam and Dan’s boat (36ft Albin Trawler) for dinner with Jim and Erin from the 27ft Catalina. Pam is a great hostess and Dan had a lot of info for Jon about cruising. I hope we meet up with them again some time or another.
We left Saturday to get to the lock by 11 which ended up just right. We will be traveling for a few nights with Jim and Erin so this will make things a little nicer having other cruisers around.
We arrived at the Town docks in Elizabeth City, NC around 15:00 and tied up with plenty of time to walk around town. Not much happening here but the people are so friendly and the docks are free of charge. There are two other boats here waiting to cross Albermarle Sound.. We are staying till Monday morning then crossing the sound.