2015-09-29 Hampton–Campbell Creek

Our visit to Hampton allowed us to attend a Memorial Service to honor Annette’s Uncle Don. I have enjoyed our visits to Hampton largely because of our visits with Don and Ester. Don was always so enthusiastically supportive of Annette in our choice to take off on a boat! His support of our choice was much appreciative. It was a lovely service and nice to spend quality time with many of Annette’s relatives.  


We moor at Sunset Boating Center in Hampton VA with is really a rack and stack marina but they do have a couple transient docks. The location up Sunset Creek is quiet and convenient.


I almost forgot! We got our first Uber Car ride while we were in Hampton!


Our next stop was just 13 miles up the Elizabeth River at Portsmouth to visit with my niece Lori and Adam. We enjoyed a lovely evening catching up.

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As we prepared for departure we waited for a little fog to burn off. We wanted to get moving because of some forecast winds coming in later in the morning.


Rather than burning off the fog just continued to get heavier and heavier.


Gratefully we were able to get moving and settled at Hospital Point right in front of the Portsmouth Naval Hospital.


Our friend Ed Darling was also out on their boat and got a nice picture of there boat in front the Norfolk waterfront.


Ed passed close by and got a couple of nice pictures of Magnolia at anchor….thanks Ed!!!



After our overnight stop in Portsmouth it was time to start the 144 mile trip down to our friends in Campbell Creek NC.

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The first goal though was to clear the hectic Norfolk waterways. The Gilmerton Bridge is the one restricted bridge that we needed to wait for an opening. You can see the track below where Annette and to make a couple of loops waiting for the the bridge.Capture -3

There are two water routes which would allow us to travel south. The more commercial route is called the Virginia Cut but we prefer the more picturesque Dismal Swamp route. Just a mile or so beyond the Gilmerton Bridge is the turn on off for the Dismal Swamp.

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Our next small obstacle to progress is the Deep Creek. The Gilmerton opens at 08:30 but the locks mid-morning locking is at 10:30 and since there is so little other traffic we just drop the anchor right in front of the lock!

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We had 4 other boats join us in the lock this trip. The Dismal Canal is actually 8 feet aboave sea level. The one end of the canal you are raised 8 feet and the other you are lowered 8 feet. Keep in mind canal was dug by hand I think in the early 1800s!


As you can see, one you get through Deep Creek Lock it’s a pretty straight shot down the canal to South Mills Lock. Note halfway down the canal is a channel that comes in from Lake Drummond which is used as the water source to keep the canal full as water is released at the locks on either end. The canal is right at 20 miles long to makes for a easy one day transit and many people make an overnight stop at the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center where free dockage is provided.

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We had a lovely day and anchored near our friends on SV Kimet near Elizabeth City NC.

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There is a restricted bridge at Elizabeth City so we made the short 1 mile transit before the 07:00 restricts came into place.

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The east coast has been experiencing fairly strong winds for the last 10 days and this day was not exception. We had 20+ knt winds from the north east which made the 43 mile trip from Elizabeth City across Albemarle Sound and down the Alligator River in about 6 hours. It was a very fast sail!

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If you put two sailboats going the same direction by definition there is going to be a race. Magnolia took this guy down like he was standing still!!!! The one in the distance was a bit tougher but we got him too!



Magnolia decided to anchor before transiting the Alligator Pungo Canal the next day.

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As you can see this canal is the is a little longer than the Dismal but is a sea level canal not requiring any locks.

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After the canal we continued our transit another 6 or so miles to the town of Belhaven. Belhaven is a lovely little down with all the basics of a grocery, hardware store and it also has the Spoon River Restaurant. The restaurant seems out of place for the size of the community but they receive the support of the community and make it work!  Always a favorite stop!

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After our visit to Belhaven it was time to continue onto our friends on Campell Creek. We continued down the Pungo River and across the Pamlico. As you can see from the track we came across a barge coming down the Pamlico and because size does matter we maneuvered to get behind him before enter the confined Goose Creek!

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As you can see from the track we came across a barge coming down the Pamlico and because size does matter we maneuvered to get behind him before enter the confined Goose Creek!

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Since it was pouring buckets of rain and since we had picture of Mike and Kathy’s home we figured we could sneak into the dock before they had the chance to get out and get wet. Sadly they had engaged their neighbors further down the creek to act as spies! So arrival was met with two friends standing in rain gear waiting out arrival!

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Here is a picture of their place with SV Braveheart who is currently “summering” in the Caribbean! 

So far its been a great trip! More from Oriental!

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