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Old 27-08-2013, 09:13   #1
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To Dismal or...?

We are heading down soon and have been discussing the merits of both the Dismal and the Virginia cut.
What says the masses??


Our draft is 3' and the stick is 35' so no concerns there.
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Old 27-08-2013, 09:17   #2
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

With a 3ft draft, I'd definitely go the Dismal Swamp Canal route out of Virginia on the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway for non US east coasters). Its more scenic and has a nice, free overnight tie up at the visitor center. Because of lock timing, it may take you an extra day going south -- so if time is imporatnt, take the mainline route.The lock tenders are friendly and helpful.
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Old 27-08-2013, 10:03   #3
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

+1 for the Swamp route.
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Old 27-08-2013, 10:06   #4
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

Dismal! It is pleasant diversion from norm. Plus the visitor center will let you tie up for free. Give you loaner bikes to cruise around area trails and they also rent kayaks across canal at state park center. At 3 ft you will have no issues.
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Old 27-08-2013, 10:07   #5
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

Go via Coinjock and feast on prime rib
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Old 27-08-2013, 10:12   #6
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

The Dismal, to much to see like the museum in Bell Haven, I don't know if you can still get a free rose in Elisabeth City.
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Old 27-08-2013, 10:27   #7
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

I say go Dismal. The upper Pasquotank is one of the prettiest stretches of river anywhere, plus the several free docks, etc.... "Hi" to Robert the lock tender. Have fun!
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Old 27-08-2013, 10:41   #8
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

Get the skipper bob's and go Dismal. More than one free tie up along the way.
Allow for an Albemarle weather window either route you choose.
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Old 27-08-2013, 11:46   #9
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I can't go dismal I'm to deep so with 3 feet I would go dismal
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Old 27-08-2013, 11:52   #10
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I've done both many times ... With < 6' the swamp is a gas (sorry)
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Old 27-08-2013, 12:14   #11
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

I've done both, while I agree the river is quite beautiful, the canal itself is not more than a big ditch. They piled the dirt they dug out to make it on the swamp side so you can't even see into the swamp. The other side is a road. The visitors center might be ok, but when we got there all of the spaces to tie up were taken so we didn't get to see it. I ended up anchoring in the canal just short of the lock. The virginia cut route is also quite nice. I actually saw a lot more wildlife in that route than I saw in the swamp. I did the canal once and won't be doing it again.
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Old 27-08-2013, 13:08   #12
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

The main reason I ask was the article in the last Cruising World and it suggested their is some nice sailing exploring the sounds after the cut.
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Old 27-08-2013, 14:02   #13
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

Did it once,quite enough. 100 degrees everyday ,no sailing .....love the name tho.
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Old 27-08-2013, 15:54   #14
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

Did the Dismal Swamp Canal twice, once about 30 years ago delivering a 5&1/2' draft sailboat. Bumped the bottom once, probably a sunken log. Got to Elizabeth City where they had a wine and cheese party if more than 2 boats arrived. Since it was my buddy's delivery, I got the rose lol. Discovered it was impossible to walk from the grocery store back to the dock without a friendly local offering us a ride.

Second time was about 10 years ago on a 45' catamaran drawing 3&1/2'. That boat had a 23' beam and we were happy to not meet another cat going the other way. It would have been possible but close in some places. No room at the Elizabeth City dock for a cat at that time (I think that has since been rectified) so we kept going and anchored.

On both trips we made sure to hit a tree with the shrouds. After all, there aren't many places you can do that. If the Corps of Engineers has been trimming trees, or the beavers have been industrious, it may require more effort but you can still do it.

Everybody should do the Dismal Swamp at least once. It's pretty cool to be motoring along and wake up a deer sleeping by the side.
On the other hand, that roast beef at Coinjock is mighty tasty.

Enjoy either way, it's a no lose proposition.
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Old 19-09-2013, 09:29   #15
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Re: To Dismal or...?????

I've heard that Virgina Cut route is faster. Would you folks agree? If yes, what approx. is the difference?
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