Captains Log  , Stardate 1Nov2022

And now a word  (finally) from our captain…

Today found us departing Hospital Point Anchorage ,(mile 0 on the ICW and Vero Beach is at around 980) intending to cross the Albermarle Sound… But “NO” We get to the first  opening bridge to find it closed and remained closed for nearly 2 hours. In the interim, traffic piles up. We are talking sailboats, trawlers , freighters and huge barges all waiting and jostling for position.

Finally, it opens and the scene is akin to something you might see at the Queen’s Derby except there are no rules. It’s survival of the ‘fastest’ as everyone knows that the next lock will be a major bottleneck with the 30 plus boats all racing to be first in line.

BUT as providence would have it , Nuria had marked the start of the dismal swamp canal option (easy to miss) and we suddenly opt for plan B… The Dismal Swamp route!!!

We originally dismissed this option over concerns about water depth. Best decision ever! The Dismal Swamp is anything but and I seriously think it needs to be renamed the “Enchanted Green Experience”.

So tranquil and green everywhere even the water which in places was solid green surface with the floating duckweed. The only exception being the burst of colours from the fall foliage.

Quite surreal and the depth turned out to be a non-issue for our 5’ draft (except for a brief moment when I had a momentary brain malfunction and went the wrong side of the green mark and drove us into the muddy bottom and easily backed off with no damage except for my pride.


The days run was short as we decided to overnight at the free dock in Deep Creek , a quick left after the first lock. We reprovisioned with groceries, fuel, oil and a fast food indulgence (hamburgers , fries and a coke for Guppy), all within a short walking distance. We are so pleased with our choices.

Next day – 2Nov2022

We depart next morning intending to make Elizabeth City as our jump off point for the Albermarle Sound ( a large gap of ocean between points of land).. But that is not how adventures are born…

Soon into our departure, after the 2nd lock which we missed by 8 minutes and had to wait 2 hrs tied to a wall), we run into a sailboat disabled and adrift in the very narrow “Enchanted Green Experience”.

TC , aka TOWCAT towed Sunshine Express, a 35 C & C with no problems.


We stop to assist and find that their engine is overheating. So, we tie up alongside and I go aboard to try and help.  Guppy was left to steer both boats away from the trees that overhang that swamp  however, she was distracted by Milo, (their cute 11month baby) and Sunshine Express’s mast crashed into some trees.  David reverside back into the center and other than some broken branches, the mast and antenna and instruments survived with no damage. Guppy learned to ignore babies and steer.

Nice couple from Quebec, who left everything , bought a boat (C & C) and decided to live a life aboard – Roman, Anne and Milo (the cutest little baby boy) With darkness closing in, we decide to take them under tow to the nearest anchorage some 18 miles away , Goat Island, and arrive just as night arrives.

We invite them for dinner as Guppy suspects they have not had time to prepare food , which proves to be correct and they are most thankful.

Roman and I discuss possible causes over dinner and review what he has tried so far. We agree to get together next morning and if we can’t resolve it, we will tow them to the next marina.

Roman, Anne and the cutest Milo ( except for my Sam of course)

By now, Tomcat is realized to be the real hero in this situation and that by turning the  “M” upside down, we have now become TOWCAT.

That night I do what I do best at night… think… and I come up with a logical set of steps to pinpoint the problem after he has already had half the cooling system apart. I dinghy over with my plan in the morning. Without getting into the details, we have him up and running. YAY!! They both gave me great big hugs. It feels so good to “ Pay it forward” as we have experienced the kindness of many on our adventures/misadventures south.


Captain out.

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