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Old 15-12-2017, 08:55   #1
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great dismal swamp in winter

Is the canal open in the winter? Will the bridges and locks open?

Will there be ice? If so, it will likely be skim ice and melt after a few days correct?

Are there any other regulations about transiting this canal?
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Old 15-12-2017, 09:35   #2
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

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Originally Posted by boat_alexandra View Post
Is the canal open in the winter? Will the bridges and locks open?

Will there be ice? If so, it will likely be skim ice and melt after a few days correct?

Are there any other regulations about transiting this canal?
Yes, yes, almost certainly not but maybe, yes.

Consult Active Captain for the most recent conditions along the canal (depth, obstructions, etc.). It's a very useful resource for the whole ICW, in fact.
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Old 15-12-2017, 09:41   #3
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

It would be a challenge in an engineless boat. There is a long, narrow part with overhanging trees and only one place to pull off.
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Old 15-12-2017, 10:58   #4
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

I passed by the Great Dismal Swamp a couple of months ago - the sign said the cut was closed due to hurricane damage
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Old 15-12-2017, 11:45   #5
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

It re-opened October 31.
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Old 15-12-2017, 12:43   #6
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

I was intending to take the outside passage, but after having waves freeze on my deck before washing off covering the deck in ice, I am less enthusiastic sailing around hatteras in the winter.

I'm glad that it remains open in the winter months.

Will bridges/locks be closed during holidays like christmas, new years etc? I will possibly be transiting during this time. There are no fees for the locks correct?

I am assuming because of the locks, there is hardly any current.

As for places to stop... I find the dismal swamp welcome center dock. The towns of deep creek, and south mills also mentions it is allowed to stop overnight at the locks.

This breaks down to a manageable distance each day. From what I can tell, it is also allowed to navigate at night.

In addition to sculling, the canal appears to be shallow enough that polling might be a real option as well.

I have difficulty using "active captain" because the service denies basic user freedom.

This is why, despite offers from all the main developers of opencpn, it is impossible to integrate this service because opencpn guarantees user freedom.
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Old 16-12-2017, 09:39   #7
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

Your biggest issue may be ice. I've been on the upper reaches of the ICW in Virginia and encountered 2+ inches of ice. Not sure if you can scull that but the later you wait the greater your chances of being frozen in overnight. JMHO
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Old 16-12-2017, 09:41   #8
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

I didn't do the dismal swamp, but did do the ICW from Virginia down to Oriental, NC last year around this time of year without much problem. Yes, it was coldish, but nothing you couldn't fix with a heater.
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Old 16-12-2017, 12:25   #9
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

guess you made it thru the c+d canal safely.

The dismal swamp is a beautiful trip- and presently has not been cold enough to concern with water freezing.

the swamp is about 44 miles after departing the AIWW waterway at steel Bridge.
The canal and waterway are 50' wide and controlling depth about 6 feet.

its a long row but this time of year will probably be delightful.
any breeze in there will be marginal at best.
thte north lock has transit slips just after transit.
the welcome center dock is great.The museum across the canal is worth stopping if open.
Elizabeth city has free docks for transits and has a fantastic NC Library system museum across the street from the docks. free and one of the better views overall of the region's history, particularly during the 1700-1800. It is well worth the stop before going to the rest of the outer banks. allow about four hours to do the museum.
Elizabeth city also is home of the USCG ice patrol. It is the northern most ice free base for sea planes. As well, you will see the blimp hanger, brother to the worlds largest free standing wooden structure. (debate about which was largest by a couple cubic feet with lynhurst, NJ.) During the blimp era, it held five blimps inside. Today the building is used to build blimps for the military.
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Old 16-12-2017, 14:18   #10
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

We did the Dismal swamp 27 years ago with 6ft 6 draft and the lake that feeds it was very low. It was Nov and we got stuck a few times and got towed sideways by a powerboat. It was a very fun adventure and we have very fond memories of doing that trip. They closed the canal after our transit due to lack of water. The lock keeper at the northern end told us there was only 5ft of water but let us go through which we thanked him for. You won't regret going through it. Elizabeth City people were very welcoming. I would love to do that trip again.
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Old 16-12-2017, 14:37   #11
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

Try Oregon inlet little ways south of Kittyhawk
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Old 16-12-2017, 16:26   #12
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

You'll not be able to do the Dismal Swamp ditch motorless. My sister just did it and has been thru many times. She's been a license Capt since she was 19. She loves that ditch, and told the lock master it should be shut down. She said the Duck Weed was so thick actually slowed her down, also had to clean strainers every 30 min. When in the lock it was so heavy, the closest she coul could get to the wall was 3ft, because the weed held her off. Her boat is a 36 trawler. There's another stop in there at the Lake Drummer feeder dock, nice new dock about 6 mile North of the Visitors Center. Very secluded, last time we tied up there a bear came down close to the docks and heard another one. We went bike riding with mace, and air horns to chase off any little black bears. NO BODY RUNS THIS DITCH AT NIGHT. Also check the Alligator Bridge they're been some closing.
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Old 16-12-2017, 16:33   #13
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

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Try Oregon inlet little ways south of Kittyhawk
Don't even try this in the winter without a 55ft Buddy Davis sportfisherman and local knowledge. That thing shoals up all winter long and worst after the cold fronts and the current can run 4kts. Watch Wicked Tuna, will help your respect. I've gone thru it a hundred times and would never take a sailboat thru it in the winter.
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Old 16-12-2017, 17:06   #14
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

Sometimes I think this forum is the worst place in the world to get accurate information!

Call the lockmaster at the Deep Creek Lock, Deep Creek, Virginia. He will be able to answer ALL your questions with up to date answers.

Have a good passage, it's a great canal.
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Old 16-12-2017, 17:39   #15
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Re: great dismal swamp in winter

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Don't even try this in the winter without a 55ft Buddy Davis sportfisherman and local knowledge. That thing shoals up all winter long and worst after the cold fronts and the current can run 4kts. Watch Wicked Tuna, will help your respect. I've gone thru it a hundred times and would never take a sailboat thru it in the winter.
So you're say they dredge it ever spring?? I doubt it.

I think you mean don't use it in a NorEaster. Was plenty deep a few weeks after Maria had no sportfish going out for 2 weeks.
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