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"It's all about the people"


Tug for Two Going South

Now safe and sound (?) at the North Carolina Great Dismal Swamp visitors center.  Who are we rafted with?   Canadians!  Loonies rule!  Also a nice couple from Massachusetts -- yes, I've used the phrase "nice couple" and "from Massachusetts" in the same sentence!  Had more wind (not me but the boat) today trying to leave Portsmouth.  Pinned the boat to the pier and it took some doing even with the bow thruster to get it off.  Went to the fuel dock to get a pump out and some sailors were having the same problem pushing and tugging to get off/out.   Ironically, these people wound up going thru the same lock as us.  More on that in a minute.  But first, we dodged tugboats which seem to be as numerous as mosquitoes in Portsmouth.  All the tug captains speak a unique language which they understand but you puzzle over.  My solution?  Just keep a sharp eye out watching for them.   We trusted our chartplotter and followed the river to the first of 3 lift bridges before leaving Portsmouth.  Two of the bridges were supposed to be "usually up."  They weren't.  So we idled around with some other boats waiting for some train cars to pass.  Then got to a bridge which was supposed to open at 10:30.  It didn't.  It finally opened at 10:45 so we along with 4 sailboats missed the 11 Deep Creek Lock opening.  Thankfully, the bridge tender (who is a saint) called us on the radio to say he would open for us whenever we got there along with the other late boats.  We were in the lead boat so I passed the info on to everyone trailing us.  At noon, he "locked thru" 7 boats.  He told us that as the first boat, we would most severely experience the current when he opened the lock.  He had Geraldine handle the lines at the bow, I was at the stern.  I hung on for dear life and Geraldine did great at the bow -- sat on the cabin housing.  No problemo!  Putted thru the GDS (all a "no wake" zone) and along the way had a call from the Lovings:   they were going to see us at the visitors center.  What a great surprise.  Had drinks with all of the other transients carefully stepping over the kajillion lines one finds on a sailboat.   G fixed a great dinner.  Now listening to Pandora on my Ipad.  Couldn't get the DirecTV to work.  Oh well, still a nice day. 
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