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Old 09-10-2009, 13:57   #1
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Dismal Swamp vs Albemarle Canals

Hi all, when I came up from Florida I went through the A & C canal, I'm about to head South again and was going to take the Dismal Swamp Canal instead for some variety. Are there any pros and cons between the two. The A & C route was pleasant enough, but pretty curly.
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Old 09-10-2009, 15:25   #2
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Never done the Dismal Swamp route as the water was usually too low. They say it is pretty but check the lock schedule if you're going to go that way. Elizabeth City has a reputation as being very cruiser friendly. Myself I like the Currituck Sound (Virginia Cut) route as Great Bridge is a good stop and there are lots of good anchorages after Coinjock and some good spots to tuck in if Albemarle sound isn't cooperating.
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Old 09-10-2009, 16:14   #3
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I've done both, but once I took the Dismal Swamp route, I never went back. It excells if you cruise at less than 7 kts. and you draw less than 5 feet. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 09-10-2009, 16:29   #4
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Beautiful route, very interesting history. Here's a shot of our buddy boat waiting for the lock to open. No doubt about it, though CaptForce is right. We draw not quite 4' and still touched in a few spots. Be prepared to feel occasional "ka-bumps" on your hull, too, from submerged limbs.

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Intentional Drifter

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Old 09-10-2009, 21:25   #5
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I grew up here (Camden)...I would certainly be careful about water depth going through the DSC. It can be kinda buggy, too, depending on the temp. Very pretty, though, IMO, and of course I'd want to go that route just because I grew up there, and Currituck was our rivals in football!
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Old 10-10-2009, 03:18   #6
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We took the Dismal last winter, it was beautiful, we are a 40 foot ketch drawing 5.5 feet, always had at least 1.5 under the keel, we just poked along. We were in no hurry and wanted to enjoy the trip.. I would certainly do it again, probably should try it in the summer, probably even more pretty. Elizabeth City is very accomadating to boaters. Free Dockage, how can you beat that? Good Luck and have fun.

One thing we did do was call the lock master to inquire about the water levels in the swamp.. Fortunatly for us we had enough water, Im not sure if that is always true.
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:30   #7
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We did the Dismal Swamp for the first time on a trip we took in July from Oriental to the Chesapeake. I did a very long blog entry s/v Glory Days: July 2009

You can find the portion about the Dismal Swamp a few pages down.

Our draft is 4'11" and we didn't touch bottom at all. It was beautiful, but we were grouped with a clan of power boaters and it wasn't the pleasant experience I expected. If I did it again, I would wait until the next lock opening to get to do it alone!!
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Old 10-10-2009, 17:21   #8
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I draw 6'8" and was planing on doing the dismal swamp in November. Am I hearing correctley that 6"8" will not make it.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:50   #9
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As I had said, we draw 5.5 and frequently saw 1.5 under the keel; I think you would be pushing it with 6.8 draft. If the water level was down any from when we went you probably would not make it, too bad...However, you should still call the lockmaster, maybe he could give you a better insight than I... Good Luck
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:58   #10
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Here's a link with some good info: Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:04   #11
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Maybe it is me but I want to avoid a place called The dismal swamp
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